On a cold winter night, in a casino that stands in the shadow of a once-proud steel mill, a tinge of defiance crept into Charlie Manuel's voice. His eyebrows danced and his hands waved and his gaze bounced at the semi-circle of bodies that had formed around his frontside. One by one, he rattled off the names. Tony La Russa, Jim Leyland, Joe Girardi, hell, even Charlie Manuel were among the managers who had entered the final season of a contract without an extension in place.

"Look, do I want to manage the Phillies?" he said, his voice rising an octave. "You're damn right. I ain't ready to leave."

Manuel is well aware that plenty of folks on the outside of the Phillies organization have already begun to turn the page on the greatest era in franchise history. Earlier in the day, well before he made the trek to the Lehigh Valley to appear at one of the annual banquets the team stages in its minor league cities, news broke that the Braves had acquired star rightfielder Justin Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson from the Diamondbacks for a five-player package fronted by veteran third baseman Martin Prado and promising young right-hander Randall Delgado.