Love him or hate him, Charlie Manual is back with the Phillies for at least two more seasons. The Phillies and Manual agreed to a 2 year deal with a team option for a third season worth about $3 Million. The sticking point of this contract was the number of years offered to Charlie. The Phillies GM Pat Gillick is contemplating retirement at the end of the 2008 season and has reportedly not wanted to make a new GM have to inherits a manager in the middle of a contract. It looks like that will happen if Pat does indeed retire.
Manual has also decided to retain his entire coaching staff. Jimy Williams brought strategy to the Phillies dugout, Milt Thompson led the hitters to the most run production since 1930, Davie Lopes helped the team have the highest stealing percentage in the NL, and Ramon Henderson are all good choices for returning. Steve Smith and Rich Dubee however may not be. Steve Smith, a late replacement for Art Howe, made many mistakes sending or holding runners on third base. Rich Dubee led a pitching staff that had many injuries (could that be the conditioning program he has them on?) and had the fourth worst ERA (4.73) in the majors.
As for Charlie, you can argue that he costs you games with his lack of strategic thinking and handling of a pitching staff. You could also argue that he kept his team positive and taught them to fight no matter how bad things looked. It will be interesting to see how the Phillies do in 2008 if the position players can continue to score and play defense the way they did in 2007 and if the pitching is upgraded and remains healthy.