"I'll tell you this, all right? Rich Dubee has meant a lot to us," Manuel said. "He's definitely been a part of our success here. He's a tremendous worker. He's a great communicator. I totally trust him. Sometimes my thinking about baseball is different from other people's. I see some pitchers we've run through here. And we had them in 55, 60 games. And we've had pitchers who leave us. I'm talking about quite a few, and they'll leave us and never show up in the big leagues [again]. And we got mileage out of them. And I look right back at Dubee."
Dubee was promoted to big league pitching coach following the 2004 season, shortly after Manuel was named manager. The two have become extremely close.
"I lean on Rich Dubee quite a bit," Manuel said. "You've probably heard me say that before. We communicate on pitching decisions. He's a huge part of what we do here. I think to be a leader, you've got to delegate jobs to your coaches. He's a tremendous pitching coach, but he's also a team player. He's all about our organization. He's all about winning. It's all about us getting better. He breaks down scouting reports. He organizes our Spring Training. He does about everything you can possibly do. And I'll stand behind him thick or thin or until I die."
While Dubee has been a constant in the Manuel era, there has been more change at hitting coach. Milt Thompson had that role in 2005, and was replaced by Greg Gross. This season, the Phillies have two hitting coaches, Steve Henderson and Wally Joyner. And Manuel doesn't buy the theory that coaches get too much credit when things are going well and too much blame when they don't.
"If you're successful and you're part of it, it's definitely got to hit in your area somewhere," Manuel said. "I was a hitting coach before I was a manager, and I thought I was a [darn] good hitting coach. And if you go back and look at my Minor League teams when I was a hitting coach, I think I was good. And I wanted to be good. And I wanted my hitters 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. I demand success. And Dubee definitely helps us fill that bill."
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.