So far, Ryne Sandberg has the “interim” tag on him as the current Philadelphia Phillies manager, but he’s sure talking like one for next season.
Sandberg said it would be “counterproductive” to bring Ryan Howard back for this season and also suggested that center fielder Ben Revere might be better off in left than in center next year. Those are words one would not expect from an interim manager.
GM Ruben Amaro Jr. hasn’t said whether Sandberg will be manager next year or not, but Sandberg is looking like he’s here for the long term and it’s hard to argue with him. The Phillies have been a winning, energized team under Sandberg, who has made all of the right moves in the field.
His vision for the future seems sound, too, especially if the Phillies can sign a free-agent, right-handed hitting, outfielder. There are more of those out there on the market than any other position, and signing one with pop in his bat will not only serve to balance out a left-handed hitting heavy Phillies lineup but facilitate the move of Revere to left.
When Revere got hurt, he was hitting .305 and provided some speed at the top of the lineup. What he did not provide was a dependable arm, and playing in left could go a long way in hiding that arm.
Sandberg also makes a lot of sense about Howard. Although Howard has “lost 15 to 20 pounds” (according to Amaro, at least) in his rehab from knee problems, Sandberg would like for that workout regimen to be completed in order for Howard to be a viable 2014 contributor. Sandberg said it didn’t make sense to bring a Howard at, say, 90 percent, back for maybe 10 games when they can get a 100 percent Howard back for 2014.
These are sound insights ex-manager Charlie Manuel did not provide and all the more reason for Amaro to change the interim tag to permanent before long.