Manuel doesn't want contract to distract Phils
Manager expects extension soon, discusses lineup options
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel says it is a matter of time before he works out a contract extension, and he doesn't want the issue to become a distraction for his club with Spring Training quickly approaching.
Manuel, in the final year of his contract, briefly addressed his future on Monday during a radio appearance on 610 WIP.
"My contract, we put something out there and we know exactly where we're at," Manuel said during the interview. "I think it's just a matter of time.
"I don't want my contract to be any kind of distraction to our team or our organization. I have a contract that runs through the season, and I don't think I should let my contract interfere with what we do."
Winning the World Series, the veteran manager said, is his No. 1 priority.
Manuel, 67, noted that he would like to manage at least three more seasons. At the Phillies' helm since 2005, Manuel has guided Philadelphia to four straight National League East titles, plus the 2008 World Series crown.
"I know as good as I sit here I could manage at least three more years," Manuel said. "From there on out, I think it would be a situation where I could sit down with my general manager [Ruben Amaro Jr.] and [Pat] Gillick, and they could look me in the eye and tell me if they think I'm getting too old or I don't have the energy or I don't have a life. At the same time ... I think I am a Phillie."
The Phils are 544-428 under Manuel the past six seasons.
As for the team, Manuel shed some light on how to replace Jayson Werth in right field and who could hit fifth in the lineup. Werth signed as a free agent with the Nationals in December.
One possibility to hit in Werth's old slot is Jimmy Rollins. But Manuel also talked about using his shortstop in the leadoff role.
"First of all, I think Jimmy could hit first, second, third, fifth, sixth or even fourth for a couple of days," Manuel said. "Listen, I take a lot of pride in our hitting, and we're going to find somebody to hit fifth. We have some good candidates. I guarantee you we're going to get some production from that spot.
"I have always looked at Jimmy as a leadoff guy," Manuel said. "I think Jimmy is a very intelligent player. I'm not saying [Shane] Victorino won't lead off for us. He would be our next option."
Ben Francisco and Domonic Brown are the candidates to play right field. Another alternative is John Mayberry, who will also be asked to play some first base in Spring Training.