Gillick says Manuel's job is safe

Gillick says Manuel's job is safe

PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Charlie Manuel won't be dismissed this season, general manager Pat Gillick said on a Philadelphia radio station on Friday.

In an appearance on the Jody McDonald show on WPEN 950-AM on Friday, the Phils' GM gave Manuel the strongest public endorsement yet this season. Asked if he saw any scenario for a change, Gillick said, "No, not at all."

"As we're sitting here today, Charlie's our manager," Gillick said. "With the things that have happened over the course of the season, even though he's the most public figure, the responsibility for the way the team has played doesn't only fall on the manager, the coaches and the playing personnel, it falls on the management of the club."

Gillick had offered a lukewarm endorsement on June 18 when asked about Manuel's status. At that time, Gillick said he thought the skipper was doing a good job. The GM has repeatedly said he likes the way Manuel motivates players.

Gillick made those comments on the radio in the afternoon and wasn't available to local media later in the day. Attempts to reach him were unsuccessful. A club official said Gillick was in meetings with members of the Clearwater, Fla., staff.

Gillick offered another "not at all," when asked if the Phils had any interest in Shea Hillenbrand, who was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on Wednesday and dealt to the Giants late Friday night. Gillick said the team has both a short-term and long-term plan to contend, meaning he believes the club isn't in need of serious rebuilding.

"I'm going to be listening the next 10 days or so," Gillick said. "Probably a lot of phone time here. If you're talking all the time, you're not listening. I like to listen to what other clubs have to say. I may inititate another call, but it's a situation where you have an idea who you match up with and who has players that may make you better, and you go from there."

Gillick didn't need a reminder that the Phils are 5 1/2 games behind the Reds in the National League Wild Card standings, and trailed eight teams in the race. Still, he wouldn't commit to whether the club is a buyer or a seller leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.

This weekend's series against the Braves will likely go a long way toward determining that.

"I think you have to have a short- and a long-range plan, and we have a plan for both those in place," Gillick said. "We're going to try and do both. I think you can. There are players who can help you now and in the future, if you make a deal for a player that can help you now but could be around for a while."

The GM said he thought this season was "disappointing" overall, but sees the potential for improvement. He also knows that the Phillies likely will need help from other teams.

"A lot depends on how you play and how others play," Gillick said. "At the moment, there's a lot of teams in front of us in the Wild Card. You have to monitor on a daily basis, but you get an idea of where you are not from the standings, but how you're team is playing. And we have been pretty inconsistent. If we play consistently the next 11 or 12 games, that may be a sign that we are playing together."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.