Manuel on contract: 'I think it's a matter of time'

Charlie Manuel says he is leaning towards keeping Jimmy Rollins in the leadoff spot. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was asked about his contract status Monday afternoon during an appearance on 610 WIP and he did not seem like a man who is too worried about his future.

"My contract, we put something out there and we know exactly where we're at," Manuel said. "I think it's just a matter of time."

The 2011 season is the final year on Manuel's contract, but no one has ever thought that his job was in jeopardy. Manuel added that he'd like to manage at least three more years and finish his career as a Phillie.

"I don't want my contract to be any kind of distraction to our team or our organization," he said. "I have a contract that runs through the season and I don't think I should let my contract interfere with what we do. My number one priority ... is to try to win the World Series and that's what we're here for. That will always be my first priority. At the same time, everybody would like to have a contract.

"I know as good as I sit here I could manage at least three more years. From there on out, I think it would be a situation where I could sit down with my general manager (Ruben Amaro Jr.) and (Pat) Gillick and they could look me in the eye and tell me if they think I'm getting too old or I don't have the energy or I don't have a life.

"At the same time ... I think I am a Phillie."

That comment triggered a loud ovation from the fans in attendance at Manuel's interview which was staged at a diner in Cherry Hill.

"I love living in Philly and I love the fans," Manuel added, leading to more appreciation from the crowd. "I want to go out as a Phillie."

Manuel also talked about a number of issues, including shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

"I have always looked at Jimmy as a leadoff guy," Manuel said. "I think Jimmy is a very intelligent player. I'm not saying (Shane) Victorino won't lead off for us. He would be our next option."

Manuel was less forthcoming about who will replace Jayson Werth as the fifth hitter in the lineup, but did not discount the idea that Rollins could hit there, too.

"First of all, I think Jimmy could hit first, second, third, fifth, sixth or even fourth for a couple of days," Manuel said. "Listen, I take a lot of pride in our hitting and we're going to find somebody to hit fifth. We have some good candidates. I guarantee you we're going to get some production from that spot."

Manuel listed his primary candidates as Ben Francisco, Domonic Brown and John Mayberry. He also said the team has told Mayberry to get a first baseman's mitt in order to work at that position.

The Phillies' manager said he is eager to see Brown at spring training next month.

"This is a guy with high potential," the manager said. "He has a lot of talent. He can throw, he can run ... he has power. He has not played a lot of baseball. He was a football player. I had people I know tell me he was the best hitter in double-A last year and that makes me real anxious to see him play good."

Manuel also talked about Mayberry possibly making the team out of spring training for the first time.

"John Mayberry was a high draft pick and he has skills," the manager said. "He's like a deer when he's running. He's faster than you think he is. He needs to get a little more aggressive. It has reached the point where we need to use John Mayberry's talent at times."