According to David Kaplan of ESPN 1000 in Chicago, Joe Girardi will not return as the manager of the New York Yankees in 2018. The team has issued an official statement on the matter. Girardi has served as manager of the Yankees for a total of 10 seasons after he was hired to fill the position beginning in 2008.
According to several sources, this was the team’s decision, not Girardi. He confirmed as much in a statement, declaring that “with a heavy heart, I come to you because the Yankees have decided not to bring me back.”
Girardi’s four-year, $16 million contract had just expired, and he was recently spotted at Yankee Stadium where he was meeting with Brian Cashman about his future with the organization. Apparently we now know that he has no future with the team because of ongoing tension between Girardi and the front office this year.
While there is much to criticize about the way Joe Girardi manages, it is clear that he is one of the best in the game. He isn’t afraid to reference analytics and has done a good job managing the clubhouse over the years. Apparently, the problem was that he relied too heavily on analytics, and the front office wanted someone who could have a better feel for the game. Overall, the team won a World Series with him in 2009. They also won three division titles and reached the playoffs six out of his 10 years.
Things seemed to fall apart for him in this year’s ALDS, when a botched replay review likely cost the team the game, and almost the series. At that point, he lost the fans and the clubhouse for his failure to make a decision on a costly play.
Considering the Yankees ended up beating the Indians and went on to nearly reach the World Series this year, it would have appeared his job was safe. Hopefully we will learn that Girardi ultimately decided not to return.
The problem then becomes who will replace him. There is no obvious candidate, but the organization does have Rob Thomson and Tony Pena on the coaching staff. Cashman, whose own contract will be up soon, is likely to look within the organization before looking elsewhere. It’s going to be tough to find someone who can manage a clubhouse, use advanced statistics, and handle the New York media.