Jon Heyman has a news nugget in his latest column — Charlie Manuel will, in fact, be back at the helm in Philly next year — but I don’t think anyone ever doubted that. If they did, the recent run has put any such thoughts to rest, or should have. Say what you want about the 2012 Phillies, but if they fall short of the playoffs, it’s not Charlie Manuel’s fault.
The article is more interesting for the Ryne Sandberg talk. It comes up each year, but this year it’s earlier than usual: when is Ryne Sandberg going to get his shot at managing?
Heyman says that Sandberg is so well-liked in the Phillies front office that some people even thought that, rather than extend Manuel’s contract into 2013, they should have just given the job to Sandberg. Ruben Amaro shoots that down hard, but it’s no secret that Heyman knows people in the Philly front office. He tends to get scoops there.
In any event, yeah, it would seem that Sandberg is up next in Philly. I’d just not expect to hear anything more about it than what Heyman has to say, because baseball has a really bad history with heir apparent managers. Ray Knight in Cincinnati is one. The Yankees naming Billy Martin Bob Lemon’s successor mere days after Martin was fired in 1978 was another.
Baseball is a lot like the late night talk show business. You just can’t have a well-run operation with the next guy obviously and officially waiting in the wings to take over.
UPDATE: People are telling Will Carroll this too, by the way. From his Monday column:
Word out of Philly is that Charlie Manuel will retire after next season. Ryne Sandberg may shift to bench coach in order to make an easy transition …