There is a decent-sized contingent of Philadelphia Phillies‘ loyalists who wanted Charlie Manuel replaced after last season. Heck, there is a rather meaty group of fans who never wanted him hired in the first place. But, ask yourselves this question: What would Ryne Sandberg have done with this roster this season?
Manuel has admitted in the past that he had to adjust to the National League game in 2005. It can also be truthfully admitted by those who still support him that some in-game strategic decisions have remained debatable through the years. But, he will always be fully connected to the glorious 2008 World Series’ season and continues to have his thumb on the pulse of clubhouse.
The expanding issue that this team has faced since Ruben Amaro, Jr. took over for Pat Gillick as general manager in the fall of 2008 is the strength of the roster. Every manager can only do so much with what he’s been given during any one season.
Amaro can be given credit for attempting to ‘go for it’ during the 2009-2011 seasons, but clearly the past two campaigns have been limited by what surely seems to have been a failed strategy set. The belief that a major portion of the payroll should have be cordoned off for pitching and that certain big name positional players all deserved large long-term contracts has proven to be wrong.
If Sandberg would have been elevated to the skipper’s job during the past off-season, it’s plausible to think that he might have the team playing at, or slightly above, .500 right now. However, the reality is that the Phillies’ roster isn’t deep enough to compete for the division title and in all likelihood doesn’t have the endurance needed to participate in a two-headed Wild Card race this season.
It still may be understandable to make Sandberg the team’s manager at some point during this calendar year. But, he will face most of the same challenges in the near future that Manuel is currently handling.
With whatever adjustments Amaro is able to make heading into next season, the task of any Phillies’ dugout boss will likely remain vexing.