OXON HILL, Md. - Last spring, before Pete Mackanin had even managed for a full season, the Phillies redid his contract. It guaranteed him 2016 and 2017, with an option for the 2018 season. For now, he is in a contract year as manager of a team not expected to contend.
The Phillies could provide Mackanin some clarity before the season begins by exercising his option.
"Well, I hope they pick it up, but that's not up to me," Mackanin said Tuesday at baseball's annual winter meetings. "That's up to them. I feel that when it's time for them to let me know, they will let me know. But, in the meantime I'm not consumed by it. Hopefully it will happen, but it's too far - it doesn't help me thinking about it."
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said there will be a time to address Mackanin's status. That could be in spring training.
"We have time to do that," Klentak said.
The Phillies could still add a veteran catcher to pair with Cameron Rupp, but they are open to beginning the season with prospect Andrew Knapp getting his first taste of the majors.
Knapp, who turned 25 last month, batted .266 with a .719 OPS last season at triple-A Lehigh Valley. It was a challenging year after his breakout season in 2015.
The Phillies ended last season with Rupp, veteran A.J. Ellis, and prospect Jorge Alfaro as their catchers. Alfaro, 23, could use more seasoning on his defense and game calling, which he will get at triple A under new manager Dusty Wathan. Ellis is a free agent and could return, but he may look to join a contender instead.
So it could be time for Knapp.
"I don't think we need a veteran backup catcher. If it works out, we're open- minded to that," Klentak said. "But Andrew Knapp just finished his age 25 season in triple A. He has a full year of at-bats in triple A. At some point for both he and Alfaro, we're going to have to find out what those guys can do at the big-league level."