Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Manuel has managed talent, but few HoFers

By Matthew Osborne

An interesting question was raised on the radio this week about how many Hall of Famers Charlie Manuel has had the pleasure of managing in his Phillies tenure, versus how many Dallas Green had in the early 1980s.
Green had Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and Pete Rose as a pretty good triple threat Hall of Fame core.
(Yes, we’re going to count Rose here for these purposes. He’s not banned for steroids or anything that helped his performance on the field. If he were named eligible tomorrow, he’d be in next year.)
Meanwhile, how many has Manuel had?

There is a great debate in Philadelphia about the job Manuel has done, and most folks either pander to him because of the 2008 title or rip him for not winning more titles. Manuel has had the talent, but is it Hall of Fame talent?

Roy Halladay is the only strong HoF candidate who has played for Manuel in this era, save for a half-year of Pedro Martinez and a cameo by Jim Thome.

Chase Utley looked like he was a lock for Cooperstown a few years ago, but his decline started earlier than anyone expected. Utley has 199 homers, 739 RBIS, a .288 average and a career WAR of 53.3.

In comparison to contemporary Jeff Kent, though, it could be tough for Chase to make it. Kent had 377 homers, 1,518 RBIs, a .290 average and 2,461 hits. He was MVP of the league once to boot, but even Kent is not necessarily a stone-cold lock Hall of Famer himself.

Oddly, Utley has a higher career than Kent (51.9) despite all those numbers and Kent playing many more years.

If Utley needs a road map to the Hall, he can just check in with coach Ryne Sandberg, who is in line to be the next Phillies manager. (And yes, Dallas Green had him for 13 games in 1981, but that doesn’t count.)

Sandberg had 282 homers, 1,061 RBIs, a .285 average, 10 all-star games, nine gold gloves and an MVP. Those numbers seemed reachable for Utley not long ago, but now they seem a lot tougher with his health issues.

Then there’s Ryan Howard.

The Big Piece was one of the fastest to 300 home runs (where he stands right now) and he has an MVP and some big numbers to his credit.

But he’ll probably have to average 40 homers per year over the next five years to make it to 500 before he is washed up. Can he do it? It depends on that Achilles heel of his (hitting lefties, I mean) – and yes, his foot will be a concern as well.

Jimmy Rollins? Nice numbers for a shortstop but no way he goes to Cooperstown.

Cliff Lee? Still has work left and he’s 33.

Cole Hamels? Gotta win 20 in a season before we can talk HoF, but slight shot-in- the-dark potential later on.

So that leaves just Halladay.

At the end of the day, then, Manuel won a World Series with no Hall of Famers, but then again, it’s tough to find lock Hall potential among many of the recent World Series champions outside of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Albert Pujols.

(Manny’s going to roid himself out. Big Papi, maybe? Andy Pettitte, maybe? Jorge Posada is better than you think but not a lock. Too soon to decide on Robinson Cano.)

Manuel has had talent, yes, but it’s not like he’s managing the Big Red Machine. He won a World Series with a Pedro Feliz-Greg Dobbs platoon at third.

Enough said.

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