The Philadelphia Phillies were set up for another disappointing season.
They had fired manager Joe Girardi after a 22-29 start. Bryce Harper broke his thumb and missed an extended period of time. The Phillies looked like they would fade again in September, essentially backing their way into the postseason due to the additional Wild Card and the Brewers’ ineptitude. It appeared that the Phillies were finding a way to succeed despite themselves.
Rob Thomson proved he is the right man for the Philadelphia Phillies
But Rob Thomson would not allow that usual fade to happen. He navigated a difficult situation with aplomb as soon as he was given the interim role, changing the culture in the clubhouse almost immediately. Younger players were given a more prominent role. Thomson would not let the Phillies roll over when Harper was injured. He made moves that Girardi may not have, such as moving Noah Syndergaard to the bullpen due to his disappointing performance after being acquired at the trade deadline.
He continued pushing the right buttons in the Wild Card round. The Phillies managed to roar back to take the first game of the series with a stunning comeback over the Cardinals, then finished the job on Saturday to advance.
These are the moments that the Phillies have been waiting for since 2011. At this point, Thomson has nothing left to prove; even if the Phillies fall to the Braves in the NLDS, he has already taken this team further than anyone would have expected. He has command of the locker room and the support of the players. All he needs is for the front office to remove the interim tag.
That should happen in the near future. It is possible that the Phillies are waiting for the season to come to an end before making any announcements regarding Thomson’s status. After all, they are looking to advance even further into the postseason and it makes sense to minimize any possible distractions. Negotiations and discussions can take place if/when the Phillies are eliminated. And each additional postseason victory just adds more pressure to bring him back.
Rob Thomson has proven that he is the right man to manage the Philadelphia Phillies. It should be a matter of time before the interim tag is removed.