If Rob Thomson gets this club into the post-season, and he's not brought back as manager next year, there will be a fan revolt - and quite possibly a player revolt as well.
Everybody - in the clubhouse, in the front office, in the pressbox - knows this.
Yeah, the Phillies can "follow the rule." But it would be a complete sham, and everybody would understand that was a sham. I'm supportive of the intent of the rule - when there is a vacancy. But I don't consider a position with an "interim" incumbent who has outperformed a list of predecessors as "vacant" - and IMHO no senior manager in pretty much any business would consider such a position to be "vacant."
What would it say to your other management staff, in any business, if the guy you promoted from within to bail out the company, and who did, in fact, bail out the company, were summarily kicked aside in favor of somebody else — almost anybody else — for nothing but appearances? I know that I would not continue working for such a company.
So, they either go through the motions, with everybody knowing that it's all a sham – or they demote (or dismiss) they guy who bailed them out, and destroy organizational morale.
I don't like it. At all.