PHILADELPHIA -- Pete Mackanin wants to be the manager the next time the Phillies make the postseason.
Mackanin took a significant step toward that possibility Thursday, when the Phillies announced that they had agreed to a new two-year contract with him. It not only carries Mackanin through 2018, but a club option could keep him as manager in '19. That is noteworthy, as the Phils are expected to be aggressive in the free-agent and trade markets beginning this offseason, and they could therefore potentially be postseason contenders in '19.
"I can certainly envision it, I'd like to be here," Mackanin, 65, said during a news conference. "I've got that National League championship ring from 2009 in my first year as a coach here, and I'd like to get another one."
"Yeah, absolutely," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. "There's no time frame on that. This is not a temporary thing. Pete is the manager. And I have every hope and every confidence that as we turn this around and the wins start coming, he's going to be right here."
Mackanin had been in the final season of his old contract, which included a club option for 2018. He replaced former manager Ryne Sandberg in June 2015, when Sandberg resigned. Klentak replaced former GM Ruben Amaro Jr. in October 2015.
It is not uncommon for a new GM to want his own manager in the dugout, but Klentak has liked what he has seen from Mackanin from the beginning.
"It's a pretty healthy and good relationship," Klentak said. "We have very open communication. As much as it's Pete and me, it's really Pete and his staff and me and the baseball operations group. We all speak with one voice.
"One of the things I'm incredibly grateful for and proud of Pete: He's very open-minded. I have said many times: We as a front office do not hang out in the clubhouse. Pete writes out the lineup. Pete and Bob [McClure] make the pitching changes. We're not directing any of that. That's the way it should be. That's the healthy balance. But if we do come with an idea, these guys eat it up. They really do. We talk about it. We go through it. It's a very receptive group, a very creative group and a very competitive group. It's a really good fit right now."
The Phillies are 13-19 this season, but because this is a rebuilding process, Klentak has judged Mackanin on more than wins and losses. Klentak cited the development of players like Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis and Aaron Altherr.
"He has clearly solidified that he is the leader of this club," Klentak said. "What I've seen in the first six weeks of this season is a team that plays hard on every pitch. I fully recognize that our record is [13-19]. Take yesterday's game, for example. We got down pretty late in the game, and those players fought in the eighth inning to load the bases, they fought again to put up runs in the ninth. We have been doing that every night, and I think the effort level of this team -- we can see progress in what's happening right now, I can see it, Pete can see it, we all see it. It's happening right before our eyes."
Mackanin is 121-160 as the Phils' manager. He served as their bench coach for four seasons (2009-12) when the team won three of its five consecutive National League East titles. He served as the third-base coach for 1 1/2 seasons (2014-15) before becoming manager.
Next season will be Mackanin's 50th in professional baseball.
"With this contract, I will have spent more time with this organization than any other organization I've been associated with," Mackanin said. "The fact that I was given the opportunity to stick around and continue managing the team means a whole lot to me. My wife and I are extremely grateful to the Phillies organization."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.