Manuel vents about contract, focuses on winning

Manuel vents about contract, focuses on winning

February 16, 2013, 3:00 pm
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CLEARWATER, Fla. – Phillies manager Charlie Manuel sent two messages Saturday.
 
First, he told his players what was expected of them before they took the field for their first full-squad workout of the spring.
 
Later, Manuel sent a message to everybody else. In short, it went like this: Don’t ask any more questions about his contract, which expires at the end of the season.

In addressing his contract situation for what he said will be the final time, Manuel veered off into a defense of his managerial record, which includes five NL East titles, two NL pennants and a World Series title in eight years of leading the Phillies.

“This is the last time I’ll answer (questions) about my deal, OK?” Manuel said in a post-workout session with reporters. “I’m very satisfied with the way it is.

“This is my ninth year and I know the good things that we’ve had, and I should never have to sit and tell somebody what we’ve done, and I always give my players the credit for it and things like that. And I should never ever even have to answer what we’ve done.
 
“If I needed to get established as a Major League manager, I definitely did that with the help of my players. And if we lose 10 games or we win 10 games, well, I don’t want nobody to ask me about it because it’s not going to bother me. I’ve seen Joe Torre, his contract’s run out before, Dusty Baker last year, Tony La Russa. I’ve seen all these guys and there’s still a couple this year. It’s Joe Girardi this year, I think. That’s fine. It’s the way it goes. And I’m not worried about it at all.
 
“So therefore, I want to stay focused. I want to stay totally focused on us winning. Us winning is more important to me than my contract. At the end of the year, somewhere along the line, (team president) David Montgomery and (GM) Ruben Amaro and I will more than likely have a talk and that’s kind of how I see it.”
 
Manuel, who has presided over the most wins in Phillies history, was asked what he meant by saying he shouldn’t have to explain what he’s done as a manager.
 
“What we did is sitting there in front of you,” he said. “My record is just as good as anybody’s in baseball. I don’t want to sound like I’m an ‘I/me’ guy because I’m not. But really, I mean just look at it. What’s wrong with it? Do you know what I mean? We want to win a World Series every year. But that’s kind of impossible. The Yankees have 27 of them, so there’s over 100 years the Yankees didn’t win.
 
“You can look at it any way you want to. But it is what it is. What I meant was, you shouldn’t have to explain it, us or the team. I shouldn’t have to explain it to anybody, the team or President Obama or anybody. Seriously. That’s kind of how I look at it. I’m not worried about my contract. I’ve been in baseball 51 years and right now I definitely plan on staying in baseball and I plan on managing.”
 
If this was indeed the last time Manuel was going to address his contract, he sure got a few things off his chest.
 
Manuel, 69, received a two-year contract extension two springs ago. At the time, he said he wanted to ride out the contract and see where he was in his life and career. Manuel’s bosses were on board with that plan and still are. Amaro has made it clear on numerous occasions that he is pleased with Manuel’s performance and will deal with the matter at season’s end, as was proposed by both sides two years ago. (We recently dealt with this subject, which you can read about here.)
 
Manuel is known for his passionate, sometimes humorous, sometimes rambling speeches before the first full workout of the spring. Two years ago, Roy Halladay urged him to use notes during his speech.
 
In Saturday’s camp-opening speech, Manuel hit on some of the usual notes.
 
“I reminded them how we have to play and what we need to improve on,” he said. “The season is a grind. When things get tough, I want them to keep going, stay focused and committed. Make the commitment today to be the best player you can be. I emphasized that we’re here to win and play the game right.”
 
Manuel said he stressed improved defense and baserunning.
 
“We’ve got a good team and a whole lot of talent,” he said. “We definitely plan on being real competitive in our league and having a chance to win. Our goal is to go to the World Series and win. As usual.”

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