Manuel is Our Man

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, October 10, 2007 07:46 AM | Comments: 12

Last night, the Phillies and Charlie Manuel agreed to a new contract that will keep the manager behind the helm in Philadelphia for at least two more years.  The club will have an option to extend the contract to 2010 however financial details were not disclosed.  This past season he earned $800,000 for his services excluding bonuses.  Since taking the job through a contrived interview process before the 2005 season, Uncle Charlie has amassed a record of 262 wins and 224 losses (0-3 in the postseason).

I doubt anyone is surprised by the move, as many have hailed Manuel as the underlying reason for the Phillies success this season. The common argument is that he held the team together throughout a season plagued by injuries.  Pat Gillick noted, “He helped lead our club back to the playoffs, and he and his coaching staff did a great job, especially with the injury issues they faced throughout the season with a number of key players.”  Although I agree with the move to bring back Charlie, I find this line of reasoning a bit hard to swallow. Injuries are a part of the game, and more so than the manager, the replacement players bear the responsibility of keeping the team on pace.  Kyle Kendrick, Tad Iguchi, Brett Myers – those are the guys who should be getting the credit in this case.  Furthermore, I am hesitant to say Charlie actually lead this team to the playoffs.  How does this guy lead?  Looking at his statistics from the Japanese league, he surely doesn’t lead by example, as say Mike Scioscia or Larry Bowa.  He’s not a brilliant tactician like Tony LaRussa or Joe Torre, and can barely manage his way through a double switch.  Plus throughout Ryan Howard’s seven month struggle with his swing, Manuel has done not nothing to help remedy the situation. He’s definitely not a vocal guy either, rallying the troops in the face of adversary does not suit his persona.

Thus I would be careful of all the different streams of praise we shower down upon Manuel. Nonetheless he is deserving of the job for one reason: players play for him.  His hands off approach suits this ballclub which is filled with a range of talented young leaders.  This may just be a matter of him being in the right place at the right time because if he were managing the Royals, and they played their hearts out for him, I still don’t think they would be in the playoffs.  The Phillies core roster is young but not immature, they need a wise old manager to nudge them along but for the most part allow them to play their game.  That is where the foundation of the Phillies success lies.

Between the Uncle Charlie we’ve come to respect and ridicule, and the Phillies confident two-year commitment, there is the prospect of a Manager of the Year award for the 2007 season.  There is no denying that as a playoff team, the Phillies’ manager should receive automatic consideration for the honor and deservedly so.  However, is he more deserving than Ned Yost of the Brewers or Bob Melvin of the DBacks?  Melvin did more with less experience and talent, and Yost took a team that was six games under .500 in 2006 to the brink of the playoffs.  Yet, although I think one of these guys will take the manager of the year, I am optimistic on the prospect of having Charlie Manuel back next season.

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Brian Michael has written 1163 articles on Phillies Nation.

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  • Posts: 0 Mike M.

    There are rumors flying around that the Phils could potentially sell the team to an anonymous buyer, according to a source on Daily News Live.

  • Posts: 0 Mdefl

    The Phils will not be selling. I’ll take Howard’s swing “problems” every year if part of the “problem” includes 47 home runs and 136 RBI’s. Charlie is not a great or even very good manager of the game but these players respond to him. He deserves to be back.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew

    In other news, the Phillies will not pick up the options on Rod Barajas and Abraham Nunez. Thank god. I heard a rumor that the team may attempt to acquire Hank Blalock from Texas to upgrade at third base. Hopefully Texas won’t demand Michael Bourn in return.

  • Posts: 0 Tom

    I would think Bourn or Victorino (please not Victorino) would go for pitching, I don’t know why Gillick would take a chance on a guy like Blaylock who’s another potential guy (coincidentally also from Texas… Adam Eaton, Rod Barajas anyone) instead of a more sure thing in Mike Lowell who is a free agent and wouldn’t cost what little tradeable assets this team has. This especially in the wake of Gillick suggesting that the pitching help might have to come through a trade and after Lowell has mentioned how he’d like to play in Philadelphia.

  • Posts: 0 Mdefl


    I agree that Lowell would be perfect in the Phils lineup. I am embarrassed to say that I am not familar with this defensive capabilities. He would provide the perfect protection for Howard.

  • Posts: 0 Tom

    I wasn’t sure what his defense was like, but the more I’m reading about it and the more I’m seeing the Redsox in the playoffs the more I feel like he’s a solid defensive player at worst. Here’s to hoping he and Schilling both don’t resign with the Redsox after this season.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew

    Mike Lowell would be a perfect fit in this lineup and in this ballpark. Coming off an MVP-caliber season, I wonder how much money he’ll command. If it’s less than the reported 6 years, 84 million type contract that Aaron Rowand will command, I’d say take him. Of course, Lowell most likely won’t be looking for six years. If you can trade Burrell for pitching, DO IT. Even if you have to eat up, say, $10 million of his contract. I still think the team will need a utility infielder, which could be acquired via a Wes Helms trade. A lineup like this could be decent…

    1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
    2. Shane Victorino, CF
    3. Chase Utley, 2B
    4. Ryan Howard, 1B
    5. Mike Lowell, 3B
    6. Jason Werth/Greg Dobbs, RF
    7. Michael Bourn, LF
    8. Carlos Ruiz, C
    9. Pitcher

    Or, if they really want to put speed at the top of the order, bat Bourn second, Victorino third, Chase at the cleanup spot, etc.

  • Posts: 0 Bill

    I think that Clint Hurdle also is more deservant than Charlie for the manager of the year award. Hurdle took a very young team and made them gel at the perfect time down the stretch. You have to give him a lot of the credit for the run the Rockies are on.

    In response to the Hank Blalock/ Mike Lowell discussion, another reason Blalock is not a fit is because he is a left handed hitter. That is the last thing this team needs now! We need a right handed thumper. Has anyone heard if Miguel Cabrera may be available?

  • Posts: 0 Tom

    There’ll be talk about Cabrera leaving the Marlins, but the odds would almost be better the Phillies would land Arod than Cabrera. He’s still under contract for a while and would require a mass of prospects the Phillies don’ t have and probably wouldn’t trade for one guy anyway. It’s more likely Willis will get traded out of Florida.

  • Posts: 0 Sandy

    Come on people let’s get off the dime with what Charlie “deserves”. He’s suppose to manage the team, with or without injuries. Did you forget all of those unexplainable decisions that he’s made over the years? Yea, I get it that the palyers like playing for him but he is still a bafoon when he has to use 6″ space between his ears. If he gets manager of the year, it will discount the value of that prestigous award faster than a blue light special at K Mart.

  • Posts: 0 Mdefl

    I think I have to go with Hurdle for manager of the year.

  • [...] 88, 85, and 89 wins in seasons as a Phillies manager – something very few can claim. He has another two years to improve upon these numbers and further bolster his legacy in Philadelphia; but as we all know, [...]

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