What Grade Does Charlie Get?

Charlie ManuelSo on WIP this morning Angelo Cataldi asked what grade Charlie Manuel deserves as manager.

Hmmmm … I think he gets an ‘A’ because in my opinion, wins and losses are the only things that matter.

Manuel has more wins than any manager in Phillies history (727) and his winning percentage (.561) is the best among Phillies managers with 300 or more games. He has won five National League East championships, two National League pennants and one World Series. The Phillies’ .561 winning percentage under Manuel from 2005-12 is best in the National League and third in baseball behind the Yankees (.590) and Angels (.563).

Now, if you’re argument is, well, he only won one World Series, despite some pretty talented teams … just a reminder the Phillies have won only two World Series since their inception in 1883. And a little perspective is good here, too. Jim Leyland has won just one World Series in 21 years as manager. Bobby Cox won just one in 29 years. Tony La Russa won three in 33. Tommy Lasorda won two in 21. Connie Mack won five in 53. The point here is that it is tough to win a World Series.

One in eight years with the Phillies isn’t so bad. In fact, I’m reminded of something Dallas Green told me in Spring Training 2004. He said, “If it were easy to win a World Series, I wouldn’t be the only son of a bitch walking around here with a ring.”

Leave Dallas to tell it like it is.

But I also know some people think Manuel didn’t take advantage of the talent he had. So what do you think? Vote.


he won a world series, they can finish in last every year other than that… and he’d still get an A

Thanks for that clearer and precise perspective, Todd.

All this is irrelevant. He has done a great job but if things don’t go well this year, will he be the best man for the job moving forward. Let me explain. What if Utley and Halladay are banged up again and you don’t bring them back next year? What is Chooch starts to look and play old and you let some other team throw a bunch of money at an aging catcher? The 2014 starting lineup can look like this

C – Joseph
SS-Rollins (for 2014 and that is it)

SP-Lee (if this is the 2014 team he should actually be traded)

That is a very young (and not that good) team. Is Manuel the type of manager that you want managing that team? Probably not. If this is the case in 2014, then the team is better off with some new blood that they can grow with (Sandburg)

Now, that said, maybe Utley, Halladay and Chooch look great (and if they do then 2013 should be a success) and you bring them all back on short deals because they want to settle some unfinished business and take a home town discount. Then do you bring Charlie back. Absolutely.

So you see, what he did in the past is in the past. Look what happened with Reid, held into him based on his past performance for too long and it delayed progress.

I love Charlie and he deserves a ton of respect but at the same time if they go with a youth movement next year with few veterans (very possible) then as great as he was, he won’t be the right guy for the job.

He gets an A for winning the world series but for his actual managing of a game and a lineup and a pitching staff he gets a C and that is being generous. I love Charilie because he brought this city a world series and I will never forget that but at the same time he has cost this team some wins that may have helped them with his mismanagement of double switches, pitching changes etc. So overall he gets a B

I will always appreciate the fact that Charlie was the manager of a World Series champion. But I also think that he leaves a little to be desired on an everyday basis. He needs to do what is best for the team, not individual players, and I think he plays favorites when making his lineups. He also needs to let his coaches do their job (Re: hitting coaches).

A for the world series, but his infatuation with insisting on using Bastardo brings him down to an A-/B+

Don’t know what Cataldi’s bug was up his butt about Charlie. Two World Series appearances and the best run by any Phillies manager, ever. He has his faults on strategy and a blind spot on Rollins, but overall his whole body of work, an A, or at worst, an A minus.

Managers and coaches are only as good as the roster they oversee. Francona was stooge with a crappy Phillies roster but a genius with an allstar laden Redsox squad. Joe Torre was mediocre with the Braves and Cardinals but a Hall of Famer with the Yankees. So Manuel didn’t win a world series per se, they team did. His tenure coresponds with the most talented roster in Phillies history and his record reflects this. If you want to hold fast that Manuel won the 2008 world series, fine, but I submit that he cost the phillies the 2009 world series.

Wholeheartedly agree. I really don’t see anything in your comment that doesn’t make perfect logical sense.

I gave him an A, but would give an A-. We’ve had a terrific run. Last year he fielded a minor league team. In 2009, we had rag-tag pitching. If pitching wins it for you–then we didn’t have it…and look who won the series for the Yanks–Arod. A questionable series for him, now that we have dirt. 2010 and 2011 the players blew it. Managing baseball is dealing with personalities and the challenges that go with it. Of course there is strategy–but this is not football. It is a long season and he keeps his guys focused and challenged. They play for the “team,” for the fans, and for him…what else could you want?

I agree with that for the most part, but when it is a close game in the late innings, the manager’s decisions can stick out like a sore thumb. Choosing who to pinch hit in a situation, trying to think ahead of what the other manager will do so you can counteract that, etc. It definitely is not football, because they have control over a big part of the game, for the ENTIRE game, but in close games in the 7th, 8th, and 9th, the baseball manager can make or break the game.

There were more than a few last year. Like in the 8th inning when one of the young guys, or Qualls, was struggling with a 1 or 2 run lead, and Manuel refused to bring Papelbon in to assure the save.

So with all that said, up until 2009 or 2010, I would have given him an A- or a B+, because he is definitely a perfect personality who can keep a clubhouse loose and confident. It’s just when it comes to the strategic side of baseball that I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him. I might have had a pretty decent arm back in my playing days, but he is one heavy son’m’gun! haha

Charlie has been the mostly right fit for THIS team which grew under him, but he is not the right manager for the present roster which we know is in the midst of must win now as the likely last hurrah for its core if contracts are not worthy of renewal for ’14, etc.

The changeover is easy to see with youth on the horizon in the group of Pettibone, Morgan, Martin, Biddle, Asche, Joseph, etc. Charlie is not the guy to have the patience necessary to bring the “untried” forward; we know that he loves veterans too much to allow youth to grow within the roster.

Sandberg for sure in ’14. Thanks Charlie, it’s been good to know ye…

I really think everyone who keep talking trash about Charlie should just stop yapping and take a closer look at what he has done, day in and day out, to demonstrate that he has been a superior A+ manager IN ALL ASPECTS… Adam: can’t figure out any articulable hypothesis where Charlie “blew the 2009 Series”? Our team didn’t hit and Hamels didnt have his mojo like the year before. Charlie got the team there and focused and dominant in the playoffs, they just got upstaged by the Yankees and caved. We have had some good talent on this team, but the core players didnt start to gel like real winners until Charlie came to town. HE brought in the leadership skills to get them over the hump and KEEP THEM THERE for 5 straight seasons. I thought he made some spotty moves in 2006 and 2007, mostly leaving the pitcher in too long, but remember in those two years he didnt have much of a bullpen except Myers as the closer. Since 2008 he has actually be spot on all the time, and at times he has been almost clairvoyant in picking EXACTLY the PERFECT player off the bench or line up changes when they needed it. What the hell was Matt Stairs doing up in the 8th inning of a tied NLCS Game 4 road game against the heavily favored Dodgers? Charlie saw something, and made a gutsy call– the rest is history… Where does anyone get off complaining that he hasnt used the talent properly to win? 2011 he led the vaunted Fab 5 Rotation to the best record in baseball and best ever for the franchise, They were squeaked out of the playoffs by one incredible game by Carpenter beating Halladay in a 1-0 classic duel of the ages… The Phillies bats didnt show up for that series- Charlie managed to squeak out two wins by shrewd use of the ptiching staff. In 2010 he led the team to the NLCS against the Giants (eventual WS winners) and the brink of a 3-peat pennant. Terry Franconia, Tony La Russa and Bruce Bochy have managed to win twice each during the past decade, and that speaks volumes for them, but Charlie is right up there with them by splitting consecutive WS. Charlie has also done a good job using his staff (Davey Lopes, Juan Samuel), and making changes to it when necessary (getting rid of Milt Thompson and Greg Gross). Charlie takes a lot of crap from people about the way he talks, and doesnt get credit for all he brings to the table, but in the end of the game, the cards speak for themselves… and at the end of the night, the stack of chips speak even more…

The 2009 World Series was classic Charlie. He used that has been Pedro Martinez to start two WS games and relegated JA Happ to the bullpen. We will never know what Happ would have done. But we do know what Martinez did or, should I say, didn’t do. But Charlie does get some credit for 2008 so I raised his grade and gave him a D.

“Adam: can’t figure out any articulable hypothesis where Charlie “blew the 2009 Series”? Our team didn’t hit and Hamels didnt have his mojo like the year before.”

So Utley having 2 different 2 homer games, Werth having another 2 homer game, Feliz jacked one to tie a game up at one point, Ruiz hit a jack, Howard had another 1, Ibanez had 1, and the number of hits per game were as follows:
Game 1: 9 hits, 6 runs
Game 2: 6 hits, 1 run
Game 3: 6 hits, 5 runs
Game 4: 8 hits, 4 runs
Game 5: 9 hits, 8 runs
Game 6: 6 hits, 3 Runs

You can say that Hamels didn’t win game 3, which is true, BUT you also gotta think that maybe his confidence or ego was hurt after leading this team to a WORLD SERIES TITLE AS THE MVP a year before, and then being relagated to game 3 the very next year for an aging Pedro Martinez that just wanted to pitch a world series game in the Bronx to stroke his own ego.

The strategy of using a 3 man rotation in the playoffs has been used on more than one occasion, and, ironically, the Yankees used it against us in ’09. So instead of rolling out Lee on 3 days rest, like NY did with Sabathia, he put Joe Blanton against one of the best pitchers in the business. Both teams offenses were similar, so it was going to come down to the pitching, and Blanton didn’t stand a chance. That was a CRUCIAL part of the series, mind you, since they were already up 2-1 on us (due to the fact that he pitched Pedro Martinez instead of Cole Hamels aka ’08 WS MVP in game 2!), and If Lee could have beaten Sabathia AGAIN, the series would have been tied at 2-2. Rather, we went down 3-1, momentum gone, and even though Lee won game 5, we had to go play the elimination game back in NY. So yeah, he should have used a 3 man rotation of Lee, Hamels, THEN Pedro/Blanton, putting Lee back up against Sabathia in game 4.

“…and at times he has been almost clairvoyant in picking EXACTLY the PERFECT player off the bench or line up changes when they needed it.”

Ummm, so using people like Michael Martinez off the bench instead of Juan Pierre in a high leverage at-bat when MM was batting <.200 is somehow categorized as "clairvoyant"?

You also don't remember that Charlie is supposed to be some hitting "guru" right? So why has the phils offense continued to decline year after year?

Oh, and the Matt Stairs situation. Charlie knew we needed a homer. Who did we have on the bench that ALWAYS swung for the fences…..MATT STAIRS. It's less clairvoyance, more plain logic.

Let it be known that I am not a Charlie hater, I just think his tenure here has run its course. If he doesn't have a powerhouse offense to cover up his questionable decision making, he is not the guy for the job. I appreciate what he did when we were an offensive powerhouse, but those days are long gone, sorry to say.

In effect, Charlie was a checkers player invited to a chess tournament.

Dude, you have a short memory. Hamels was a shot player in the 2009 postseason.

Not really, no, I remember Hamels wasn’t himself most of the season, but I also know that if the coach would have thrown him out there game 2 instead of an aging Pedro Martinez we had a much better shot at winning that game. And it still doesn’t change the face that firsts I was smart enough to use the 3 man rotation and we weren’t. Who won that series again?

Wow, not sure how Girardi got spellchecked to “firsts I” haha

Dude, you are just wrong. If Charlie was amiss in anything it was starting Hamels AT ALL! As he said after his desultory start in game 3, “I can’t wait for it to end. It’s been mentally draining.”

I am one of Cole’s biggest phans as we speak, but he was awful that whole postseason. As I said, a shot player. He had to learn the hard way that he had to work hard to stay on top.

No, actually I’m not wrong. At least not on my game 4 point. If he was wrong about anything, it would be throwing Blanton (our #4) out there against Sabathia (THEIR ACE) when we were down 2-1 in the series, especially when Cliff Lee manhandled the yankees lineup in game 1. Cliff was ready to pitch, he said so himself.

“I’ll pitch whenever they want me to pitch. That’s about as clear as I can say it. I’m ready whenever. I don’t really get that sore, so I’ll be ready to pitch whenever they want me to. If it’s going to help the team win, I’m in.” (actual quote)

If you have a chance to tie the series up, you take it. And as Karl says below…

“at times some teams had their one and only ace come back a game early (in a desparate situation), ”

I think I would say that was a desperate situation. You wouldn’t agree?

We were facing a lineup with righty splits in 2009 of:
Jeter (R) – .311 – 12 homers
Damon (L) – .288 – 17 homers
Teixeira (S) – .282 – 30 homers
A. Rod (R) – .277 – 22 homers
Posada (S) – .282 – 17 homers
Cano (L) – .326 – 15 homers
Swisher (S) – .250 – 20 homers
M. Cabrera (S) – .277 – 8 homers
Sabathia – Not a total shlub at the plate, and he is HUGE

Keep in mind that these are ONLY the stats that these hitters had against RHP during the 2009 season. They only had 2 right handed batters, and both had more homers off righties anyway, plus all 4 of the switch hitters also had more power against righties from the left side of the plate. Pretty much, this lineup could be considered the “Anti-Blanton”. They were salivating when they found out he was coming out instead of Lee, and Sabathia said “phew!” because he wanted to actually get a win in the World Series.

Seriously though, smarty pants, does that look like the lineup that you want to put a righty flyball pitcher who was a #4 or 5 starter, AT BEST…in a hitter’s park…down 2-1 in the World Series…against the other teams ACE?!

If your pride won’t let you say that is a bad situation to put Blanton in, then no logic in the world would make you come to your senses. It was a bad move, plain and simple. Lee should have pitched. THIS was my first point, and the one that I am adamant about.

Between Hamels and an AGING (never said “has been” Karl) Pedro Martinez, I still would have given the ball to Hamels. He had come up in big spots before the year prior, and I thought it was a slap in the face to put Martinez in front of him in game 2. I know I would have been feeling some type of way about it if I was Hamels.

Maybe you never played baseball past little league, but confidence and adrenaline can give you the ability to do things that, physically, you normally wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, be able to do. If he would have gotten that ball in game 2, the coaches would have shown him that they had the confidence in him. You would be surprised what that can do for a player.

The fact of the matter is this, it’s the WORLD FUCKING SERIES, and there are no games after the series is over, so there’s plenty of rest time afterwards. The manager needs to make whatever decisions needed in order to win every single game. You think game 3 was the swing game? Well I think game 4 was the swing game. If Lee could have gone in and won game 4, tied the series up 2-2 with another game in Philly, it very well could have changed the whole rest of the series.

Coaches need to be able to think and adapt to the situation. Girardi was trying to put us away in that game 4, and he did so by putting Sabathia out there while hoping Charlie was stubborn enough not to go the same route, in which case, game 4 was over before it started.

You still think I’m wrong? I don’t care, because I know the game, I have played at a high level, and I watch every single game intently. Any expert will tell you that if he would have pitched Lee in game 4, things had a much better chance of turning around for us. Then, who knows, maybe we go back to the Bronx leading 3-2 instead of the opposite.

By the way, I know a complete game in the World Series is awesome and all, but if Charlie would have let Lidge or Madsen close it out, Cliff might have been in better shape to pull off the game 4 start. Charlie doesn’t think that far ahead though.

You just can’t make an argument for Hamels in the 2009 WS. Not if you look at the facts. He was a bust all year and even worse in the postseason. Shot. And BTW, an everyday RH bat is always going to have more HR’s against RH pitchers over the course of the year because they will face an overwhelming number of RH pitchers over the course of the year. At the end of your screed you sound like Fredo in the Godfather II…I”‘m smart! Not like everybody says… like dumb… I’m smart and I want respect!”
Smarty-pants, indeed.


Thank god you were here to let me know that there are more RHP’s in the majors! Wow, I don’t know what I would have done. Hahahahaha but seriously, no shit. The thing is, not every batter has success, with respect to power especially, against same handed pitching, which, in this case, IS RIGHT HANDED PITCHERS! Take a look at the average righty hitter, meaning NOT a power hitter. A lot of them have such better success against lefties that their homers against righties and lefties are very similar, meaning +/- 3 or so. Then you look at the 2 players in the Yankee lineup were that were righties…Derek Jeter and A-Rod! Not exactly average righties. My point, as it pertains to the switch hitters, before you put on your captain obvious badge, was that every single switch hitter they had in the lineup had BETTER THAN AVERAGE power against righty pitching. For example, Victorino was a switch hitter with some pop, correct? Yes, BUT when you look at his homers against righties ( which he sees about 70% of the time) he only has 9 more HR’s than he does against lefties! Pretty much, most switch hitters have one side that they have more power from. Bringing it home now, ALL the Yankee switch hitters had the majority of their power from the left side.

So…I will put it out there again, now that I had to explain every single detail. Would you rather have a lefty ACE that destroyed that lineup 3 days prior who said he was ready to pitch? Or a #4 starting righty flyball pitcher that is known to give up homers, in a ballpark where lefties can knock them out in a pop fly with a strong gust of wind?

I really can’t break it down any more than I did right there, so if you still can’t follow, shame on you.

It is complete hindsight to suggest that Lee should have pitched with three days rest. Lee had never done it in his career and all you can do is speculate what he would have done. Lee pitched on at least four days’ rest in every postseason start. And when he got additional rest, he was even better. When Lee got five days’ rest, he was 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA (17 innings). On six days’ rest, he pitched a complete game shutout at Yankee Stadium in the World Series.

The Phillies won a WS the year before using a four man rotation with the likes of Blanton and Jamie Moyer. And I also still would have put Pedro out there before a shot Hamels.

Nice job relooking at 2009… I give credit for Girardi going with his 3-man rotation, that really worked well for them, but that doesnt discredit Charlie for not following suit. Girardi’s decision is NOT common in WS play, he is the only one to do that among the last 9 WS… at times some teams had their one and only ace come back a game early (in a desparate situation), but not the whole rotation. Phan52 is right about Hamels… suffered from dead arm and simply didnt have the mojo in 09. Pedro looked cooked by the end of the WS, but recall he was a phenom during the back end of the season and into the playoffs– certainly didnt look like a “has-been”. Charlie put Pedro in the second game in NY (a day game) to set up Cole better for success in Game 3, which we should have won… if you score 5 runs in a WS game and lose, that is really on the pitchers. The situation was set up where the Phils would have the 3-2 lead going back to NY with Hamels set up for game 7… but he blew game 3, so we were in the losing situation instead. As for the bats, the earlier claim remains valid– against the Yankees, the Phillies couldnt afford anemic batting, but that is what they got in games 2, 4, and 6. 10 homers in six games isnt too bad, but I am sure the Yankees matched or outdid that, and obviously Game 3 is the swing game in the battle.

The bench coach for the 2008 WS was Jimmy Williams(previously won a WS), retired after 2008. His contribution is evident by the winning of the series. Charlie is a hitting coach. Any accolades given Charlie referencing his previous managing years all have to do with his knowledge of hitting–not one word about his managing acumen. Even Jim Thome praises Charlie for his coaching of hitting not managing. Charlie’s name should not appear in the same sentence with Tony LaRussa or Jim Leyland. All Charlie wants to do is write up the lineup card (put Rollins as lead off which is assine) and sit back and watch a baseball game. I would hire Charlie as a hitting coach but he should never have been hired as a manager.

Finally, someone thinking clearly! haha

Well, somebody in this string referred to Pedro as a has-been…. I think his performance that season during his Phillies stint speaks to the contrary. As for using Lee in Game 4, I think it is not quite a desparate enough situation to make that call, unless they were going to use the admittedly contentious strategy of using the 3-man rotation the rest of the way… I mean, when do you use Blanton? Game 6 if you get up 3-2? You need to use him early in the series to eat upp a game for the other starters. I think it would’ve been a gutsy move to make the call at that point in the series (right after Game 3) to drop Blanton the rest of the way… and would have resspected Charlie for doing that, but I dont BLAME him for NOT. That is a bit harsh.

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