Joe Girardi will replace Gabe Kapler as the next Philadelphia Phillies manager, the club is expected to officially announce today.
Since being fired from the Yankees after their 7-game ALCS loss in 2017, the former player and Marlins and Yankees manager has been an analyst on MLB Network.
It’s a great hire for the Phillies, and the loss of a top candidate for the Mets, and to their division rivals at that. The Mets now turn to a cadre of inexperienced candidates, including retired star Carlos Beltran, Nationals’ first-base coach Tim Bogar and ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez, to name a few. But it would have been fun to see Girardi move across town and help the Mets stick it to their Subway Series rivals.
Joe Girardi beat out veteran skippers and fellow former Yankees manager Buck Showalter, and Dusty Baker, most recently of the Washington Nationals, to get the Phillies job. He will be an interesting choice for the Phillies, who were expected to fare much better in 2019, but were derailed by injuries, domestic violence incidents, and some weird managing by Kapler. Despite signing superstar Bryce Harper to a 13-year deal last offseason, they finished the seasons 81-81.
Girardi is known for his toughness; after all, he managed to last a decade with the Yankees, whom he led to ten consecutive winning seasons (a 910-710 record), with six postseason runs and a World Series title. But he’s also shown a softer, gentler side, even as recently last week, when he delivered a tearful tribute to his former player CC Sabathia, who is retiring after this season, but got injured in his final pitching appearance in the ALCS. Girardi will need to tap into that gentler, brotherly side of himself to connect and build relationships with his new players. He’d do well to emulate his Yankees successor Aaron Boone in that respect.
Expectations are high in Philadelphia, and it feels like they’ll be a lot of fun to watch in 2020.