Dec 9, 2006, 9:28 PM EDT
ESPN.com reports that the Phillies and Charlie Manuel have agreed to a 2-year extension with a club option for a third. All season we’ve been hearing the questions regarding whether he’d be back after this year, and for a while, it didn’t seem like there was even a chance. But after the Phillies’ record continued to improve despite seemingly countless injuries, the buzz regarding his termination was replaced by legitimate talk of Manager of the Year considerations. If not for the impressive run by Bob Melvin’s young D’Backs squad, I think he’d be a shoe-in.
Most of us are still reeling from a first-round sweep by the hottest team in baseball, so it’s hard to focus on the fact that Charlie really does deserve the extension. He made a costly mistake in game 2 when he took Kyle Kendrick out too early, and in games 1 and 3, his team couldn’t hit a beach ball, and he’s supposed to be a great hitting coach. The fact of the matter is, it will always be easy to find fault with Charlie Manuel, especially in Philly.
We’re about as urban as he is country. Hell compared to Charlie, NASCAR
looks like cricket. But they did win this season. They beat the Mets.
They won the division for the first time since ’93. Sure they fell
flat, but let’s face it—they had no business making the playoffs after
losing so many starting pitchers to injury, the bullpen, and
inefficiency. Charlie didn’t single-handedly carry the team to the
postseason; the bats were hot this year, and they lit up the scoreboard
better than any team in the league. He was their leader though, and
they overachieved, all things considered. So when faced with a decision
on bringing him back to lead them again, I don’t think it was ever much
of a choice. They had to, and probably wanted to.
There will be naysayers, and they’ll have a point. His in-game
management can be downright dreadful. But every time I heard it
suggested that they let him walk, I wondered who they’d get to take his
spot. I think I’ll snap if I hear another word about Jim Leyland. Joe
Girardi also comes up a lot. They’d never hire him, at least not under
the current ownership. Who does that leave? A long list of candidates
who didn’t take their team to the playoffs and a division win this
season (except maybe Joe Torre, but I don’t think he’ll be fired, nor
would the Phils pay him Adam Eaton money). Plus Charlie called out
Howard Eskin and showed him what it means to be grow’d up.
I think signing him now as opposed to waiting is the right move. He
was a lame duck manager this year, and signing him right away said to
the players, city, and Manuel, that he is their guy, so it’s time to
get behind him and get ready for next season.
Beerleaguer’s take… a great read as always.
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