The Philadelphia Phillies have given Ryne Sandberg a chance to show his worthiness as a manager and, so far, it appears he is well-suited for the role. It’s often hard to judge performance after of such a short period, but over the last month, there has been a sense of excitement involving the team even though its record says otherwise.
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The lack of a playoff push surely is missed in South Philadelphia, but the promotion of Sandberg after former manager Charlie Manuel was let go, along with the call up of a handful of top prospects for the Phillies, has brought hope. The future of the Phillies appears to center around third baseman Cody Asche and minor-league prospect Maikel Franco. Asche has shown he belongs defensively and offensively, and he seems to have built a great relationship with Sandberg to this point. Franco is the Phillies’ golden boy. He hit 30 home runs in the minors this season but happens to play the same position as Asche. All expectations have the Phillies moving Franco to another position this winter, and it seems first base would be the logical move. This could mean the end of the Ryan Howard era.
The Phillies expect a lot of turnover this off season with the contracts of Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz up and other players expected to be traded. The young players getting experience now will most likely be starters for the 2014 Phillies. Any bit of experience now should be treated as a lesson for the future.
In all, Ryno has done enough to keep the job as Phillies manager for the near future. It is often the case that a Hall of Fame player struggles as a manager because he expects too much from his players; however, Sandberg seems to be cut from another grain. He is a players manager but not in the way that Manuel was. It seems Sandberg is not afraid to make an unpopular decision to get the right result. This is something the loyal Manuel could not do.
Sure, it’s too early to project the Phillies as contenders under Sandberg’s leadership but at least the future appears to be bright. This is going to be a huge transition for the club but the one consistent will be Sandberg demanding 100 percent effort. With such a young team expected for next year, his minor-league roots could work as an advantage.
Hopefully, the Phillies earn some wins over the next two weeks and secure the job for Sandberg. He was thrown into what appeared to be a lost cause. A mostly veteran team with no hope for the postseason is not an ideal situation but Sandberg has balanced the veterans and the youth and has managed to get some results. He has made the most of what he inherited, and I feel the Phillies should give him the chance to keep improving over the next few seasons.