Imagine this: Your boss fires you for incompetence, then asks for your advice a few months later. Probably the first thing you’d say is: “Well, you should not have fired me then.”
That’s where things are in the relationship between current Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and former manager Charlie Manuel. Amaro fired Manuel in August and rehired him this month to be a “senior advisor.” For all of the good things Amaro said on the day he let Manuel go, there is a fundamental disconnect in the way the two saw the performance of the team.
Amaro was not shy in saying that the Phillies had enough talent to win in 2013. Manuel felt that Amaro should have given him more weapons.
So what we have here is a hiring that’s really nothing more than window dressing for that large group of Phillies fans who still hold Manuel in high esteem. The love for Charlie is understandable since he was the guy who gave them their first World Championship since Dallas Green managed the 1980 Phillies. Yet, the time since that 2008 season is an eternity in baseball, and Manuel’s loyalty to guys like Jimmy Rollins backfired on him in both 2012 and 2013.
Rollins has underperformed given his contract extension, and his leadership came under question when he jogged numerous times down to first base on ground balls to the infield. Yet Manuel, who disciplined Rollins for such behavior earlier in his career, turned the other way in recent years. That, among other things, peeved Amaro.
Expect Manuel to offer Amaro plenty of advice in 2014, but also expect it to go in one ear and out the other. The Phillies are keeping Manuel around as an advisor, but he’ll be no more than an ambassador to the fans — and that’s some expensive window dressing right there.