Ryne Sandberg did not do a great job managing the Phillies. I think that gets stated too much, and probably over-stated by some fans, but it's true. He made plenty of in-game blunders, and he was a terrible communicator. The team played poor fundamental baseball and didn't always seem ready to play. He mismanaged some relievers, and starters too. He did not always seem to have his players backs in fights with umpires, or when they were hit by pitches. Ryne Sandberg's tenure in Philadelphia won't be measured as a success by any means we have to do so- including wins and losses. This is accentuated by the fact that he followed Charlie Manuel, a beloved manager in Philadelphia who won a championship, and was loved by his players.
The attacks on Sandberg were often times over-stated though. When he benched Jimmy Rollins last Spring Training, or Ryan Howard last season, he was right to do so. The blow up fight with Ken Giles in the dugout recently was also totally justifiable on Sandberg's side. Chase Utley did recently show up Sandberg's pitching coach, and honestly, Chase should use some of that negative energy on himself and his bumbling teammates. Sure, Sandberg does over-use Justin De Fratus, but a lot of that problem is De Fratus simply being unable to get guys out. You can go through, and bail Sandberg out for many of the problems that the fan base got mad at him for. This doesn't change that he wasn't a good manager- both of these things can be true. His bad track record is well documented, as is the fact that he was blamed for a lot of things that frankly were petty and stupid things to pick at him for.
We don't know whether Sandberg was pushed out or actually quit, and taking the club's word that he quit on his own isn't worth bothering to do. We do know this though- the value of pushing Sandberg out at this point is overstated. No one can manage a team carrying around players like Sean O'Sullivan, Dom Brown, or at this point, Chase Utley. Winning managers like Joe Torre, and yes, Charlie Manuel, are often times terrible in-game managers. "Players" managers like Terry Francona win championships, and so do managers known as being tough on players, like Tony La Russa. Francona failed in Philadelphia just as bad as Larry Bowa, a no-nonsense manager who is universally regarded as not having been great here. While Sandberg is beat up for a dugout fight with Giles, John Farrell in Boston is known as a solid manager, and he recently had a similar incident. Managers are wildly over-valued by many fans, and the expectations of what they can do are often over-stated. Managers will make some in-game mistakes, that is a baked in part of baseball that I accept in any manager. You expect them to have players ready to play the game right, put together the right, best line-up they can, and try to run a clubhouse where the problems don't spill over into public, let alone on the field.
Sandberg did not succeed by my measure, but I'm not sure anyone else could have, or can now. The roster this team has right now has no talent, and still won't probably through this season. The players in the locker room aren't accountable for their own failings, and publicly complained when he would try and sit them at times in the past. Players went on the DL without even telling the manager.
The Phillies have both a talent and culture problem with their roster. Clearly Sandberg could not fix that. Unless the organization commits now to clear the locker room and front office of some of the other sources of their culture problem, it will be very hard to move this team forward.