From a Phillies news release -- Charlie Manuel signed a two-year extension with the Phillies, with a club option for 2010, to remain as manager, Senior Vice President & General Manager Pat Gillick announced tonight.
Manuel, 63, managed the Phillies to the National League East Division championship this season, their first playoff appearance since 1993. The Phillies finished the season at 89-73, one win fewer than the league lead of 90, shared by Arizona and Colorado, and overcame a seven-game deficit in late September to overtake the Mets in the NL East.
This past September, Manuel collected his 250th win as Phillies manager in his 470th decision, becoming the fastest Phillies manager to 250 wins since Pat Moran managed the club from 1915-18. He is also the first Phillies manager to have winning records in each of his first three seasons since Moran in those same years.
"We love what Charlie brings to the ballpark every day, which is an up-beat, positive attitude that rubs off on the players," said Gillick. "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."
In his three seasons as manager of the Phillies, Manuel has a record of 262-224 (.539), the sixth-best winning percentage in franchise history among managers with at least 100 games managed. He managed Cleveland from 2000-02 (220-190) and led the Indians to the American League Central Division championship in 2001. Among all 30 active major league managers, Manuel's .538 winning percentage is eighth-best.
Beerleaguer: This announcement comes as no surprise. Charlie guided the Phillies back to the postseason and did so with a threadbare pitching staff. They never quit and played hard. They like him and like playing for him, a notion supported by the long-term extension signed by Chase Utley, Pat Burrell's refusal to be traded and Aaron Rowand's willingness to return. He knows hitting. He handles all types of players with finesse -- from high-motor guys like Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins to stubborn veterans. He keeps the spotlight shining on the field instead of in the clubhouse - possibly his most underrated trait. Philadelphia has not broken him, despite facing machine gun fire since the moment he was hired. He's overseen the growth of several superstars and possibly his second MVP in as many years. Under Manuel, the Phils have fielded arguably the best NL offense of the past two years.
After three seasons, his shortcomings are obvious to even a casual fan. He's not the guy you want pulling the strings in a best-of-five playoff series. He doesn't have a great feel for pitching. His teams have started cold and put themselves in early April holes in each of his last three seasons.
Better players would make his job easier, certainly. For example, having a well-rounded third baseman instead of one-dimensional players would make the late innings more manageable and help keep his bench better stocked. He needs help in the bullpen and is like a lost puppy if he doesn't have dependable pitchers to assign the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.
Charlie was the right man to get them there, but can he take them to the next level: a championship? I have a sinking fear that a team with this many budding and established stars will outgrow him and start losing their edge. Financial terms were not disclosed by the Phils, but one can assume Manuel will remain near the bottom rung or perhaps see a modest increase. That, and the feasibility of bringing in a big-name candidate, cannot be forgotten as major reasons why he's back.