Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is entering his ninth season with the team uncertain about his future. The 69-year-old's contract will expire after the season, and many have speculated that the team is grooming current third-base coach Ryne Sandberg to replace him.
Saturday at Phillies spring training in Clearwater, Fla., Manuel attempted to put an end to talk about his contract situation, saying that "this will be the last time" he answers questions about his deal, according to CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury.
In a heated exchange with reporters, Manuel reiterated that he is focused on winning this season and should not have to defend his tenure in Philadelphia. He ranks first in franchise history with 727 wins, and his 1,706 total wins are the 24th-most all-time.
“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.
“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?
“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.”
Manuel's Phillies posted at least 85 wins during his first eight seasons and won five straight NL East titles from 2007-11, but missed the postseason with an 81-81 record in 2012. Both Manuel and general manager Ruben Amaro have said that they will wait until after the 2013 season to evaluate the manager's status, according to Salisbury.