The good news is that both Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel are under contract through 2013. The bad news may be that looming questions regarding Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, Jimmy Rollins and the Phillies lineup have yet to be answered.
Amaro, 46, was in the final year of three-year pact signed after the 2008 season. After serving as an assistant GM to both Ed Wade and Pat Gillick, the former Angels, Phillies and Indians player took over the GM duties in Philadelphia in November of 2008 – mere weeks after Pat Gillick semi-retired from a World Champion organization. Gillick heads for the Baseball
Hall of Fame this summer. Since taking over, Amaro has engineered deals to acquire Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Mike Sweeney, Brian Schneider, Raul Ibanez, Placido Polanco and Cliff Lee (a second time). Amaro has also presided over the single most successful run in Phillies history, consisting of four straight NL East titles, three NLCS, two World Series appearances and one championship… and counting. Those four years saw 371 regular season wins (92.75 avg), 25 postseason wins and the emergence of the Phillies as one of the elite franchises in Major League Baseball and across the sports landscape.
Amaro announced an extension for manager Charlie Manuel on Thursday for a new three-year deal that will keep the manager with the Phillies through the 2013 season. Manuel had been in the final year of his previous contract so this replaces his expiring contract and rewards the winningest active manager in baseball – ensuring that the 67-year-old will manage through age 70. The Philadelphia Daily News, on Friday morning, reported that the deal was “lacking just the finishing touches.”
Fans may have wanted to see Manuel gone early in his career, but the enthusiasm nearly was unanimous Thursday when Manuel and general manager Ruben Amaro announced the signing of a contract extension that will keep the manager in Philadelphia through 2013.
Manuel’s contract was set to run out at the end of this season, but the new deal will take him through the end of 2013 and will begin immediately, replacing the final year of the old agreement. The timeline for the contract was something Manuel chose, saying he wanted to be able to evaluate his future in three years and decide if he wanted to continue managing into his 70s. After six winning seasons, 25 postseason victories, two trips to the World Series and one championship during his tenure, Manuel said he isn’t planning to go anywhere any time soon.
“I don’t think I’m going to catch [Joe] Paterno,” Manuel said, comparing his run to that of the 84-year-old Penn State football coach. “I’d like to, but he’s got a head start on me. But at the same time, I think I made it pretty clear to Ruben, I’m not planning on getting out in the near future.”
The Phillies made their first Spring Training roster moves today, optioning or reassigning 16 players to Minor League camp. The number quickly dropped to 15 when the Phillies reassigned Robb Quinlan prompting his agent asked for his release. The Phillies granted it assuming Quinlan would be able to hook on with another MLB franchise this spring.
The Phillies also reassigned right-handers Brian Bass, Eddie Bonine, Andrew Carpenter and Michael Schwimer; left-hander Ryan Feierabend; catcher Joel Naughton; infielders Tagg Bozied and Quinlan; and outfielder Matt Miller – who are all headed for Lehigh Valley (AAA) IronPigs. Any of these players could resurface as the season progresses.
The Phillies optioned seven players to Minor League camp: right-handers Justin De Fratus, Drew Naylor and J.C. Ramirez; infielders Harold Garcia, Cesar Hernandez, Carlos Rivero and Matt Rizzotti. The Phillies are taking a longer look at RHP Michael Stutes, who has pitched well this spring. Stutes has a 1.50 ERA in 4 Grapefruit League appearances (OPPBA.143 against him). The only other non-roster invitees remaining in big-league camp are left-handers Dan Meyer and Juan Perez. Meyer has a .600 ERA in three appearances (OPPBA .182 against him). Perez has a 3.00 ERA in three appearances (OPPBA.077 against him). The Phillies are looking for a second left-hander to pitch in the bullpen. They currently only have J.C. Romero, who has become a situational specialist at best. Ideally the bullpen would like a formidable lefty who can pitch multiple innings every other day.
True issues with the Phillies are well-known, but the Phillies roster averages out to be one of the oldest in the Major Leagues (29.21). Since final rosters won’t be official until Opening Day, these numbers will still be tweaked but the Phillies starting lineup (32.81) and rotation (30.69) are relatively set. Factoring in the potential bench players (30.28)reaffirms the need for an infusion of youthful talent. For the first few months, that infusion will not come from blue chip future star Domonic Brown (23 years old) who is sidelined with a broken hand. It is still to be determined who will fill the final roster spots.
Depending on the status of Chase Utley (patella tendinitis) the Phillies may be seeking another veteran infielder such as Michael Young, Troy Glaus or Carlos Guillen. Their non-roster invitees include additional infielders candidates such as Pete Orr (31), Delwyn Young (29), Josh Barfield (29) or Jeff Larish (29).
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org