LAS VEGAS - It was just over a year ago that the Phillies let Charlie Manuel dangle until the waning days of the regular season before deciding to bring him back for 2008.

That culminated in a parade down Broad Street. So the Phillies formalized the expected yesterday at the winter meetings, announcing that they have picked up the manager's option for 2010 and added another guaranteed year in 2011.

"He's done some great things for our organization," said general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. "He's had a tremendous amount of success. I've talked about it a lot, that his steadying influence and the way he goes about his business in that clubhouse is a pretty important piece of our success.

"The players know what to expect from him every single day. He's very steady and consistent, and I think that's important in this day and age for players to know that, one, they have the support of their manager and, two, that they're going to get the same guy every day. And that's what he's all about."

Manuel, who has been laid low by the flu, was not made available for comment. "He's happy and pleased and ready to win games, is what he told me," Amaro said.

Manuel has become just the second Phillies manager to take the team to back-to-back first-place finishes; Danny Ozark won three straight division titles from 1976-78. Manuel is the first to have four straight winning seasons since Ozark (1975-78).

Since Manuel replaced Larry Bowa, the Phillies are 354-294 (.546), and he's finished as the runner-up in the NL Manager of the Year voting each of the last 2 years.

Manuel, 64, is scheduled to make $1.5 million next season and $1.7 million in 2010. His salary in 2011 could be in the neighborhood of $3 million, which would place him in the financial upper echelon of big- league managers. *