Lost in the shuffle between Greg Gross, Pete Mackanin, and Sam Perlozzo getting fired is the status of former Phillies player Juan Samuel, who served as the Phillies third base coach the last two seasons. In a piece regarding the changes the Inquirer's Matt Gelb reported that Juan Samuel had been offered the first base coach job, but had not accepted it yet. Might he say no?
If Samuel declines to take the job, it would not be the first time he passed off an offer to continue coaching in a position he had. After managing the Baltimore Orioles on an interim basis from the beginning of the 2010 season through July 29 of 2010, the Orioles hired Buck Showalter. At the time, Samuel was offered his old position back to be third base coach. Samuel declined the position, and I understand why he did: he wanted to be in an organization where he would have an opportunity to advance.
Think about it: Samuel was offered the job November 11, 2010. Ryne Sandberg was hired November 15, 2010 to be manager of AAA Lehigh Valley. From the time of the hire of Sandberg people viewed Sandberg as the heir apparent to Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. After the moves of last week, it seems clear that Sandberg has moved ahead of Samuel on the Phillies depth chart.
Samuel has two options: accept the position or find another organization where there is room to grow. But, Samuel must be careful. There is a managerial vacancy in Colorado with the recent resignation of Jim Tracy. No candidates have been named for the position, but many have begun to speculate that Sandberg could be a candidate. There could be room in the Phillies organization after all.
Samuel was a force to be reckoned with on the Phillies' basepaths as a player. He is being offered the opportunity to work with baserunners at first base while continuing to work with the outfielders. Samuel stole 396 bases in his career and was successful in 73.5% of his attempts. 72 of his stolen bases came in his rookie season with the Phillies.
Samuel, like many other third base coaches, was widely criticized throughout his two seasons. Generally regarded as a solid coach and being an important part of Phillies history (okay - he was a bright spot through some VERY lean years), I really hope Samuel sticks around.