Manuel: I don't want to talk contract during season

"Once the season starts, I don't want to talk about my contract," Charlie Manuel said. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It doesn't have the drama of a certain contract negotiation happening across the state, but Charlie Manuel effectively set a deadline for his own extension.

"Once the season starts, I don't want to talk about my contract," Manuel said.

That was his answer to a question about Albert Pujols' negotiating tactics. Pujols has reportedly set a Wednesday deadline for his contract negotiations. Pujols will be a free agent at the end of the season. So will Manuel if he doesn't agree to a deal with the Phillies.

"I'll call Pujols and ask him" for advice, Manuel said.


Is Charlie Manuel’s bid for a new contract by opening day the right move?

The two sides have been talking since the off-season began and there is no reason to think a deal cannot be struck.

"Hopefully something happens in spring training," Manuel said. "My contract, I definitely don't want it to be a distraction for our team because I definitely put my team first. The players, that's why I get a contract. That's the whole purpose of me doing what I do."

Manuel is believed to be making around $3 million in 2011 and is seeking to become among the game's highest paid managers. Tony La Russa and Mike Scioscia are believed to earn more than $4 million annually. 

Manuel said Monday he would be content going through the season without a new contract if it came to that.

"I went through a situation a few years ago the same way," Manuel said. "Every now and then you may think about something. But you stay focused on where you are going. You stay busy. If you do you're job right, things will work out."