Charlie Manuel's contract as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies is set to expire at the end of the 2011 season. With Spring Training just weeks away, the Phillies have yet to finalize an extension for their skipper.
No manager likes to enter a season with their status up in the air. It can raise questions about why a manager is not yet re-signed and can sometimes even undermine a manager's authority in the clubhouse.
In the case of Charlie Manuel, the Phillies surely must want him back. A winning percentage of .560 over six years with the team, four division titles, two National League pennants and a World Series championship should be reasons enough for an extension.
The only feat Manuel has yet to accomplish is winning a second World Series title. If the Phillies are trying to squeeze more than that out of him, they may have to hook Manuel up to an IV.
Besides the winning record, Manuel has many intangible qualities that make him a perfect fit for this franchise. The players love him. They play hard not just for the love of the game, but for their love and respect of Manuel.
Because of his reputation as a player's manager, other major leaguers want to come to Philadelphia. Just ask Cliff Lee, who turned down more money and additional years to come back and play for Manuel in 2011.
The fans love him, too. They love him not only because he brought winning baseball back to Philadelphia, but also for his kind, approachable attitude. Fans can walk right up to him and engage in a conversation.
Manuel genuinely respects and appreciates the fans, treating them as equals.
The Phillies should take that to heart and give the same respect and appreciation back to Manuel. Whether it is two or three years, give the man what he wants. He's earned it.