While the players may be the names that everyone knows, there are a lot of other people in an organization that play important roles. Some are seen and known, while others are rarely, if ever, in front of the press or even mentioned.
Our first annual list of the VIPs - Very Important Phillies - is not a list of greatness or a list of power. It's a list of importance, based on the jobs that need to be done and the people who are in charge of doing those jobs.
7. Dave Montgomery - Managing General Partner
While the Invisible Owners do their work in somewhat of a Teflon fashion, Montgomery is the out-front guy. He's the one who gets hit with the shrapnel when a move goes wrong. He's also the guy that has the most control of the team wallet, so he deserves to be somewhat in the line of fire. He's also the guy that picked Ruben Amaro over Mike Arbuckle or other qualified GM candidates. Overall, Montgomery has taken a lot of heat that wasn't completely deserved. Yes, the payroll might have gone higher in previous years, but while he controls the wallet, he doesn't have the money that the Yankees or Red Sox do and he's had to be somewhat frugal at times. With a World Series championship, he's back in the good graces of the Phillies fans, but for how long, nobody really knows.
8. Charlie Manuel - Manager
Admit it, many of you wanted to dump this guy not too long ago. There were unending jokes about his accent and the fact that his public speaking style comes up pretty far short of say Barack Obama. Even now, fans are worrying that with bench coach Jimy Williams exiting, Manuel is going to be lost. Don't be fooled. This guy knows his stuff, pure and simple. His contract officially has one more season with a team option for 2010, but there are rumblings that before too long, the Phillies will at least pick up that option and possibly add to it. Don't be surprised if "Uncle Charlie" ends his run in Philly at some point in the future as the most popular and possibly, the greatest manager in team history.
9. Chuck LaMar - Assistant GM Player Development and Scouting
His influence on the Tampa Bay Rays had to be noticed, although some say LaMar was just the figurehead with others pulling the strings on the real moves. Forget that, the Rays were built in great extents by LaMar even though he isn't the most popular man in baseball. He's now got the official assistant GM title and he's going to be very involved in developing the younger players through the system and in scouting both the Phillies prospects and those of other clubs. Speaking of scouting, it was LaMar who led the contingent of scouts who followed the Rays during the post season as the Phillies prepared for their potential World Series opponent.
10. Bench Coach
We don't know for sure who it will be yet, although Sam Perlozzo is one option. The Phillies hired Perlozzo as a coach, but aren't sure if he'll serve as their third base coach or bench coach. While Manuel knows the game of baseball, he does rely heavily on his bench coach, probably more than the average manager does. Since that's the case, Manuel will need someone who knows the game and can give him the right advice. Pete Mackanin is one option with Jim Tracy, Grady Little and Terry Collins also on the radar.
11. Jimmy Rollins - Shortstop
It's not hard to chart the Phillies success with the success of Jimmy Rollins. Generally, as J-Roll goes, so go the Phillies. He's added another Gold Glove to his trophy case and as leadoff man has given the Phillies a go-to guy at the top of the order. Growing up, Rickey Henderson was Rollins' hero and at many times, it's not too difficult to see a little of Henderson in Rollins. It's great to note that Rollins is signed very cheaply through 2010 with a team option for 2011. It's also nice to note that Rollins has never hinted of wanting to renegotiate his deal, which he signed back in 2005 at a very reduced rate.
12. Marti Wolever - Scouting Director
Ruben Amaro is going to be leaning on Marti Wolever more than ever. Amaro believes strongly in assembling a great staff of scouts and Wolever is one of the best in the business at both spotting talent and at spotting scouts that can spot talent. Many of today's younger GMs don't rely as much on scouts as some of the more "mature" GMs, but Amaro does look to his scouting staff for a lot of input. That alone makes Wolever an essential part of the Phillies front office.