Klentak: Manuel can provide spark for offense

Andrew Porter
August 13, 2019 - 3:34 pm

The Phillies are 2.0 games back in the NL Wildcard with 44 games to play and they're not giving up. On Tuesday, the team fired hitting coach John Mallee and named Charlie Manuel as the new hitting coach. 

Matt Klentak spoke about the change on Tuesday afternoon during a press conference. 

"The reason we did this today is because we have 44 games to play," Klentak explained. "We are two games out of the playoffs. We are not buried and we are not out. It makes sense for us to try something different. We are very fortunate we have Charlie Manuel as a colleague here, who is willing to step in and do it."

The Phillies have struggled in 2019, recently falling to 60-58 after dropping five of their last six games. Offensively, the Phils are just 24th in MLB with a .245 batting average and 23rd in MLB with 149 homers. 

Klentak says he doesn't believe Manuel will wave a magic wand and make things better, but he can bring a new energy to the club. 

"I want to make clear, I don't think there is a silver bullet here," Klentak said. "What I do think Charlie can do is bring an energy level, a love and a passion for hitting, a looseness, a confidence and a different message to our hitters that I think can be very helpful for the next 44 games."

When asked about Manuel's presence potentially undermining manager Gabe Kapler, Klentak said, "This is not a role that is likely to extend beyond 2019."

Manuel, 75, managed the Phillies from 2005-2013 going 780-636 and 27-19 in the playoffs, winning a World Series in 2008. 

Related: Report: Kapler remains 'beloved by front office'

After his tenure as manager, Manuel has remained with the Phillies organization as a senior advisor to the general manager. 

Manuel served as the hitting coach for the Cleveland Indians from 1988 to 1989 and from 1994 to 1999, before managing the club from 2000-2002. 

Manuel is well liked by all of his former players, including Jimmy Rollins who returned to the Phillies in January as an advisor and part-time television commentator.