Manuel: Worried About Winning, Not Contract
“This is the last time I’ll answer about my deal, OK?” he said. “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. I definitely, if I needed to get established as a Major League manager, I definitely did that with kind of 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’s last year, (former Cardinals manager Tony) La Russa. I’ve seen all these guys and there’s still a couple this year. It’s (Yankees manager) Joe Girardi this year. 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, (Phillies president) David Montgomery and Ruben (Amaro Jr.) and I will more than likely have a talk and that’s kind of how I see it.”
Manuel, 69, is optimistic to think his contract status won’t be discussed if the team struggles, especially if the Phillies struggle early in the season. But he does not believe he needs to defend his record as manager on a weekly basis, either.
What is there to defend, he wonders? He has more wins than any manager in Phillies history (727). His .561 winning percentage with the Phillies is the is the best among Phillies managers with 300 or more games. He has been to the postseason five consecutive seasons, winning one of the organization’s two World Series championships.
“I shouldn’t have to explain it to anybody, the team or President Obama or anybody,” he said. “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.
“What we did is sitting there in front of you. 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 anyway you want to. But it’s what it is.”
Manuel said he never mentioned his contract situation during his morning meeting with the team.
“I would never do that,” he said. “I would never do anything like that.”
That would take away the focus from the field, and that’s where a good manager gets his reputation as a good manager: the players on the field perform and win.
Is he confident this team can win?
“We won’t know until we start playing games and when we get on the field and play,” he said. “At the same time, I look in there we got a lot of options. We got some competitions going. Usually there’s ifs on teams every year. You’ve got to turn those ifs into exclamation points. That’s how I look at it. You definitely work to try and improve. Everybody we got, they’ll get a tremendous chance to improve themselves.”