Phillies don't renew contracts for three coaches

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies let go of three coaches on Tuesday, an indication manager Charlie Manuel will keep his job for another year.

First base coach Marc Bombard, third base coach Bill Dancy and bench coach Gary Varsho didn't have their contracts renewed, two days after the Phillies finished 85-77 and narrowly missed the playoffs for the second straight year.

"I really appreciate what Marc, Bill and Gary did for the organization, but at this time, we felt it was necessary to make some changes," Manuel said in a statement released by the team.

Pitching coach Rich Dubee, hitting coach Milt Thompson, bullpen coach Ramon Henderson and catching instructor Mick Billmeyer had their contracts extended for one year.

Manuel's job has come under scrutiny since Pat Gillick replaced Ed Wade as general manager after last season. Manuel led the Phillies to 88 wins last year, but they finished one game behind Houston in the NL wild-card standings.

The Phillies struggled early this season and overcame a midseason roster purge to take a half-game lead over Los Angeles in the wild-card race with seven games remaining. But they lost three of the next four games, including two of three to last-place Washington, and were eliminated on the next-to-last day of the season.

Manuel has one season remaining on a three-year, $2.4 million contract. He's well-liked by his players but has come under heavy criticism for making questionable in-game moves throughout the past two seasons.

After the season finale in Florida, Gillick praised Manuel's ability to motivate his players and keep a positive atmosphere in the clubhouse.

Manuel met with Gillick to discuss his future on Tuesday. It appears he saved his job by agreeing to let three coaches go.

Dancy -- who has been with the Phillies as a minor-league player, coach, manager, coordinator and major-league coach for 32 of the last 34 years -- was offered a position in the organization.