Manuel on Dubee: ‘I’ll Stand Behind Him Until I Die’
PHILADELPHIA—Charlie Manuel’s not one to get wrapped up in he-said, she-said.
But the Phillies manager apparently isn’t about to let anyone bash his pitching coach.
Manuel on Saturday offered his first public comments in response to the harsh criticism levied on Rich Dubee by MLB TV analyst Mitch Williams, who said the Phillies should reconsider Dubee’s employment status after the struggles of the staff and ups and downs of Roy Halladay in particular.
Manuel wasn’t indecisive with his defense of Dubee.
“I don’t want to get involved in what people say, but at the same time I want to tell you this, alright?” Manuel began a few hours before Phillies-Marlins Game 3 at Citizens Bank Park today. “I’ve been here for nine years. I’ve had two pitching coaches in the big leagues. I’ve had two good pitching coaches. Rich Dubee has been a lot to us. He has definitely been a part of our success here.”
Manuel specifically touted Dubee’s work ethic, organization skills and overall footprint on the Phillies organizational procedures, saying, for instance, that Dubee orchestrates their spring training plans.
“He is a tremendous worker,” Manuel said. “He’s a great communicator. I totally trust him.”
Manuel was asked to name a player whose successes could be tied to Dubee’s mentorship.
“He’s helped probably every one of them out here,” Manuel said. “Why should I say one?”
Manuel also said he believes that the number of recent hurlers that flashed greatness in Philadelphia only to become flashes in the pan after leaving vouches for Dubee’s abilities.
“I think sometimes, my thinking about baseball is a little different from other people’s,” Manuel said. “I see some pitchers that we’ve run through here, and we’ve had them in 55, 60 games, something like that. We’ve had pitchers that leave us, I’m talking about quite a few and never show up in the big leagues, and we got mileage out of ‘em, and I look right back at Dubee.”
Manuel didn’t name names, but Vance Worley and J.A. Happ certainly come to mind. (As do Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge, but their stumbles are most closely linked to injuries and age.)
Worley dazzled in 2011 for an 11-3 mark and 3.02 ERA, and fell one team win shy of the most consecutive starts won by the Phillies since Steve Carlton in 1972. Since being shipped to Minnesota in the Ben Revere trade this offseason, he’s compiled an 0-4 mark 7.22 ERA.
Happ went 14-5 with a 3.11 ERA over four years with the Phillies through the summer of 2010, before heading to Houston in the Roy Oswalt deal and later to Toronto in a massive swap of marginal talent. He’s had a 23-32 mark and 4.76 ERA since.
Manuel said he’s entrusted Dubee with a significant bit of responsibility, and thinks deservedly so.
“I think to be a leader you’ve got to delegate jobs to your coaches, and things like that,” Manuel said. “I lean on Rich Dubee quite a bit, you’ve probably heard me say that before. We play a part, and we communicate on pitching decisions that we make. He’s a tremendous communicator. He does a good job with our pitchers. Like I said, he’s a huge part of what we do here.”
Williams, who spent three seasons as the Phillies closer until 1993, when he sorta kinda blew the World Series, said he believes the staff’s rocky start this year was caused by preparation and mechanical issues that were apparent in the spring and should’ve been fixed by the pitching coach.
Manuel disagrees – as he did with the notion that position coaches are often too largely praised for a team’s successes and unfairly bashed for their struggles.
“I think if you sit there and you’re successful, if you’re part of it, it’s definitely gotta hit in your area somewhere,” Manuel said. “I was a hitting coach before I became a manager, and I thought I was a damn good hitting coach. And if you go back and look through my minor league teams and see what they hit and everything, I was a hitting coach on all those teams. I think I was good, and I think I wanted to be good, and I think I wanted my players to be the best hitters in baseball, and I want our pitchers to be the best pitchers in baseball, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I demand good players, and I demand success. Dubee definitely helps us fill that bill.”
As for the ultimate question – is Dubee’s job in jeopardy? – don’t count on it.
“I’ll stand behind him thick or thin, until I die,” Manuel said.