Joe Girardi’s firing is a reminder that sometimes the obvious answer is the correct one.
The Phillies went on an offseason spending spree, pushing their payroll north of $200 million. And now they are 22-29, sitting 12 games behind the Mets in the National League East. They haven’t just been bad, either — they’ve been embarrassing. And when all of those things happen to a team whose manager is in a contract year and wasn’t hired by the front office boss, what seems obvious often is just that.
In hindsight, Girardi was always going to take the fall for this miserable failure in Philadelphia. You can’t fire all the underperforming players, so you fire Girardi and hope interim manager Rob Thomson can spark something with a pretty favorable schedule the rest of June.
So what now for Girardi? A return to television seems most likely in the short-term, if he does anything besides collect his last few paychecks and spend time with his family. But if Girardi wants to manage again, it seems likely he will get another job.
Girardi is very young; he turns 58 in October. And while he has his flaws — this Phillies team never showed much fight, he wore on the Yankees‘ clubhouse in the end, he’s bad with the media, the whole “Binder Joe” perception — his resume is still pretty impressive.
This was Girardi’s 14th season as manager. It was only his third losing year. And the first two come with asterisks. He won 78 games with the Marlins and was NL manager of the year in 2006. And Girardi’s first Phillies team finished four games under .500 during the abbreviated COVID-19 season in 2020.
In the other 11 seasons: Six playoff appearances, three division titles and a World Series championship — all with the Yankees, of course.
Someone is going to sign up for that. The Illinois native and former Cubs catcher is always going to be connected to them and the White Sox whenever there is an opening in Chicago. There will likely be other potential suitors as well.
A potential wild card on the homefront: Northwestern’s head coach, Josh Reynolds, still has an interim tag. Would Girardi take over at his alma mater? It’s easier to manage players and personalities when they turn over every three or four years.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]