While the world is toasting the Washington Nationals for their dominance over the Houston Astros in the first two games of the World Series, teams like the Philadelphia Phillies are hard at work, making sure they have a better shot at playing in October next season. To that end, the Phillies have signed a new manager, former Yankees skipper Joe Girardi.
The organization made the announcement Wednesday that they had signed Girardi to a three-year deal with a team option for a fourth. He is set to be officially introduced at a press conference next Monday.
Gabe Kaplar was let go after just two years following the team’s disappointing finish to the regular season. After acquiring Bryce Harper from the Washington Nationals in the offseason via free agency, there were high hopes for the team’s playoff chances. When the season began, they were considered a contender to win the World Series even (+900 odds on April 1).
But the team was unable to live up to the hype. They still improved from the year before (they were 80-82 in 2018; they finished 81-81 this season), but it wasn’t enough. Kaplar was let go, opening the door for the Phillies to hire Girardi.
Girardi won NL Manager of the Year in his first and only season as skipper of the Florida Marlins in 2006. He interviewed for the Baltimore Orioles job in 2007 but turned it down. When Joe Torre stepped down as the New York Yankees manager following the ’07 season, he took over. He went on to lead the Yankees to their 27th World Series title in 2009.
His contract with the Yankees expired following the 2017 season, but the Yankees decided not to bring him back. So, in Girardi, the Phillies get an experienced, accomplished manager that knows what it takes to win, and more importantly, has won it all. He should be able to get more out of the young talent the Phillies have on the roster.
Will he be enough to make them a division contender? Yes, but a World Series contender? Not without a better pitching staff. However, while his most significant impact will come with what he does with the talent on his roster, it will not be the only impact.
Fans of the New York Mets had hoped that their organization would have hired Girardi. After watching him lead the other team in New York to ten winning seasons in ten years, they were excited at the idea of him doing the same for their team. But instead of seeing him work wonders with their roster, they will have to watch him do so with a division rival instead.
As could be expected, fans were not happy– and expressed their emotions on Twitter:
Girardi had the most experience of the eight candidates the Mets have interviewed, but for some reason, the organization decided to pass. It now looks like the Mets are going to go with a first-time manager again —because that worked so well last season with Mickey Callaway.