If the Phillies are to repeat as champs, it will be without the services of Steve Smith, who is out as Charlie Manuel’s third base coach.
Smith had a rocky two-year tenure as coach, a job that was originally set aside for Art Howe two years ago. Howe was allowed to take a better offer as bench coach for the Texas Rangers and Smith was brought in as a late replacement. The move marks Manuel’s first staff firing, as the Oct. 2006 coaching shakeup, which ushered in Smith, Davy Lopes and Jimy Williams, was orchestrated by the front office. Aside from coaching third base, Smith was responsible for instructing the infield, working closely with Ryan Howard, who committed 19 errors. Smith received most of his criticism early in his tenure for several overly aggressive green lights, in many cases, resulting in runners being thrown out at home by 15 feet or more.
Beerleaguer: The Phils haven’t had a good third base coach in ages, as Bill Dancy, Smith’s predecessor, was equally horrible. The moral here, however, is a championship manager asserting his heft for the first time with his coaching staff, following a season where Manuel cracked the whip with the high-profile benching of Jimmy Rollins. According to reports, Smith had found his way into Manuel’s doghouse, although the Phils skipper praised the job Smith did in the second half of the 2008 season.