Joe Girardi’s seat went from hot to up in smoke.
The Philadelphia Phillies fired their manager amid a 22-29 start to the 2022 season, the team announced Friday.
Girardi, making his weekly appearance on Sirius XM’s MLB Network Radio on Friday morning, seemed to understand where it all when wrong for him and his squad.
“We underperformed and that falls on me,” he said. “This is what happens.”
In his mind, it wasn’t just one thing that led to the end of his Phillies tenure.
“I think there’s a number of reasons we didn’t win,” he said. “We gave too many extra outs that probably cost us 4-5 games maybe? Maybe even more. It think at times our bullpen struggled. We had some guys that I think have much better stuff than the potential that they’ve pitched to, which led to some games. And I think some guys got off to some slow starts, offensively. And that happens, right? But, you know, I think you can overcome sometimes, one thing, maybe even two, but sometimes when it’s more than that, I think it’s somewhat difficult.”
Girardi’s time comes to a close in Philly with a 132-141 record over two-plus seasons. The former Yankees manager spent 10 seasons in the Bronx, leading the team to a World Series title in 2009 before being fired in 2017.
He came to a Philly team that had already begun bulking up with big-money contracts. Bryce Harper, the reigning NL MVP, scored a 13-year, $330 million deal before Girardi came aboard in 2020. Soon afer came catcher JT Realmuto for five years and $115.5 million, pitcher Zack Wheeler for $118 million over five years and big bats in Nick Castellanos (five years, $100 million) and Kyle Schwarber (four years, $79 million). All told, the front office handed out $742.5 million spent over 32 “contract years.”
The $224 million payroll has yet to turn into success on the field, as the franchise looks to make the postseason for the first time in over a decade. The lack of results became Girardi’s cross to bear.
“I can look back on this last week when we were, I don’t know, 3-7, and I think realistically we should have been 7-3,” he said as the owner of a 1120-935 record over 14 seasons managing an MLB club. “Well, that’s gonna fall on me, because we weren’t. I understand that. I just pray that they get better and they get to the playoffs.”
It’s a sentiment shared by the front office, which is already running out of time to right the ship.
“It has been frustrating season for us up until this point, as we feel that our club has not played up to its capabilities,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. “While all of us share a responsibility for the shortcomings, I felt that a change was needed and that a new voice in the clubhouse would give us the best chance to turn things around.”
That new voice will come in the form of Rob Thomson, a longtime cohort of Girardi dating back to their 10 seasons together with the Yankees.
“I am extremely excited for this opportunity and I appreciate the confidence Dave has shown in me,” he said. “Having said that, this is an emotional day for me, having worked closely with Joe for so many years. This has been my home for the last five years and I care deeply about this franchise, this city, our players, our coaches, our staff, and our fans, I am ready to lead this team and look forward to getting to work and turning this around.”
Thomson, who spent 10 of his 28 seasons with the Yankees organization as a bench and third base coach for the big club, becomes the 56th manager in franchise history. He’ll get his first game running the team on Friday against a struggling Angels team.
“I believe we have a talented group that can get back on track and I am confident that Rob, with his experience and familiarity with our club, is the right man to lead us going forward,” Dombrowski said.