Girardi, rightfully so, has earned quite the esteemed reputation as one of the greatest baseball minds around. Girardi seems to possess an uncanny ability to make the right move when it is needed most, specifically with his bullpen decisions, something the Phillies struggled mightily with under Gabe Kapler.
During his tenure in New York, the Yankee bullpen finished in the top half in the league in ERA six times and top 10 four times. They also beat their Pythagorean win-loss prediction four times under Girardi. Winning baseball games often requires chess-like strategic ability and Girardi possesses that in droves. A winner through and through, Girardi never finished with a record below .500 in ten years as the Yankees skipper.
If the Phillies truly want to rid themselves of puzzling decision-making, which they oft-suffered through under Kapler, Girardi seems like the logical choice.
In a press conference alongside team CEO John Middleton and president Andy MacPhail discussing the decision to move on from Kapler, Phillies GM Matt Klentak stated that Kapler “had a hard time gaining acceptance” in Philly, namely amongst the media.
Kapler seemed to always preach positivity when speaking of the highs and (many) lows the team went through during his stint, and while it’s important to maintain an upbeat attitude and not get too down on yourself or the team, that isn’t going to fly in a city that demands results the way Philly does.
No other candidate for the Phils job understands this more than Girardi, who thrived under the bright lights of New York for a decade. New York media, much like its big-market sibling in Philly, does not tolerate losing or excuses. They aren’t afraid to crank up the heat and ask tough questions or flat-out question the strategy of the coaches if they feel like things could be done better.
Yankees GM and former Girardi employer Brian Cashman spoke glowingly of his former manager’s media presence in a recent interview with SNY:
“When you’re talking about somebody like Joe, he’d give you instant credibility,” Cashman told SNY. “He’s buttoned-up, ready to go and proven successful in the largest market you can find. And he came out on top.
“He was here for 10 years, and some things have an expiration date, but that doesn’t diminish the abilities the person possesses or the quality of work he provides. I highly recommend Joe to anybody, even our rivals, unfortunately.”
Girardi isn’t considered to be a media darling, per se, but he is transparent, owned his mistakes, and held his players responsible. In Philly, where nice-guy awards don’t get you too far, Girardi would be able to hold his own against the tough Philly media and should even be able to earn the approval of the fans in the process.
For a team that is desperate for a fearless, tactical, savvy leader with a championship pedigree, Joe Girardi simply makes too much sense to pass up for the Phillies. Hopefully, when the smoke clears at the end of the week, it’s Girardi who is donning the red pinstripes as the new skipper in Philly.
. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports