Joe Girardi will become the next manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. But is he the right man for the job?
After firing Gabe Kapler, the Philadelphia Phillies seemed to be moving toward hiring an experienced manager. According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com and Jon Heyman of MLB Network, that is indeed happening as Joe Girardi is set to be named their new manager.
With the signing of Bryce Harper to a 13-year, $330 million contract last offseason, along with some other notable additions (Andrew McCutchen, J.T. Realmuto), expectations were raised in Philadelphia. But the Phillies only one more game than they did in 2018 (81-81), and Kapler was fired after two seasons.
When a coaching or managerial change is made, teams tend to go with the opposite of what they had. The Phillies have followed that book. Kapler came in with no previous managerial experience, and Girardi of course spent 10 seasons as the New York Yankees’ manager (2008-2017) with a World Series title in 2009.
One critique of Girardi when he was let go by the Yankees after the 2017 season was a perceived inability to relate to today’s players. That makes it easy to place an old school label on him, but he knew how to manage stars in New York and functioned under consistent media scrutiny. That kind of steady, experienced hand is what the Phillies needed, and that surely swayed owner John Middleton toward Girardi as the team narrowed in on a managerial hire.
General manager Matt Klentak and team president Andy McPhail have some work to do this offseason. Injuries were a huge factor in the shortcomings in that area this year, but pitching help has to be at the top of the to-do list.
Girardi was also a top candidate for the New York Mets’ job, so the Phillies got him over a division rival as they offered a better situation. For a club that is in win-now mode with a bunch of veteran players in place (and more to be added), Girardi looks like the perfect fit.