PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have stepped up their managerial search.
On Wednesday, sources said the Phillies are interviewing three internal candidates this week. Juan Samuel interviewed Tuesday, Jorge Velandia interviewed Wednesday and Dusty Wathan will interview before the weekend. The Phillies are expected to begin meeting with external candidates next week.
Samuel, 56, has been a Phillies coach since 2011, including serving as third-base coach since '16. He is highly regarded and served as interim manager of the Orioles for 51 games in 2010.
Velandia, 42, is a special assistant to Phillies general manager Matt Klentak. He fits the mold of the young, energetic, analytically-inclined candidate the Phillies seem to be seeking.
Wathan, 44, is the Triple-A Lehigh Valley manager. He is a rising star based on how he has developed most of the team's talented young players and prospects.
It is unclear if the Phillies have finalized their list of external candidates, but names like former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, Red Sox bench coach Gary DiScarcina, Astros bench coach Alex Cora, former Mariners bench coach Tim Bogar, former catcher David Ross and White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing have been discussed. Certainly there are many others.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter remains the biggest name connected to the Phillies' managerial opening because of his history with Phillies president Andy MacPhail and Klentak, but sources said there is no chance of Showalter coming to Philadelphia. Showalter is under contract through 2018, and there is no hope Orioles owner Peter Angelos will let him out of his deal.
Former Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and former bench coach Larry Bowa also are not candidates. While Amaro is regarded as a managerial candidate, he doesn't make sense for the Phillies. Bowa is expected to remain in the organization, but not as a member of the big league coaching staff.
The Phillies have had no shortage of suitors since they announced on the final weekend of the season that former manager Pete Mackanin has been reassigned to a front-office role. Most in the industry see the Phillies as an organization on the rise with talented, up-and-coming players on the big league roster, a deep farm system and an owner that is ready to spend millions to fill the holes they cannot fill internally.
MacPhail said last week that he hopes the Phillies find their manager before the GM meetings, which begin Nov. 13. But it is not out of the question the Phillies can find their man before the end of the month.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.