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Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Bring back Mr. Baseball, Frank Luchessi. Or John Felske with that hairpiece attached to his hat.

Like I could care for a second what a hack like Agnelo Cataldi thinks.

As for Victorino, I have never gotten the impression that he was one of Manuel's favorites. The UFC bender, Gran Torino-gate, some rather moronic base running errors, it always appears that Uncle Cholly kind of sneers at Victorino a bit. Personally I considered all of those fairly minor. I do think he's one of the best center fielders in the game and his bat is fine. He did end up leading off a ton instead of batting 7th like he was supposed to.

Is the Cataldi piece available online?

Gran Torino-gate. Haha!

Probably the worst post beerleaguer ever has.

Not because i agree/disagree with the overall point, but the fact that you admitted to read Cataldi's Metro article.

There is better sports information in the phonesex ads on the following pages than in any words that Cataldi prints on that thing.

Hey - gotta do something when you're stuck waiting 45 minutes for regional rail.

which is why i mentioned the phonesex ad

Emmett, talking about Paul Hoover: "In his limited duty he really showed glimpses of being a poor man's Paul Bako..."

A poor man's Paul Bako? Wouldn't that be anti-matter?

Gran Torino-gate? What am I missing? I don't get that one. And I agree, Unc a;ways seems a bit ticked at Vic. Kind of like the parent who loves his kid but the kid is always a handful. I love the guy though. Mostly because Mets fans hate him. Can't put a price on that.

Cataldi is poor man's Paul Bako of philly sports media...I hope thats the first/last time his garbage is referenced on here. It can slide though, Septa def sucked today.

Seriously, I don't disagree. I think Cataldi is a moron but the blind squirrel may have found his nut. If the Phillies miss the playoffs and it isn't due to a rash of injuries, wouldn't you want to be able to evaluate the manager without already having millions committed to him over the next three years?

I get what Cataldi is saying, but there's a moronic assumption that underlies it: That success can only be measured by winning the World Series.

A 7-game series is a total crapshoot. A 5-games series is a joke. The Nats could beat anyone in a 5-game series if a couple of their guys got hot. The best team in baseball usually does NOT win the World Series.

You measure success by building a team that wins its division and makes the playoffs every year. Anything after that is a combination of hot streaks, injuries and dumb luck.

For fans who require structure and order and reject the natural chaos of the real world, the World Series is won by the team that:
1. Wanted it more
2. Had better chemistry
3. Had strong clubhouse leadership
4. Was scrappy and hard-nosed

All of those characteristics are the duty of the manager to instill, for fans who think along these lines.

I just foolishly commented on the Metro site. What a butt-stupid commentary by Cataldi.

Nice post Clout. The last two years illustrate your point. The Phillies were certainly one of the two best teams in '09 and came up just short. And were almost certainly the best team in baseball this year but got beaten by the redhot Mickey Mant.....I mean Cody Ross. Winning it all really is a difficult thing to do. No matter how good you are.

clout, exactly.

Here's what I wrote over there to save you the trouble of looking;

"So what if it's the best team in Phillies history? They don't play in a vaccum. AAMOF they weren't even the best team in baseball in 2008 when they won the whole thing. The Phillies failed to win 1 season where you can argue that they were the best team in MLB - 2010. Were they the best in '06, '07, '08 or '09? Ummmm, sorry. If you think so you lose any and all credibility as a baseball analyst."

I need to move Emmett's Hoover eulogy into the header. That was inspired!

"With a name like Hoover he's gotta be doing something on the side. Pest control, plumbing etc. ITE the name means everything. This guy's getting rid of whatever you need out, and that's fact."

That's classic.

Donc: Gran Torino gate occurred when Charlie walked through the club house amidst the Phillies Mid Summer Swoon and saw players watching Gran Torino before a game instead of working out, practicing, watching game video or talking about breaking the slump. Many also felt that Gran Torino was a downer of a movie and inappropriate to watch before a game. Not a good movie for motivation.

The Caribbean Series is about to start on ESPN Desportes at 4pm with double headers each day at 4pm and 8pm through next Monday. MLB network isn't airing it this year so I'm about to learn Spanish. Hey, it's competitive baseball. Guess not many people watched the last 2 years MLB network aired it.

I understand that the Jason Grilli Minor League deal is confirmed. Does this mean we can have "Grillied" sausage and peppers?

Charlie Manual just turned 67 by my reckoning. Jayson cites Cataldi, and paraphrases: ...matter-of-time extension talk on its ear and reminds readers of all the costly, poor choices Cholly made in the Championship Series... Yes I understand that Cataldi is a creepy shock jock looking for attention. Ironically, no less than Bill Conlin states that Manual morphs into Alistair Cooke over a glass of wine.

However, Manual’s bull-headed stubbornness in adhering to lefty/righty matchups; crazy use of back-end relievers in lopsided games (yes I know many of those games could have become close in a hurry); refusal to rest his big $$ regulars; his reluctance to play youngsters such as Dom Brown and to a lesser extent Ben Fran... I just wonder how much longer we can see past the man's inarticulate shortcomings?

Managers are hired to be fired. If things don’t go well this year, I predict that Charlie’s charm will not carry the day for him.

Lets be serious here. Charlie will be resigned. I mean, I'm looking at the schedule right now, and I honestly am struggling to see 1 loss all season.

the comparison to andy reid is a bit off-based. reid has been criticized because akers was going through a family crisis at the time he missed those field goals.

Yes, Chollie will be re-signed. I don't think there's any question about it. While I don't agree with some of his managerial strategies, the players love him. And that says a lot.

clout: Would the Yankees be the exception to the post season rule then?

Perhaps Sandberg will be groomed as a replacement...give UC a 2-3 year extension, make Sandberg the benchcoach in another year and ease him in. About damn time we get some value out of that draftpick.

In the Caribbean Series, Venezuela is managed by Julio Franco who was originally from the Dominican Republic.Yet another former Phil, former 2bman managing. On the Venezuela staff is Andrew Baldwin, ex -Phil farmhand traded to Seattle for Jaime Moyer.

Clout - 'Poor Man's Bako' is maybe a Cigar Store Indian? Blocks pitches in the dirt as well as Bako did.

I generally agree with you about Cholly even if his pitching decisions leaved me a bit perplexed at times especially with the bullpen.

Have to admit I kind of surprised the Phils haven't extended Cholly this offseason for another 2 years at say $3M/year. Imagine that it has been discussed at least in passing and doubt the lack of an extension is the the lack of winning a WS and more with the annual dollars.

More likely Cholly has hinted that he feels he wants to be paid among the best managers in MLB (~$5M per year) and the Phils are waiting to play there hand.

JW - I agree with Cholly. Vic is going to mentally check out at times during a season and during games. Just part of who he is. Kind of like with Werth. Vic also did get "30-HR" disease last year which inflicted JRoll for most of '09 with largely tramatic results.

So, Heather=Angelo Cataldi?


Cholly is making ~$3M this year. He made $1.7M in '10 and $1.5M in '08-'09. He won't really be underpaid this year though. There were a ton of veteran managers with fat salaries who retired including Cox, Torre, and Pinella.

The top paid manager in the NL is LaRussa (probably in neighborhood of $4.5M this year). Other high salaries include Baker at around $3.5M. Francona is the highest paid manager in the AL now at $4M this year.

My bet is the Phils talked about extending Cholly at around $3M/per for another 2 yearss and he balked.

Do I think that Cholly deserves a substantial raise over $3M this year to say $4M-$5M next year? No. Does he probably deserve at raise to $3.5M or so? Yeah.

Best scenario for Cholly:

The Phils win another WS this year and he walks away in the sunset. Any of use are rarely avoided the chance in life to go out at the apex and I hope Cholly gets that chance like Gillick did.

UC should get 3 years, $12 million with bonuses for WS wins, etc.

I doubt he wants to manage past the age of 70 anyway.

"I doubt he wants to manage past the age of 70 anyway."

I said the same thing about Paterno...

Thanks Patrick. Forgot all about that.

One final note as devil's advocate:

Cholly clearly feels comfortable saying what he wants to at this point to the public. He won't rip players in public constantly like a Bowa but he isn't afraid to speak his mind from time-to-time either.

What I wonder if Cholly's effectivness and bully pulpit has lost its effect on this team to some degree. Last season, the amount of 'clubhouse meetings' and 'closed door meetings' became somewhat of a running joke during the middle of the season. I can remember at least 6 of these and I think there were more. Cholly grumbled more than ever yet you kind of got the sense that the players just kind of figured they would turn in around late again as they have since '07.

In the end, the Phils acquired Oswalt and did their running annual Harry Houdini act in the 2nd half. If things do somehow go south for the Phils with an anemic offense and crummy bullpen that leaves them looking up at the Braves in June/July, I wonder how this team will respond to a grumpy Cholly who calls his share of 'closed-door meetings' again and generically notes this team's shortcomigns in public.

NEPP - I would like 2 years and not 3 years just because this team will be quite different by 2013 & very well likely will need a change at the helm.

If it were a 2 year deal, I'd go 2 years, $10 million with the understanding on both parties that he would retire at the end and be given some role in the organization other than Manager (like Dallas Green)

"Many also felt that Gran Torino was a downer of a movie and inappropriate to watch before a game. Not a good movie for motivation."

Gran Torino is just fine. Didn't Clint Eastwood's character take one for the team? Now that's great team spirit.

So there are no reasonable circumstances that could occur in 2011 that would make you doubt resigning Charlie after this year would make him the best manager for the Phillies from 2012 onward?

Gran Torino was a great movie.


What Cataldi said is beside the point. Nobody really respects his thought as he generally tries to look at the glass as half empty for the shock value and notoriety it garners him.

The parallel between Reid's comments of Akers, which like most Reid comments are cryptic and/or ambiguous in asserting blame, and Manuel's are two fold. Aker's missed FG's were tangibly the difference in score and cost the team direct points in a big game in a sport with a lot less than 162 games. Reid was commenting on what was the difference in total score in the aftermath of a big playoff loss. Manuel's statements were a little more curious and puzzling, as Charlie's rhetoric generally is, because he's referencing a player's character and demeanour as reasons for the teams overall lack of focus. Manuel's comments don't really seem to accurately correlate to the team winning a specific game as Reid's do and of course that has to do with sport and how points are scored.

To be fair to both coaches they both have garnered criticism for large parts of their tenures and they know that comes with the job in this city. Maneul was basically close to out the door if he didn't win a ring in 2008, nobody probably wants to admit that now but before 2008 our King's Speech was the joke on all of newradio and written word. The writting was on the wall and he saw it and he painted over it. Should he continue to be evaluated for his coaching and product? Yes, of course, but it's curious to question him now after 3 straight NLCS appearances after we put him in the stokes for 3 years prior to our dominance. Both are stubborn in their own ways and both have delivered success amidst talent and lack there of.

It's hard to compare coaches between sport but you can compare how captivating and inspiring they are to the players. I think Manuel at this point in his career is the better coach for players because he is a unifying force and his jollyness is only respected because they know the Jekyll to his Hyde; the Jekyll being he'll tell it how it is publicly and matter-of-factly. He's like baseball for dummies but that directness really creates space in the clubhouse for these group of guys in particular, instead of having the walls close in. Reid appears more distant from the fan's perspective, he appears tolitarian in his regime and maybe some players like that because they know he'll never call them out publicly but that rose has its thorns as it can breed complacency in a locker room. I think Manuel has adjusted to his clubhouse and his clubhouse to him better than any I have seen. The ability to adapt and unite is crucial and is usually overlooked. Maneul has constructed an identity that everyone embraces and I can't say the same for Reid because his system or style seems too rigid in it's foundation. Sometimes the best party is neither formal nor informal but rather business casual which is ultimately worth the price of admission for the player and fan, and Manuel seems to have mastered this with brillant ignorance.

On Manuel extension:

I agree, we should wait this season out. He has made some progress, but there are times I still feel he should just let Dubee make the decisions about the bullpen and pitching changes. If the team fails to make the postseason this year, he should be gone.

That said, I am sure his easy-going nature has helped the clubhouse gel into a place where everyone wants to play. (Lee, Polanco, Halladay) I feel that it should be kept that way, since it could be argued that it has helped draw premier talent AND saved the club some cash. If Manuel goes, then hopefully RAJ keeps this in mind when interviewing.

Not that it really matters, and as Emmett stated (in a lot of words), the two sports are different, but I personally would have to assume that Cholly, directly or indirectly via the clubhouse he maintains, has to be given some sort of credit for things like Cliff Lee "leaving money on the table" to play for this team.

I mean, CBP is nice and all, but it's the total team, chemistry, etc. that has players actually taking LESS money to play here.

Am I the only one who thinks this is kind of harsh? Are we complaining about Cholly because we need something to complain about and there are so few real issues (other than RH bat and LH bullpen)?

Just take a look at what's happening with the Mets/Wilpon/Madoff, and thank your lucky stars that the Phillies aren't run like the Mets.

On another note, I got my six-pack tickets today (but not my season tickets). Makes Spring and baseball season seem that much closer....

Willard Preacher is right. Cholly's worth is in fostering a good team chemistry and atmosphere. The willingness of great players like Cliff Lee, Doc Halladay, etc. wanting to play for the Phillies is a testament to that quality in Cholly. Getting all riled up about quirky game strategery as a reason to run him off is not worth the effort.

UC is one of the best managers in baseball. I can't believe this is even an argument. He's led the team to one of the best, if not the best, run in the team's 130+ year team history. A couple more years and we'll easily surpass the late 70s/early 80s if we haven't already.

Edmundo: good point. I don't think our team got that message though.
Charlie should have watched and pointed that out.
Just another flaw recognized by the manager with the most success to ever wear our red pin stripes.
You can't have it all. I wish we could.
One more wfc with this core and Charlie should get a perpetual free Reign.

NEPP: I have to disagree that Charlie is one of the best managers in the game for the same reason that I disagree with those who say the same about Joe Torre. Let them manage a few years in Kansas City or Pittsburgh and then tell me how terrific they are. Neither "led" their team to victory, but were in the captain's chair at the right time. I believe that it's highly probable that if someone else were hired after Bowa and all GM decisions remained the same, that person would have done no worse.

Charlie isn't an idiot, but he's extremely stubborn, prone to doing the same thing time and time again and expecting different results. His handling of the bullpen has been highly questionable, and I believe that he allows his personal feelings towards certain players interfere with what's best for the team. With Victorino on the club, there is no reason that Jimmy Rollins should have bat leadoff for at least the past two seasons...none whatsoever. Likewise, there is no reason that Madson shouldn't have been given an extended opportunity to take over for Lidge in the 9th.

Charlie is in Philadelphia because his personality is a good fit for the team. That has value, but as long as we don't have another fire breathing dragon like Bowa at the helm, this team is making the playoffs with or without Uncle Charlie.

UC runs a great clubhouse and doesn't make too many boneheaded decisions in the game. He's a great manager. Players want to come to Philly. Considering where we were a decade ago where we had to overpay Thome and Bell to sign here, its a complete 180 and UC is a huge part of that. Guys LOVE playing for him...that's huge.

read that cataldi article. so charlie is to blame for utley, howard, and rollins off years last year? i don't think so.

and to whoever mentioned those closed door meetings? the team still finished w/ the best record in baseball. and that's with sub par years from the above mentioned.

personally, i think that managing a baseball team is the easiest of all the managerial positions. many of us at beerleaguer could handle the job, with little to no falloff. managing the grind and personalities is probably the hardest part.

i grumble with the rest of you about many in game moves, as well as many other decisions charlie may make, but he's fine in his role and it tends to work overall. as others have mentioned, postseason success is a crapshoot, and we shouldn't kill UC just b/c the team has crapped out for the past 2 years.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't extend him. He has his positive and negative qualities, but I fear that he's stumbled into mascot territory. He'll be kept for who he is, not what he does during a game, and that's fine...for now.

Larussa gets paid more than Charlie?

Meyer, LaRussa is actually the second-coming, and should always be paid more than anyone else, ever. He's the smartest guy in the room and incredibly handsome, to boot. Charlie is lucky that he's even allowed in the opposite dugout from Saint Tony.

If you don't believe any of this, just ask LaRussa, himself.

I think it's funny that Charlie Manuel was at the helm for what will inevitably go down as the golden age of Philadelphia Phillies baseball for the lifetime of just about every poster on this blog. Yet, we question whether or not he's "earned" an extension.

Yet Cliff Lee simply shows up for a few months, makes a couple of nifty defensive plays in the World Series in a LOSING effort, and the s--t hits the proverbial fan when he's traded.

Pat Burrell and Brad Lidge will never have to buy another beer in Philly again for the rest of their lives, but Charlie Manuel better prove to us why he's worth extending???

So. Let me get this straight Will S. If Charlie were managing a team that would be categorized as terrible he wouldn't win a lot of games ?

UC is fine. Really. I personally think that if we'd hired someone else after bowa we would be god awful right now. I also think that if I had gotten a 100 On my ninth grade math final instead of a 95 I'd be working for NASA.

All things being equal.

Good news the Phillies just hired Rich Dubee as hitting coach...oops wrong sport haha

WP: He definitely has earned an extension. I am just curious to see what Cholly wants in terms of years and/or dollars. I bet that he wants another large raise after this year in an extension too from his ~$3M salary this year.

No, I don't necessarily want to see him get a 3-yr extension on top of this year already. Managers tend to have a shelf life regardless of where they are at and yeah I wonder if at some point Cholly's age doesn't begin to become a bit of an issue.

Sparky Anderson was out of baseball by 61. Herzog at 58. Durocher was 67 his last season. Stengel was 65. Weaver was 56. Alston was 64. Lasorda was 69. McGraw was 58.

Historically, the only guy who managed really late in his life was Connie Mack at 87 in his last season in 1950 as the manager of the A's.

Pinella was 67 last year. Cox was 69 & Torre was 70. All of them were criticized in part last year at times as having stuck around for too long. Torre should have probably retired after the Yanks' but couldn't resist the money. Ditto on Cox. Pinella was probably the only one really who retired at the right time.

LaRussa is 67 this year and only has an option for 2012 which will almost certainly be his last year.

Cholly turned 67 in Jan and a 2-year extension would likely be pretty ideal for several reasons.

In the Phils' ownership defense, Cholly is getting a big salary bump this coming year that will place him among the better paid managers in all of MLB.

WP - LaRussa can also drive the team bus in a pinch!

Isn't Amaro's contract up in November? Maybe the ownership will wait for the parade to resign Ruben and Charlie.

There are 2 schools of thought on Cholly's managerial skills. The first is NEPP's view (and the majority view): players love to play for him & a happy team is a productive one. The second is Heather's view: managing is about tactics. Warm and fuzzy feelings don't win championships; players do.

The bottom line is that neither of these views is subject to proof. Would the Phillies have won 4 straight division titles if they had the exact same group of players, but a tactically astute autocrat had been calling the shots? We cannot possibly know. We do know that, whatever Cholly's shortcomings, those shortcomings have not been enough to prevent us from winning 4 straight division titles -- which is about as much as you can reasonably expect out of your season. That doesn't necessarily convince me that he is -- as NEPP says -- "one of the best managers in baseball." But it convinces me that it would be foolish to mess with a good thing when the alternative might very well turn out worse.

How many wins or losses can a manager actuallly add to a team? Couldn't an orangutan be trained to walk out to the mound in the 7th inning of every game point to it's right or left arm and probably win the NL East this year? I think a bad manager probably has a greater negative impact than a good manager can have a positive one. It really comes down t the players. I mean, why was Terry Francona a bum in Philadelphia and a genius in Boston? In otherwords, Charlie's mildly competent and not a complete disaster so pay the man and turn your attention to more important things, lie how to replace Paul Hoover's production as 4th catcher.

Cataldi and Eskin in the same week? It's like Beerleaguer had a lobotomy.

Pitchers and catchers can't report soon enough...

JBird - Largely agree. Baseball managers (especially in the AL) are the least important coaches of a professional sport in the US.

Players want to come here because the Phils are winning and largely spending big bucks to do so. Cholly as the manager matters but takes a back seat to the wins and dollars.

"Heather=Angelo Cataldi?"

Wow, after a few months of hardly ever posting, my legend lives on!

Greatest manager in the world could manage the Pirates this and they won't win 75 games with the pathetic starting pitching staff they will have again this year.

A guy coming off a year where he was 9-15 with a 5.10 ERA with pedestrian stuff is your staff ace going into the season and your 2 veteran FA pitching acquisitions didn't have ERAs under 5 despite pitching in strong pitcher's park last year? Yikes.

I've asked before but received no response thus far...

Can/is BL doing a fantasy baseball league? I would like to participate and beat you all. Or at least provide amusing fodder as I finish last.

Make that 70 games. Pirates will sadly be looking a 'good season' this year if they get back to 68-69 wins.

bap -- Hate to say it, but a declaration that it’s:

...foolish to mess with a good thing when the alternative might very well turn out worse.

is the reason that the flippin' Eagles have not won a Super Bowl (nor a NFL championship!!) in the past 51 years. Currently, under Andy Reid, especially – when it stops working, change. In Reid's case, it doesn't, and he stays.

Ahh, the brilliance of the Phils front office – no triflers!! Again, I know that this is a baseball blog. Regardless, if Manual’s intransigent, autocratic managerial style doesn’t work next year, time to step up, and if Charlie can't "manage" that, move on.

Charlie cannot be given a Carte Blanche with this squad. We are no longer a rag-tag bunch of former loosey-goosey or up and coming studs/one-time losers hungry for a Divisional Championship.

bap, Francona was asked about his time in Philly. The reporter said something along the lines of "You just won a WS but in Philly didn't they think you were a dumb son-of-a-bitch." He answered "I'm the same dumb son-of-a-bitch I was in Philly....just with better players."

"Cataldi and Eskin in the same week? It's like Beerleaguer had a lobotomy."

Hilarious. Almost as good as (perceived) newcomer Emmet's prose regarding our dearly departed 4th string catcher.

Manuel's going to get an extension. In a perfect world, we all work on an at-will basis. In Charlie's world, he's lucky enough to get some slack. Good for him, even if he's an old fart who can't manage his way out of apaper sack. He drinks for free if I ever see him.

This is not a defense of Charlie, but merely an observation.

What really amuses me about the criticism of Charlie is the crap he gets for either a) being a poor tactician, or b) misusing his bullpen.

It's as if every move he makes is supposed to work out, and they're supposed to win 162 games. Seriously. That's what the criticism sounds like.

I challenge everyone here who thinks Charlie is either the above "a" or "b", or both, to spend some time in other MLB cities and listen to what those fans say about their team's manager.

Or, just go read a few blogs.

I spend a fair amount of time in NE during the year, and despite the 2 WS titles, the criticism of Francona sounds very much like what I read here about Charlie. You could almost cut and paste the comments as long as you changed the name.

I enjoy having Charlie as a manager, but why does he deserve a raise? He's well paid, and if he quit the Phillies after the season there would not be any other teams lining up for his services. He's not Pujols and he's not even a media personality like Torre (although I think he's definitely a better manager than Torre ever was during the games.) You pay someone based on what the market would pay for him. And in Charlie's case, if he makes 3 million this coming season, he doesn't need to be given a raise unless some other team will beat that number. I don't see that happening. And as someone else said, put him on the Pirates' bench and watch them continue to stink. The front office has given Charlie more tools than any other Phillies manager has ever before. If he's unhappy about earning 3 million a year to manage the all star team, then let him manage in KC or Baltimore. That's where people have to actually earn their money.

If the Phillies were to miss the playoffs and it wasn't due to injuries I would blame Chuck, but right now why would we consider that possible? I don't mind the way things are going. The Phillies want him and he wants to come back. It'll happen.
As for beerleaguer's all time low, with all due respect JW, it was the home opener post stating that J-roll was late and his injury was fake.
And for those into such things, our old friend Mr. Park.

"and if he quit the Phillies after the season there would not be any other teams lining up for his services."

Ummmm, smitty, you'd better rethink that.

I'd wager to say that at this point, with the reputation he's forged with the Phillies about being a manager for whom players love to play, and the success he's enjoyed, there are at least 10 teams that would like to have him as their manager - particularly teams that want to be able to attract FA players.


Nats - Riggleman is no lock to stay

Mets - may jump at the chance to hire away their chief rival's manager

Marlins - are you sure Rodriguez is their guy?

And that's just the NL East. Go take a look around MLB. I'll wager there are at least 6 - 8 guys who lose their job at the end of the season.

There would be plenty of interest in Charlie. Plenty.

Rex: I'm not sure that I understand your argument. Are you saying that without Charlie, the Phillies aren't 4 time NL East Champions or that Charlie is a non-factor?

I give Charlie all the credit in the world for being a folksy player's manager who veterans love to play for, however I don't agree that his extension should be rubber stamped simply because he had the good fortune to take the job just as the nexus of Howard/Utley/Hamels/Ruiz came of age.

Did Manuel "earn" an extension and a raise? No - for the same reason that Torre didn't earn an extension and a raise with the Yankees...he isn't a difference maker.

Any reasonably competent manager would get the 2011 Phillies to the post season, and I doubt many of them would sit still for a closer who sets the record for most blown saves in a season without giving his dominant setup man a genuine opportunity to earn the role of closer.

Look, I love Charlie Manuel. He's a great guy, and truth be told, I hope he does get an extension if for no other reason than I like the guy, but calling him "one of the best managers in the game" who "earned" a raise and an extension is to overstate his skills. Charlie is a hitting coach with a manager's job who's approaching 70 years old and has a history of highly questionable judgement. A big part of his success amounts to being in the right place at the right time. He is not irreplaceable.

"A big part of his success amounts to being in the right place at the right time."

Will, that is vacuously obvious.

You do realize that the same could be said for every winning manager, no?

Will, devil's advocate here:

What exactly are those "skills" that are being "overstated"?

One of the things that's not been mentioned on any thread I've read on this topic, or any post herein, is a discussion of or speculation about exactly how much input Charlie may have in player-personnel decisions.

Do we really think that the FO makes moves with players without soliciting any input from the manager?

awh: To your first point, I agree. In conceding this point, you must then concede that the success of a team is not an accurate measure of the abilities of a manager. This eliminates the Phillies 2007-2010 success as justification for an automatic raise/extension.

To your second point, your guess is as good as mine.

Heather (and anyone else):

I'm still looking for three more people to join my league if you're interested.

It's not the group of Beerleaguer regulars you're looking for, but it'll be fun.

E-mail me at counselorking gmail if you're interested.

I totally agree with JBird and MG: Managers have little to do with a team's won/loss record.

The basic rule for a manager is: First, do no harm.

Those hailed as great managers, Stengel, LaRussa, Torre etc. were considered bums when they managed bad teams. They only became great when their players were great.

Charlie is a mediocre strategist, but he provides a nice comfort level for his players. Mostly, he does no harm.

****Charlie is a mediocre strategist, but he provides a nice comfort level for his players. Mostly, he does no harm.****

There's a lot to be said for that. UC understands that players win games and managers tend to lose them. Hands Off is the best approach. Look at Maddon or LaRussa outmanaging themselves with their "strategy". LaRussa is such a great amazing manager that he had the best team in baseball for 3 years (the late 80s/early 90s Athletics) and won 1 WS and got killed the other 2 times. But hey, he bats the pitcher 8th and likes to do a lot of pitching changes so WOW, look at him go!!!

"you must then concede that the success of a team is not an accurate measure of the abilities of a manager."

No concession necessary. It was implied in the question.

To this point, I read something once (I think it was Bill James who wrote it) that a manager's in game strategy can affect up to 8 games per season, with the averge being approximately 2, in the overall record of a team.

What he was saying is that if a team's Pythagorean (run differential) record is 90 - 72, in a best case scenario if the manager makes EVERY decision correctly during the course of a season (they all work out), the team will win 98 games. OTOH, if the manager's moves fail every time (wrong RP, wrong PH) the team would win 82 games.

That said, most managers have approximately a +/- 2 game effect on their team's record during the season. The consistently good managers provide a positive effect, and the consistently bad managers a negative one.

As most who come here are aware, actual team records can be compared to their Pythagorean record on the website.

I have checked out the Phillies record under Manuel, and here are the results vs. the expected Pythagorean record:

2005: -1
2006: -1
2007: +2
2008: -1
2009: +1
2010: +2

Total: +2

So, based on run differential, their record is actually 2 games better than their expected record the last six years.

Interestingly, if one goes and checks out the site and other teams’ managers who are thought to be gurus (some well known names), it is surprising how many teams have records that are worse than their expected Pythagorean record under that manager’s stewardship.

NEPP, here's the Cardinals' record vs. the Pythagorean for the last 6 seasons:

2005: +2
2006: +1
2007: +7
2008: 0
2009: 0
2010: -5

Total: +5

Or as a St. Louis LaRussa detractor implied, " a broken flip-flop could have managed those (great) teams".

Speaking of guys who are though tof as great managers, this is the Atlanta Braves record the last six seasons, vs. their Pythagorean record:

2005: -1
2006: -6
2007: -4
2008: -7
2009: -5
2010: -2

Total: -25

And, no, that is not a misprint.

On a different topic, Bill Baer has an interesting thread up over at Crashburn Alley with a link to a WEEI blogs' 2011 preseason Bullpen Power Rankings.

Bill has some good insights, but here's a direct link to the rankings:

awh: But Baer says that Bastardo could be good, and we all know that just can't be right.

Jack, agreed, because as we all know, here or BeerLeaguer

good = perfect.

Unless he's perfect, according to BL conventional wisdom he sucks.

awh - Braves' fans have been beating that point for years and arguing that Cox should have been forced into retirement.

Cholly's best managing job was the '07 season. Hands down. This team looked dead in the water in early May, had constant dramatic up & down games all season long due to their crummy pitching staff and terrible bullpen, a few key injuries, and chasing the Mets all season long.

Yeah Cholly was a bumbler with the bullpen at times but his even-keeled temperant was a key part of enabling that team not to be "SEASON = OVER" numerous times that it was listed on here including after Utley's injury in late July(I thought the season was over at that point).

His worst season was his first season. He made some embarassing gaffes that season including messing up double switches a few times. It was really where Cholly (along with his accent) got the reputation of being a boob who didn't know what he was doing. Partially deserved at the time. It was a big reason why Jimy Williams was named the bench coach in Oct. 2006.

Also wasn't crazy about his job in '09 either. This team got out to a crummy start yet again in April and his stubborn insistance on several things (e.g., keeping Lidge as the closer all season long, keeping JRoll in the leadoff spot) well part the point when he should have gone with an alternative. Phils got Lee and Pedro and it largely didn't matter what happened as the Phils run away with the NL East.

awh - Those bullpen rankings are interesting but the Giants with the 3rd best bullpen in MLB this year? I think not. They had no injuries last year largely and lots of guys pitched way over their heads including Wilson. Only guy I figure duplicates his performance in '10 is Romo who is their best reliever hands down.

Also don't think the Phils have the 7th best bullpen in MLB. That's counting on Contrereas to pitch as well as did last year (I would be pretty surprised if wasn't injured this year at some point), 2nd half Lidge, and getting effective seasons from Romero/Bastardo. It is a middle of the road bullpen but likely won that will only hve to give the Phils around 390-400 IP.

Bill Baer's outlook on the bullpen this year borders on Pollyannish. Lidge is a 'feared reliever' yet? Not without that fastball. Doesn't mean he can't be effective but I would be surprised if teams don't make some adjustment to a guy uses his slider 60-70% of the time.

He really thinks that Contreras can be as effective as he was in the 1st half of the last year for an entire season this year? Nah. I was really surprised that Contreras' didn't visit the DL. He did hit a dead arm period in June & wasn't quite the same pitcher the rest of the year as he was in April/May.

Ditto with his thoughts on Romero and Bastardo. Yes, Romero can be quite effective vs. lefties but is largely as fallacy that he will exclusively face left-hand bats. Ditto on Bastardo who has the injury/control issues to overcome although I like his chances alot more of effective reliever than Romero this year if he stays healthy for an entire season.

Scott Mathieson? Please. The love that Mathieson still gets on Crashburn Alley, Good Phight, and Phuture Phillies astounds me. If he actually learned that splitter this offseason from Sutter, he has a shot of being an effective reliever. Otherwise his approach of rearing back and firing at 94-95 on his straight 4-seemer just isn't going to work at the MLB level.

De Fratus also needs more seasoning. It will be interesting though to see where he gets placed this spring (possible closer in Reading?).

It isn't say the '07 bullpen which you knew was going to be a train wreck going into the season. It also isn't a strong bullpen either if it will be forced to pitch a fair amount. It is a middle of the road bullpen that didn't make any substantial personnel upgrades this offseason and likely won't have anybody from the minors give them a real boost this year.

I agree with the premise of the article. Why does Charlie Manuel NEED to be extended now? His contract runs through the end of the season. What is the harm in waiting until the end of the year from the FO's perspective? I don't see Manuel going anywhere else as long as the Phils make him a competitive offer.

Nicely written about Charlie, Clout. After reading about how a bad manager has a greater negative impact on a team than a good manager has a positive affect, I thought as you wrote, about the first mission of a physician, or athletic coach; "do no harm."

I guess the issue that irritates me about Manuel is that there are many times during a season when he gets caught in strategic situations where he gets caught with his pants down and one has to wonder why he acts behind the curve. I would call it akin to a football coach not having played out beforehand mutiple scenarios of his two-minute drill on the pratice field then watch the team stumble around in the real game.

"If he actually learned that splitter this offseason from Sutter, he has a shot of being an effective reliever. Otherwise his approach of rearing back and firing at 94-95 on his straight 4-seemer just isn't going to work at the MLB level. "

How can you have the talent to hurl upper 90s gas, yet be completely incapable of learning any secondary pitch at an adequate level?

There's dozens out there, and he can't even be competent at 1? Splitter? The jury's still out. Cripes, why stop there. Has anyone tried the screwball or forkball?

Seriously, maybe someone who knows something about scouting can clue me in, but I'm bumfuzzled as to why the guy either cannot or will not learn an adequate secondary pitch. Does he have some funky arm slot or extremely tiny hands or something?

Totally agree that the manager actually has very little affect on a team's performance over a full season. Of course, that won't stop us on Beerleaguer from obsessing about every bullpen or lineup decision with which we disagree. These decisions can definitely affect the outcome of a game, so they deserve to be commented upon. But, over a 162-game season, it's pretty unlikely that any manager's day-to-day lineup decisions & bullpen management has an actual effect on the team's win-loss record.

Leaving Romero in to face a right-hander might feel mind-numbingly stupid, and it might well cost the Phillies the game when that right-hander proceeds to hit a 2-run homer. But, while some other manager might have pulled Romero on this occasion, there's probably another occasion out there when Cholly pulls him & that other hypothetical manager would have left him in to give up that 2-run homer. These kinds of things tend to even out over 162 games.

"No concession necessary. It was implied in the question."

That point was more addressed to the posters whose argument is that Charlie has somehow "earned" an extension and a raise as a result of the team's success. He hasn't.

As for the philosophy that a manager's job is to do no harm, I don't disagree with that, but "harm" is subjective. Does it harm the team that Victorino has had less experience batting leadoff than he could have because Charlie was too stubborn to remove Rollins from a role he was no longer suited for? Does it harm the team that Madson wasn't given a real opportunity to develop into a closer because of Charlie's attitude that, regardless of performance, Lidge is the closer simply because he says so?

I argue that these things do matter, and though I'm not going to dig through the numbers to prove it, it's been my observation that his management of pitchers is retroactive instead of proactive. I remember more than a few games in which Charlie refused to take his pitcher out of the game before the damage had been done and the lead had already been sacrificed (or at least put the go ahead run in scoring position).

Whether or not this balances out offensively with his background as a hitting coach, I don't know.

Again, despite this, I'd like to see him back. I just don't agree that he's one of the best managers in the game and that the Phillies success since 2007 equals Charlie's "earning" of a raise and an extension. I don't feel that he's a key component to a winning season.

"How can you have the talent to hurl upper 90s gas, yet be completely incapable of learning any secondary pitch at an adequate level?"

Pretty easily. Having a strong arm has little to do with having the coordination and mechanics to throw other pitches -- let alone to throw them to exactly the part of the plate where you want to throw them. The minor leagues are littered with pitchers who have nothing but a 95 MPH fastball.

"I guess the issue that irritates me about Manuel is that there are many times during a season when he gets caught in strategic situations where he gets caught with his pants down and one has to wonder why he acts behind the curve."

kuvasz, as I noted in an earlier post, this is a COMMON COMPLAINT about ALL MANAGERS in EVERY MLB town. Go read the other team blogs.

Not every move a manager makes is going to work out. Period. If it did they would win 162 games.

I simply don't understand all of the second guessing. I can think of maybe....maybe 1/2 dozen moves Charlie made that were perplexing last season, the most notable, of course being the decision in NLCS Game 6 to go with Madson for 2 innings. (We all know how that worked out.)

But seriously, do you expect that every time he either leaves in or brings in a pitcher that that pitcher is going to get out of the jam? Do you expect that every time he sends a PH up to the plate that that PH is going to get a hit?

Suppose a pitcher gets shelled for 6 runs in the first inning? Is a manager supposed to be clairvoyant and use a spot starter that day.

Baseball is a game of failure - at least from a hitter's standpoint. So, if a manager is only as good as his players (a point I think on which we all agree), then a manager is going to "fail" 73.5% of the time (assuming a .265 team BA).

No one is saying that Charlie is the greatest manager in the world.

I am saying, however, that there is no way to objectively measure with 100% certainty how good or bad any given manager actualy is.

"why does charlie NEED to be extended now. What is the harm of waiting until the season's end"

The harm would be that without a contract in place, Charlie will get a better offer elsewhere and leave. I know thats not a definite, but to answer your question, that is the potential harm.

And even if you dont view Charlie as a good manager - is there really someone out there that you "know" will do as good/better? No.

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EST. 2005

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