When Charlie Manuel was let go by the Phillies yesterday, many speculated whether he has managed his final game in the big leagues. He turns 70 in January, so that’s a legitimate possibility. Still, one of his former players, Jayson Werth, told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com that he would love to see him manage the Nationals next season.
“Oh, of course,” Werth said this afternoon. “I don’t know if he fits into the organization’s plan or whatever. But I mean, I love playing for the guy.”
It’s no surprise to hear this from Werth, as he played under Manuel in Philadelphia from 2007-2010 and has credited him for becoming the player he is today. In fact, he called Manuel “the best manager I ever played for, nothing against Davey.”
Manuel is one year younger than the retiring Davey Johnson, but that’s probably not the kind of youth the Nationals have in mind for their next manager. One would imagine they would like their next hire to be a long-term option. Then again, we never thought we’d see Johnson manage in the majors again, so stranger things have happened.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.