Charlie Manuel is officially a lame duck manager for the Philadelphia Phillies. The 69-year-old is in the final year of his contract with the team and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. reportedly has no plans to talk about Manuel’s future until the season is over.
Manuel led the Phillies to five consecutive National League East titles from 2007 to 2011, and guided the team to a World Series championship in 2008. But a third-place finish in 2012 has apparently put him on the ropes.
Last season the Phillies had a payroll in the $160 million range and a starting rotation many dubbed the greatest of all-time. So the resulting 81-81 record came as a huge disappointment.
Manuel has been the Phillies’ manager since he replaced Larry Bowa following the 2004 season.
Given the rash of major injuries the Phillies faced in 2012 I’m not sure you can hang the entire season on Manuel. But the message from Amaro is pretty clear: fail again and we see no reason to bring you back in 2014.
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland is also in the final year of his contract, so maybe teams like the Phillies and Tigers are looking for opportunities to move away from older, entrenched managers and onto younger, more energetic guys.
Still, Manuel has been wildly successful for most of his time in Philadelphia. The fact that he isn’t already locked up for at least another year is a bit of a shock.