Changing of the Guard in Philadelphia: Charlie Manuel Out

It was announced today that Charlie Manuel is out as the manager of the Phillies.

It was announced today that Charlie Manuel is out as the manager of the Phillies.

Charlie Manuel is out as the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. Manuel managed almost nine seasons in Philadelphia and set a franchise record for wins. He coached the team to five consecutive division titles and two World Series appearances with one win.

Manuel and General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr are characterizing this as an understanding from both sides.

Regardless of the circumstances, Manuel will never again wear his #41 Phillies jersey at Citizen’s Bank Park.

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Phillies Ink Chase Utley to a Two-Year Extension

Chase Utley is batting .277 this season for the Phillies.

Chase Utley is batting .277 this season for the Phillies.

When the July trade deadline rolled around for Major League Baseball, Chase Utley was one of the many names people expected the Phillies to dangle. Those speculations did not come to fruition as General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. characterized Utley as a “Phillie for life.”

CSNPhilly first reported that the two sides had agreed to a contract extension last night during the Phillies lost to the Cubs. Utley did not start in that game. Reportedly the two sides agreed upon a two year extension worth around $27 million with at least one option.

The move shows the organization’s commitment to Utley, but it undoubtedly comes with some risks.

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Papelbon ‘Didn’t Come Here for This’

Could Jonathan Papelbon's second season in Philadelphia be his last?

Could Jonathan Papelbon’s second season in Philadelphia be his last?

On Sunday before the Phillies 12-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers, closer Jonathan Papelbon sat down Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Papelbon is undeniably one of Philadelphia’s more outspoken athletes and despite his short time with the team, he does not seem shy about making his opinions known.

Papelbon told Zolecki that he “definitely didn’t come here for this,” in response to the team’s recent play.

The comments come as the team is in the midst of an  8-game losing streak that may signal the end of the team’s postseason hopes for 2013.

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Hold or Fold for the Phillies?

Can Ruben Amaro Jr. swing a deal to get the Phillies in contention?

Can Ruben Amaro Jr. swing a deal to get the Phillies in contention?

It is just under three weeks until the MLB non-waiver trade deadline and rumors are swirling all around the Phillies’ clubhouse. With the team currently sitting at 45-47, it is hard to definitively peg them as buyers or sellers at this point.

Should a team that appears to have a quickly closing window blow things up now, or try to search for the missing piece(s) that could give them one more run at a World Series title?

That question will soon be answered because it is safe to say that after July 31, this Phillies roster should look somewhat different.

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He’s Back: Phillies Ink Jimmy Rollins to Three Year Deal

Jimmy Rollins is a .272 career hitter with 170 homeruns.

He has been Ruben Amaro Jr.’s top priority for the last few weeks now. Amaro has set a precedent as General Manager of the Phillies of always getting his man. He kept that trend going Saturday as news broke that the Phillies had re-signed Jimmy Rollins to a three year deal worth $33 million with a vesting option for a fourth season in Philadelphia.
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Eagles vs Phillies. Eagles Acquire Asomugha and Phillies nab Pence

Nnamdi Asomugha signed a 5 year $60 million deal with the Eagles.

Tonight the biggest matchup in Philly has not been between the Phillies and an out-of-town opponent. It has been between the Eagles and the Phillies. Both franchises have acquired players that will put the teams in positions to perhaps do some big things in the immediate future.

This afternoon, Twitter, Facebook and pretty much every smart phone in the tri state area, exploded with the news that the Eagles somehow maneuvered themselves into the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes, that seemed monopolized by the Cowboys and Jets, and were able to sign the most coveted free agent to a 5 year $60 million dollar deal with $25 million guaranteed. Asomugha signing with the Eagles is a clear-cut sign that the franchise feels ready to compete right now and are going all in on winning a Superbowl this year. Asomugha puts them into a position where they can either boast the best trio of corner backs in the league with Asomugha, Samuel and Cromartie or the team can look to trade Samuel to acquire another piece that they need perhaps at linebacker.

Hunter Pence is coming to Philadelphia in a 4 for 1 deal.

While news was being made in Bethlehem at a press conference with Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid and GM Howie Roseman, which was conspicuously scheduled at the same time as the start of the Phillies game, Phillies’ GM, Ruben Amaro Jr, was planning his next move. As the Phillies were racking up runs left and right against Pittsburgh news broke that Hunter Pence was acquired by the Phillies for Singleton, Cosart and two players to be named. The Phillies are acquiring the right handed bat that many think they so desperately need to balance the lineup and to position them to compete with the impressive pitching staff in San Francisco. The move shows the aggressive nature of Ruben Amaro Jr. who even with the best record in the league, knows that he cannot allow a minor hole in the lineup to hold this team up from winning a World Series. The crafty Amaro was able to pull off the deal without dealing away either Vance Worley or Domonic Brown and Pence was attractive due to the fact that they control him beyond this season. If there were any doubts about whether or not this was a World Series team before this move, there should be no doubts now.

Ruben Amaro Jr has gotten Charlie Manuel the right-handed bat he wanted.

These two major moves on the same day is a testament to the promising era of Philly sports we are currently in. Realistically, the city has three teams within reach of a championship run. The Phillies are there. With this acquisition, it is championship or bust for the Phillies. Nothing short will do. The Eagles are all of a sudden one of the deepest and most athletic teams in the NFC and they are in an interesting position to continue adding to this team. The Flyers have undergone major changes but judging by the way last season ended, they were warranted and it seems like they still view themselves as viable contenders. The only team without a title in their sights is the Sixers but that is not to say that they are not headed in the right direction because they certainly are. Smile Philly. A city that was once seen as a destination that no player wanted to play for, is now becoming a premiere destination for many sports. Look at the players recently acquired the last few years for Philly teams; Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, Ilya Bryzgalov, Chris Pronger, Danny Briere, Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Asante Samuel. The bottom line is that all of a sudden, Philly is an attractive destination and it will be interesting to see how long that lasts.

Head Coach Andy Reid and Eagles GM Howie Roseman kept negotiations with Asomugha quiet until the deal was announced.

Tonight was the battle of the GM’s in Philly and these moves were two aggressive moves made by two aggressive franchises.