LAS VEGAS - The agent for Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is scheduled to arrive at baseball's winter meetings today, and one of his first appointments will be with Ruben Amaro Jr., the team's new general manager.
"One of my priorities is to get Charlie the contract extension he deserves," Pat Rooney said in a telephone interview last night.
Manuel, who led the Phils to their second World Series title in franchise history in October, is signed through 2009 with a team option for 2010. He is hoping to have the option guaranteed and another year added to the deal.
Framework for such a deal is in place. The two sides have talked about an extension for 2011 for several weeks but have not been able to reach agreement.
Rooney was asked to characterize the negotiations.
"Slow," he said, sounding frustrated. "We had hoped to have had this done before now. We hope to get it done this week. Charlie wants to manage another three to five years and wants to be treated fairly. He'd like to retire a Phillie."
Manuel, who will turn 65 in January, is slated to make $1.5 million next season. His option for 2010 is worth $1.7 million. It is believed Manuel is seeking a salary approaching $3 million for 2011. That would put him on a tier just below Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella and Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, whose contracts average more than $3 million per season. Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre and St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa average more than $4 million per season.
Amaro did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Manuel, who on Saturday was honored in his hometown of Buena Vista, Va., will attend this week's meetings at the Bellagio hotel. He will no doubt receive many handshakes for winning the World Series. Before the week is over, it is likely his contract will be guaranteed through 2011, as well.
In addition to working on Manuel's extension this week, Amaro will seek to fill out the Phils' pitching staff with a starter (negotiations with Jamie Moyer are ongoing) and a reliever. The Phils also would like to add a leftfielder with some pop as they look to replace free agent Pat Burrell, who is unlikely to be re-signed.
The meetings end Thursday.
So, just how interested are the Phillies in signing free agents Raul Ibanez, Derek Lowe and their own Jamie Moyer? Check out Inquirer baseball columnist Jim Salisbury's daily updates from the Las Vegas winter meetings at the Inquirer's Phillies Zone blog at http://go.philly.com/pzone.