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Royals to interview Phillies coach Dusty Wathan for managerial opening

Dusty is the son of former Royals player and manager John Wathan.

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Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Royals will interview Phillies third base coach Dusty Wathan for their managerial opening today, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. He writes that Wathan has already interviewed for the opening with the Miami Marlins.

Dusty Wathan is the son of former Royals catcher and manager John Wathan, who retired from the Royals’ front office last month. Dusty grew up in the Kansas City area, attending Blue Springs High School, and spent three games playing for the Royals as a catcher in 2002.

Wathan has spent the last five seasons as third base coach for the Philadelphia Phillies, who are currently in the National League Championship Series against the San Diego Padres. Before that he spent ten years in the minors as a manager in their farm system, twice winning Manager of the Year, and he oversaw the development of some of the Phillies players now in the NLCS. The Phillies considered him for their managerial opening before they hired Gabe Kapler in 2019, and he interviewed with the Rangers in 2018.

As third base coach, Wathan has integrated analytics into his decision-making.

Every game day, Patrick McFarlane, a quantitative analyst in the Phillies’ baseball research and development department, sends Wathan a statistical information sheet on the opponent and its defense. Sam Fuld, the Phillies’ major league player information coordinator, and Mike Calitri, their manager of advance scouting, also put together a sheet that includes how the other team defends, highlighting relevant information about the opponent’s relay exchanges, and if its outfielders get to the ball well or not.

Former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler called him “incredibly prepared” and players have enjoyed playing for him.

“You hear a lot of guys say that ‘this guy is a player’s manager.’ Well, Dusty is that to a T,” Hoskins said. “I felt very comfortable going to him with baseball stuff and non-baseball stuff. To have that in your manager’s office is pretty special and just adds to the bond that he has with his players.”

Royals General Manager J.J. Picollo has stressed the Royals plan to take a deliberative process in their managerial search, and are looking for someone that is effective at communicating data-driven front office strategies and integrating them into on-field results. Picollo said that bench coach Pedro Grifol and third base coach Vance Wilson will be internal candidates. Grifol has already interviewed with the Marlins and White Sox, reportedly impressing the brass in Chicago.