Removing Thomson's ‘interim' label would be easier than some think


PHOENIX -- There seems to be a misconception regarding Rob Thomson's path to potentially having the interim label removed from his job title.

Since becoming the Phillies' interim manager on June 3, Thomson has led the team from death's doorstep to the threshold of its first playoff berth in more than a decade. He will get serious consideration for National League Manager of the Year.

Thomson has built a strong case to be hired as manager, sans the interim label, this offseason, and barring the team suffering a monumental collapse, there's little reason to believe he won't.

But whenever the subject of Thomson's permanence as manager comes up, Phillies officials are quick to say the club must adhere to Major League Baseball's hiring protocols -- known as The Selig Rule -- and go through an interview process that gives consideration to a depth of candidates, including minorities. The Selig Rule, established in 1999, governs the interview process as it relates to high-ranking positions such as field manager, general manager, assistant general manager, scouting and player development heads.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, there is some flexibility in the Selig Rule and the Phillies would qualify for an exception if they wanted to hire Thomson based on his performance this season. As much as Major League Baseball is committed to minority hiring, it does not believe in "sham" interviews when an obvious in-house candidate is in line for a promotion, as Thomson would be.

Now, the Phillies could still make the choice to conduct full-scale interviews in line with the Selig Rule for their manager position and still end the process by hiring Thomson. That's up to the team. If the club hires Thomson without going through an interview process, it would be expected to follow the Selig Rule in filling coaching staff positions.

Thomson, 59, is in his fifth season with the Phillies. He joined the club as Gabe Kapler's bench coach in 2018 after 10 years on the New York Yankees' big-league coaching staff and 18 years in player development with that club.

The Phillies were 22-29 when Thomson took over for Joe Girardi on June 3. They are now 72-58 -- 50-29 under Thomson -- and control the second NL wild-card spot with 32 games to play.

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