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Monday, October 01, 2012

Ed Rendell: Charlie Manuel deserves chance to restore Phillies’ greatness

Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blue State Endorsement.

In our town, it’s not surprising that some pundits and fans are calling for Charlie’s head, but I believe he deserves to stay and get another chance with the team that he has nurtured for eight seasons. Our nucleus is still strong and if Doc Halladay shakes off his injury and bounces back (and I think he will), we will be a playoff team and a contender to win it all. There is reason to believe that we will have a healthy Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, and that David Montgomery and Ruben Amaro Jr. will go out and get us some help for the bullpen and some pop in the outfield (though I sure would like to see our seasonlong battler Juan Pierre return). If that happens, this nucleus will be poised for one last hurrah and Charlie deserves to lead it in that effort.

Charlie doesn’t get the credit he deserves, because of the way he talks and because he is not a self-promoter like many other managers. But look at his record - there is none better in the past 8 years. His teams have won five division titles, two pennants and one world championship. Say what you will, but Charlie knows how to handle modern-day athletes, and they play for him and play well.

A perfect example of how Charlie doesn’t get the respect he deserves is the fact that in those 8 years he has never been named the Manager of the Year - not even when we won it all in 2008, or last year when we won 102 (he came in fourth!). This team - with Chase, Ryan, Doc, Chooch, Cliff and Cole - has one more run in it, and Charlie surely has earned the chance to lead it!

A lot of people will say that if you bring Charlie back, we will lose the Triple A IronPigs’ manager, Ryne Sandberg, who many experts think has the potential to be a great major league manager. They say that if we don’t make him our manager in 2013, some other team will. That’s a real possibility, so I believe we should make him our bench coach and announce that he will lead the team in 2014 and beyond. Would that make Charlie a lame duck and cause dissension? I don’t think so. To the contrary, I believe it would make the team play even harder, to give Charlie the type of send-off he so richly deserves!


Repoz Posted: October 01, 2012 at 06:01 AM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: phillies

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   1. donlock Posted: October 01, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4249812)
Is this what they mean by a rosy outlook? Everyone will get better and we will get some more good players in the off-season.
   2. Chris Fluit Posted: October 01, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4249916)
I would agree with the sentiment that the Phillies shouldn't fire Manuel. He's built up enough of a track record that he shouldn't be canned for one disappointing year- especially when that disappointing season is still likely to end up over .500. The Phillies have a few things to fix for next year- but a change at manager isn't necessarily one of them and certainly isn't at the top of the list.

I do not agree with the idea of naming Sandberg as a bench coach while promising him the job for 2014. That would make Manuel a lame duck, despite the assertions of the author. And that wouldn't guarantee that Sandberg wouldn't take an offer from a franchise to be their manager right now. If you want Sandberg as your manager, then you go ahead and hire him as a manager. There's no reason to resort to extra shenanigans. But, in general, I wouldn't worry about another team hiring my AAA manager away.
   3. GregD Posted: October 01, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4249948)
Unless there's a reason to think Chollie has somehow lost the team, I can't see what firing him would accomplish. You've got an old team that so far has seemed to do what he asks (not that what he asks is always sensible.) If you're going to tear down and rebuild and don't think Charlie is the guy for that, then it makes sense to axe him. But if not, I suspect he'll do as good a job with this rickety bunch as anyone will.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: October 01, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4250136)
Obviously the new division set-up plays an enormous role in this, but of all managers with 10 or more seasons on the job, Manuel's teams have averaged the best finish (1.6). Only Dick Howser (1.5) beats him among managers with multiple years in the dugout.

   5. Loren F. Posted: October 01, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4250218)
"though I sure would like to see our seasonlong battler Juan Pierre return" destroys the writer's credibility.
   6. eddieot Posted: October 01, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4250220)
One more run with this nucleus, and then let Charlie walk away with dignity. Or better yet, give him a cushy job upstairs as a reward. (I mean really, Dallas Green is still on the payroll...) I think a full season of a healthy Howard and Utley could have yielded a half dozen more wins and with that you're right in the Wild Card race. Ruben needs to find a 3B (Wright? No, but one can dream...), an OF with pop and a reliever or two. You need to concede the division to the Nats for the next few years, but really, the Wild Card(s) are there for the taking.
   7. Chris Needham Posted: October 01, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4250228)
You need to concede the division to the Nats for the next few years, but really, the Wild Card(s) are there for the taking.

I must be the only person on earth who hasn't done this.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: October 01, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4250232)
I must be the only person on earth who hasn't done this.

I think anyone with more than a passing understanding of the game's recent history should be a lot less hasty to hand over the next X titles to any team, but people surprise.
   9. eddieot Posted: October 01, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4250250)
Flippant remark on my part. Surely the Braves will be in it and the Phils too. Even Miami could challenge. That being said, the Nats are an awfully good young team with their better days ahead, assuming everyone stays healthy.
   10. Chris Needham Posted: October 01, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4250253)
Didn't mean to call you out. But that's the predominant feeling from Nats fans, for sure. If I hear "2013-2018" again, I could puke.
   11. The District Attorney Posted: October 01, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4250258)
that's the predominant feeling from Nats general managers, for sure.
   12. Chris Needham Posted: October 01, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4250263)
Hey, and they've won this year. So who can question him? #InRizzoWeTrust
   13. cricketing baseballer Posted: October 01, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4250291)
Is this a Nationals' hijack?

My first thought is that their Achilles' heel is the bullpen. Also, isn't LaRoche's contract up?
   14. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 01, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4250299)
My first thought is that their Achilles' heel is the bullpen
Weirdly, the Nats' biggest issue may yet be keeping all the starters healthy. Obviously they're aware of this--let's not rehash the Strasburg thing--but when you have a huge percentage of your innings coming from guys 26 and younger, that has to make one a little nervous. Hopefully their guys stay healthy, but that's certainly somewhat I'd think about were I a Nats fan planning their 2013-18 Glory Years.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: October 01, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4250339)
Well, let's pick 'em apart.

C/1B/2B are potential positions of concern but they're not hurting here. LaRoche is an FA but is replaceable, possibly by himself. Still, it's not hard to imagine Suzuki/Ramos, LaRoche, Espinosa having a total offensive sinkhole kind of year.

Desmond with a 222 ISO? I'm guessing that won't continue but he could drop a long way and still be a well above-average SS.

In the OF, presumably Harper continues his march to superstardom; Werth is one season removed from being a pariah but figure he can be average at least for another couple of years; Morse is likely to fade as many late-career debut sluggers do but Tyler Moore looks like Morse in training. Obviously a star LF (Hamilton) would be wonderful but not necessary.

I've got no idea if they have any prospects on the way but other than signing a 1B, not much to do on the offensive side Swisher as LaRoche replacement is an interesting idea, gives a bit more flexibility.

Pitching ... They did have very good health in the rotation -- only 10 starts outside of the top 5 and those were essentially planned (5 for Wang, 5 for Lannan in place of Strasburg). Maybe they're going on a White Sox like run of starter health but it's unlikely to continue to be so rosy. Teams typically need about 40 starts from #6/7/8 starters so pencil those in.

Jackson's an FA and Wang looks toasty, so right now Lannan is the #5 which is pretty darn good, but not as good as him being your 6/7. Detwiler is a BIP pitcher and not likely this good. No, I'm not saying he's a problem I'm saying you can't expect a 117 ERA+ out of him, call him league average.

And that does all add up to a pretty substantial decline in starter performance. From a projection standpoint (i.e. 1-2 starters are likely to get hurt, we don't know which ones), something like 75 starts from the big 3 at current levels, 50 starts from Lannan and Detwiler at league average and, well, 37 starts of generic crap. That's probably the best starter projection of any team in baseball but it's still a substantial step down from what they got this year (119 starts of excellence, 35 of league average and 5 crap). Hmmm ... I forgot they had Gorz kicking around and I see Zach Duke is there too. If they're still around next year and the Nats are willing to start them (both pitched in relief only this year), that's as good a 6/7 as you could hope for.

Bullpens are bullpens. The names in the Nats pen don't fill me with faith but if anybody can predict which relievers are going to do it year after year, it's not me.

Contract-wise things look quite rosy, and I assume there's plenty more money-a-comin' after this year's success. Zimmerman is signed for the rest of the decade; Gio is ridiculously cheap through 2016 ($12 M that year). Werth's final years will probably be Soriano-esque but by that time it will likely be a nearly ignorable chunk of their payroll. Harper's under their control through at least 2018; Strasburg through 2016; Zimmermann and Desmond through 2015.

Let's go over that again: Harper, Zimmerman, Zimmermann, Strasburg, Gonzalez, Desmond all under team control through at least 2015/6. That's one hell of a core. They get the next 8 years combined of Ryan Z and Gio for $94 M total. Harper doesn't even start getting expensive until 2016.

This team is very well set up -- lots of talent, lots of cheap talent, plenty of money to spend.

I'd still recommend an early buyout of Harper, not necessarily this offseason but likely next. He is signed through 2015 for just $2.6 M. I know that $2.6 M is already twice what a pre-arb player would normally make (although he would be super-2 I think) but you can still use that as leverage, offering a big signing bonus so he has money in his pocket now in exchange for pretty cheap arb/early FA years.
   16. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 01, 2012 at 06:17 PM (#4250342)
Why do we keep linking to Ed Rendell here?
   17. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: October 01, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4250362)
Have we ever linked to him before?
   18. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 01, 2012 at 07:44 PM (#4250429)
Have we ever linked to him before?

Just last week there was a link to him taking shots at Werth, though I don't know if he was the author or the author was simply quoting some bit of idiocy from him. That's the only other example I recall, but Ray may just be trying to nip this thing in the bud.

   19. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 01, 2012 at 07:47 PM (#4250432)
There was something from the spring too. And one or two others from further back.

And yes, I would like to nip this thing in the bud before it goes any further.
   20. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: October 01, 2012 at 09:35 PM (#4250528)
Didn't this guy used to be like, governor of Pennsylvania or something?
   21. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 01, 2012 at 09:50 PM (#4250542)
Didn't this guy used to be like, governor of Pennsylvania or something?

Also Mayor of Philadelphia and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
   22. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: October 01, 2012 at 10:00 PM (#4250557)
Flippant remark on my part. Surely the Braves will be in it and the Phils too. Even Miami could challenge. That being said, the Nats are an awfully good young team with their better days ahead, assuming everyone stays healthy.

Are the Mets really less likely than the Marlins to compete? The Mets have finished better than the Marlins in each of the last two seasons. They should eventually be able to spend some money in free agency. They also have the makings of a pretty good young rotation. Won't argue that they are better than Was/Atl/Phi but they definitely aren't clearly worse than the Marlins unless the Marlins have an amazing farm system,
   23. Repoz Posted: October 01, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4250569)
Why do we keep linking to Ed Rendell here?

He's making a hard push for next Baseball let's get 'em early!

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