It seems the sentiment here and elsewhere is that re-signing Manuel is a good thing. He is flawed, but he got this team to the playoffs for the first time in fourteen years. Particularly this year, he faced much adversity in injuries to key players and intense hatred by the media and much of the fanbase. Through it all, he was even keel and met with success that no Phillies manager has had since Jim Fregosi.
But, that being said, I'm not thrilled about re-signing Manuel. I agree that it appears that he does an amazing job managing personalities and keeping the team steady. He gets the best out of hitters. But, I think he has flaws that shouldn't be glossed over, ones that are significant. Given them, I'm not happy about seeing these flaws occur again and again under his new contract extension:
First, he can't seem to get his team ready in April. Whatever is going on, and I have no idea what it is, it's consistent despite changes in the players. A better April would have been a season changer in each of his seasons as manager.
Second, he unnecessarily goes to players who everyone knows are not going to succeed. Jose Mesa 2007 is exhibit one here. Abraham Nunez 2006, Arthur Rhodes 2006, Rheal Cormier 2005, and Endy Chavez 2005 are others. The amazing thing is that Manuel uses players like this in situations that matter.
Third, while he seems to know how to get the best out of hitters, he doesn't have that ability with pitchers. That should probably be the province of the pitching coach, but Manuel should be the one making sure that happens, and it obviously hasn't.
Fourth, the success the Phillies had this year has been over-attributed to Manuel. No doubt, the Phillies won because they played well down the stretch, and part of that is Manuel. But they also won the NL East because the Mets failed in historic fashion. For all of the praise heaped on the Phillies and Manuel, his leadership this year got the Phillies just one more win than they had the first year he managed the team. And yet, he still hasn't gotten the team to 90 wins.
The bottom line is that Manuel is a good manager who keeps his teams competitive. That's a lot more than can be said about a lot of other managers, including Manuel's predecessor. But, there has to be someone out there who can manage personalities well, get the most out of hitters and pitchers, and manage in-game moves intelligently. I am confident that such a person exists, and we shouldn't settle for less.