Not even a year after his bizarre departure from the Phillies organization, former manager Charlie Manuel has returned to the team he led to the 2008 World Series in a front office role. After not being considered for one of the vacant managerial roles around the MLB, there has been speculation that, if Manuel was interested, the team would welcome him back in some sort of capacity.
Considering the nature of the end of his tenure in Philadelphia, it would have come as little surprise if Manuel decided to stay away from the game for a year or pursue a similar role elsewhere around the league. However, early Wednesday afternoon, 97.5 The Fanatic’s Brian Startare reported that the team and Manuel had reached an agreement on accepting such a position within the organization. Hours later, the Phillies beat team along with the rest of the baseball media fleshed out the report and clarified the nature of Manuel’s new role in the Phillies front-office.
Source says Charlie Manuel is back with the Phillies, as @brianstartare said. Manuel will be a senior advisor to the GM.
— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) January 15, 2014
It will be interesting to see the sort of impact Manuel has on the team’s approach to player evaluation, acquisition, and if some of his personnel tendencies return with him. It’s no secret that Manuel and Ruben Amaro Jr. did not always see eye-to-eye as far as the general manager’s decisions, a fact made clear by the peculiar nature of Manuel’s farewell press conference. In addition, current manager Ryne Sandberg, despite the small sample size, seems to be moving away from the free-swinging offensive approach that Manuel’s Phillies teams were notorious for.
Whether or not the move can bring the Phillies out of their two-year free fall that has seen one of the best rosters in the league turn into a bumbling mess is tough to determine. If nothing else, Manuel is as endeared a figure within the Phillies organization and I can only imagine the team and a majority of the front office will be happy to talk shop with the former manager and see what he can bring to the table in a new capacity.