Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said it, fighting back tears on the day of the press conference announcing Charlie Manuel's dismissal as manager of the Phillies after nine seasons at the help. Amaro hoped that Manuel would stay in the organization. It appears that Amaro has continued to speak to Manuel in the hopes that he would consider a return.
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported tonight that the Phillies have indeed made Manuel an offer, and Amaro has been open about it:
"Charlie is in the process of deciding what he wants to do," Amaro said. "He would be a valuable member of our organization. I think he could help in a variety of ways. Hopefully we can work it out. We have made him an offer. Hopefully it would be something he'd be interested in doing."
The likely position? Probably assistant to the regional general manager. Yes, it sounds like the made up position like the one Dwight Schrute had on NBC's "The Office". But what it would mean for Manuel is that as organizational decisions are made, he will have a place at the table and will be able to offer suggestions and input. Manuel probably would get to soak up some Florida sun on the Phillies' dime, hang out around the organization, and mostly work in and around Philadelphia, possibly in his Buena Vista, Virginia home at times. One thing that we know about Charlie Manuel is that he does not like to sit still.
Manuel has expressed a desire to manage, but of the managerial openings it's really hard to find one that will be a match for Manuel. Some speculated that the Kansas City Royals would be a good fit, but despite missing the playoffs the team extended manager Ned Yost for two more seasons. Teams currently with managerial vacancies: the Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and Seattle Mariners.
The Cubs and Mariners probably do not fit Manuel, given their rebuilding situations. While Manuel may like the Washington Nationals, they are linked to names such as Cal Ripken, Jr, Matt Williams, and Randy Knorr. The Cincinnati Reds discussion usually includes Bryan Price, Chris Speier, and Jim Riggleman, with Price, the Reds pitching coach, the early favorite. What those teams have in common are one thing: they're looking for someone younger they can build a future with.
Right or wrong, baseball teams probably are not looking to hire someone who will turn 70 before pitchers and catchers gather for Spring Training. Manuel could fit the bill for a team in need of a Jack McKeon or Davey Johnson-type interim manager when things go south in the middle of the season. Manuel is probably not interested in a Larry Bowa-type mentorship bench coach job, either. Should Manuel take the job offered by the Phillies, they probably would not preclude him from accepting such a position if it comes up.
That is why I expect Manuel to take the Phillies' offer. He may wait and see what is out there (or not out there) but ultimately I think he will accept. It would be nice to have him around. Like the now-79 year-old Dallas Green and only other Phillies World Champion manager around, there will always be a place for him in the Phillies organization.