Mackanin and the Phillies' coaching staff met with president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak and others to discuss the state of the organization and upgrades they need to make before Spring Training.
Mackanin has openly campaigned for weeks for the Phillies to find seasoned hitters to help Major League Baseball's worst offense. But MacPhail and Klentak said in the past week that while the team plans to improve, it might not be the smartest thing in the world to throw big money at free agents that are not true difference-makers, certainly not at the expense of finding out about some of the team's top young players and prospects already in the organization.
"Very frank conversations," Mackanin said about the meeting. "We know what we need, and hopefully we'll get that done over the winter or in the spring."
So that means a bat?
"Well, I know we're definitely going to upgrade somehow, whether it's from within or go out and get somebody via trade or even a free agent, depending on who's available and if it makes sense," Mackanin said. "So, you know, we're going to fulfill our needs. We have to get better next year. We have to show improvement. And hopefully the moves we do make result in more wins.
"I would like to get a good solid proven hitter somewhere on the field. Where that is right now will be determined by who is available and what kind of a deal, if any, they could make. And if not we'll try to find something from within that we think can help us or somebody could make a great impression in the spring. There's so many ways to do that. There might be somebody we never even thought of at this point that might enter the picture and give us a boost."
Players could move positions, too. The Phillies have kicked around the idea of moving Maikel Franco to first base, but only if they can find a third baseman.
Everything is pretty much on the table.
But nobody expects the Phillies to take a major jump in the wins column next season, so the team needs to be smart about it. The Phillies have been outscored by 183 runs this year entering Friday, the worst deficit in baseball, so this is a team with a lot of holes. One hitter, one starting pitcher and one or two relief pitchers, for example, likely will not make up the difference.
If the Phillies take a big jump it must come from the players already in the organization.
"Yeah, I'm not going to sit here and tell you we're going to win the division next year," Mackanin said. "Hopefully we will. You never know with one or two more additions, how much they'll help, but we certainly want to get better. Yeah, I expect us to be better next year. That's the best way I can put it."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.