Philadelphia Inquirer - November 7, 1980

An offer he couldn’t refuse

 

With misgivings, Green signs for ‘81

 

By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer

 

The Phillies officially unveiled their manager for next season yesterday, a fellow named Dallas Green. You were expecting maybe Leo Durocher?

 

The unveiling came at a press conference at the un-baseball-like hour of 9 a.m., which meant most of those in attendance had eyes as red as a Phillies cap.

 

"Well," said Green to this bleary assemblage, "we all have to do some things we don't like to do."

 

He meant that in more ways than one.

 

It was never Green's idea of paradise to be a manager, even a manager of the world champs. He said a month ago he would prefer not to have to manage again in '81. But on Wednesday, Paul Owens and Ruly Carpenter persuaded him to sign a one-year contract that will put him back in the clubhouse next spring. The persuasion took the form of an estimated $150,000 annual paycheck.

 

"Needless to say, Paul Owens and Ruly Carpenter made me very happy," Green said. "That's one of the reasons I'm up here right now answering these questions.

 

"I didn't make any secret of my preferences (not to manage). I never have. Paul and Ruly both understand that pretty well. I just felt, after the conversation Paul and I had, that the timing wasn't necessarily right for me to move upstairs.

 

"And, naturally, winning was something I had to consider. It put me into a situation where I could hit Ruly for a few extra bucks. And that was certainly something that entered into my decision."

 

Green's future after next year has not been specifically spelled out. "We'll take it one year at a time," he said.

 

But a likely scenario is that he will remain as field boss one more season, then move up to become a kind of assistant general manager to Owens. That would last a season. Then Green would become a full-time GM, with Owens moving into another job in the organization.

 

"I think I could help him for a year," Owens said. "There have been so many changes in baseball the last four years, I think I could ease him in, help him break into it."

 

Green would have liked to have done that right away. But Owens said he never seriously considered anybody other than Green as his manager for next year. So all of this was foregone, even as Green was wandering around the field in Montreal on the season's final Sunday, talking hopefully of escaping the dugout.

 

Now that the managerial situation is stabilized, Green' and Owens will turn their attention to more pressing off-season problems.

 

Green headed right from yesterday's press conference to the airport and then to Florida to watch some hot prospects in the Instructional League. Owens will join him today, and they will spend the weekend mulling such matters as the composition of the coaching staff and whom they might pursue in Thursday's free-agent re-entry draft.

 

Two guys they definitely will pursue are a pair of familiar names – Tug McGraw and Del Unser – the only two Phillies who will be up for bidding.

 

Unser, who turns 36 on Dec. 9, is going through the draft for virtually the same reason his clone, Greg Gross, did a year ago. He simply wants to establish his market value. Then the Phillies almost certainly will match that.

 

McGraw wants to do the same. But now that he is a World Series hero, star of "Hollywood Squares" and proud owner of a 1.46 earned-run average, he might be able to command more dollars elsewhere than the Phillies are willing to spend. So whether the Phils can sign him might boil down simply to how much he wants to stay here.

 

"I certainly hope he comes back, but at the same time I don't expect Ruly and Paul to destroy any salary structure or anything they have in their own minds," Green said. "I can't get emotional about it. I've got to stay objective. Naturally, I want Tug McGraw back, speaking as a manager. He's a darn big part of this baseball team."

 

It would be a very damaging public relations move for the Phillies to let McGraw get away. But he is 36 and asking for upwards of a half-million bucks a year. So keeping him could be stickier than it appears.

 

"I think Tug wants to stay as badly as we want him to stay," Owens said. "But it's just a matter of money."

 

One thing is certain, though. And that is that the Phillies will go harder after McGraw than they will after the Dave Winfields, Dusty Bakers and other glamorous names that pack this year's free-agent field.

 

A few months ago, Green and Owens were threatening to trade everybody but the batboys this winter if the club didn't win. But those threats got washed away in the World Series champagne. After 1980, Owens said, he feels these guys "deserve one more shot to stay together as a unit."

 

The guy most nominated as trade bait has been Greg Luzinski. But Owens insisted, "I am not shopping Bull." He is listening to offers, however. And he admitted he has had some.

 

But he is still reluctant to part with the Bull, unless the offer is very attractive. Owens said he is convinced Luzinski can be the hitter he was for the first month and a half of 1980. But he thinks to do it, Luzinski will have to work harder to keep himself in shape during the season.

 

At any rate, the message was that there won't be many changes. But Green promised that he won't stand for much resting on those long-sought laurels, either.

 

"Just because we won with this team, I'm not going to let us sit back into a laissez-faire, 'We're the world champions' kind of baseball team," he said. "I still want the same effort, the same enthusiasm, the same drive that we got at the end of 1980. And if we don't get it, then we're going to try to make some changes."

 

It is no secret, of course, how he intends to get those results. Just because he has managed these guys to a World Series victory, you don't expect Dallas Green to forget how to yell and scream, do you?

 

"My personality's not going to change," Green said. "I'll still be the same pain in the rear end I've always been. But I think I will have had some time to reflect on the year. And probably I know the personalities of my players better. And I think in turn, too, they will understand my personality a little better. So I don't think we'll have the continual friction we had in 1980. I certainly hope not.

 

"I will try to improve. I would hope my players would be the same way. We've proven now that my way, to some degree, works. Now we have to perpetuate that. And that again is up to the players."

 

 

Jim Baumer, former general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, has been named director of the Phillies' minor league department and scouting, general manager Paul Owens announced yesterday. Howie Bedell, who was in charge of the club's minor league system, was dismissed. Jack Pastore, director of scouting, will become Baumer's assistant.

 

 

"I'm very appreciative of the job Bedell has done for the Phillies, but I just felt a change was needed," Owens said.