Charlie Manuel has become the first managerial casualty of the 2013 season. The Philadelphia Phillies dismissed Manuel today after nearly nine seasons in the dugout. Manuel guided the Phillies to five consecutive NL East titles between 2007 and 2011, a World Series title in 2008 and a NL pennant in 2009.
But the Phillies slipped in 2012 and slipped further this season. The Phillies were 48-48 at the All-Star Break, but have gone 5-19 since and are 20 and a half games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
Succeeding Manuel is Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg. After managing the Phillies Triple AAA affiliate in Lehigh Valley in 2011 and 2012, Sandberg was promoted to big club as the third base coach and was widely being groomed as Manuel's eventual successor. However, the Phillies decline accelerated that process.
This decline isn't all Manuel's fault. Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley have been hurt, Cole Hamels has been ineffective, Jimmy Rollins is getting older and Jonathan Papelbon is just plain annoying. Domonic Brown has been one of the Phillies' few bright spots in 2013.
2013 is pretty much awash for the Phils. It'll be interesting to see how the club looks under Sandberg's stewardship in 2014. Sandberg came up to the bigs as a Phil, but was traded to the Cubs as a throw in in the Larry Bowa-Ivan DeJesus deal. He had long wanted to manage the Cubs and had managed in their minor league system. However, Sandberg was passed over in favor of Mike Quade and when Theo Epstein took over the club in 2012 he stated he only wanted a manager who had big league managerial or coaching experience. At the time, Sandberg had none and Epstein chose Dale Sveum.
Now that Sandberg is a big league manager, it is only a matter of time that he will one day manage the Cubs.
As for Manuel, unless he finds other gig as a big league skipper, finishes his managerial career with exactly 1,000 wins.
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