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Pete Mackanin’s contract extension is still up in the air

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Phillies’ GM Matt Klentak hasn’t committed to exercising manager Pete Mackanin’s 2018 option yet, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Last spring, the 65-year-old skipper was signed to a two-year contract that covered the 2016 and 2017 seasons and included an option for 2018.

There’s little cause for concern just yet, says Salisbury, in part because of Mackanin’s success with the club during their 2016 run. The Phillies didn’t show any spectacular improvement when Mackanin arrived on the scene in 2015, taking fifth place in the National League East with a 63-99 record, but gained an extra eight wins in 2016 and bumped up their position to fourth in the division.

Similar improvements could be on the horizon for the club in 2017. While a championship title is still out of reach, Mackanin told Michael McGarry of The Press of Atlantic City that he has his sights set on more modest achievements. “We might not go from A to Z and get to the World Series,” Mackanin said, “but I think we can go from A to F or A to G. We have to start making our move.”

The team has focused on acquiring depth over the offseason, anchoring their pitching staff with right-handers Clay Buchholz, Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit, adding backup catchers Bryan Holaday and Ryan Hanigan and picking up a couple of corner outfielders in Michael Saunders and Howie Kendrick. They’re not the flashiest of moves, but moving the needle even a little bit further in the Phillies’ favor could help secure Mackanin’s future with the club beyond his 2017 campaign.

Until then, it’s unlikely that Klentak will have much to comment on. Per Salisbury:

At the winter meetings, general manager Matt Klentak deftly sidestepped questions on the matter by citing NBCSports.com writer Craig Calcaterra’s annual (and hilarious) ranking of baseball’s most handsome managers. Mackanin ranked a very respectable eighth on the list, which each year draws more and more cackles from the baseball establishment.

“If Pete had ranked in the top five …” Klentak said with a shrug and a laugh.

Umpire admits he blew the call that got Joe Maddon ejected last night

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Last night in the top of the eighth inning of the Dodgers-Cubs game, Curtis Granderson struck out. Or, at the very least, he should’ve. After the game, the umpire who said he didn’t admitted he screwed up.

While trying to squelch a Dodgers comeback, Wade Davis got Granderson into a 2-2 count. Davis threw his pitch, Granderson whiffed on it, it hit the dirt, and Willson Contreras applied the tag for the out. End of the inning, right? Wrong: Granderson argued to home plate umpire Jim Wolf that he made slight contact with the ball, Wolf, after conferring with the other umps agreed, and Granderson lived to see another pitch.

Before he’d see that pitch, Joe Maddon came out to argue the call and got so agitated about it all he was ejected for the second time in this series. He was right to argue:

It all ended up not mattering, of course, because Granderson struck out eventually anyway.

Normally such things end there, but after the game a reporter got to Wolf and Wolf did something umpires don’t often do: he admitted he blew the call:

It’s good that the bad call ended up not affecting anything. But the part of me who likes to stir up crap and watch chaos rule in baseball really kinda wishes that Granderson had hit a series-clinching homer right after that. At least as long as it didn’t result in Cubs fans burning Chicago to the ground.