Should the Phillies Have Fired Joe Girardi?

The Philadelphia Phillies will still have a manager for the remainder of the season. It will be someone other than the man who started as the commander.  They knew that the time had come and hopefully they didn’t wait too long.

What Happened?

On Friday, June 3, the Phillies terminated Joe Girardi as their guy leading the bench. The news cultivated a souring relationship that dated back to 2020. Girardi went 132-141 in over two seasons, in which the team has started off this season 22-29. Philadelphia started the season with high hopes of reaching the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. Instead, they find themselves 3.5 games out of the third wild card spot in the National League.

Stepping in as interim manager is bench coach Rob Thomson, who as of right now will fill that role for the rest of the season. This means the Phillies will hold off until next offseason to find their new permanent manager.

Team Reactions

The players learned about the firing through a group text.

“The way I look at it is it always comes down to the players because we’re the ones that have to play,” Nick Castellanos said. “If the players were playing better, we’d have more wins and Joe would still have a job, Joe would still have a job because we’d have more wins. We haven’t played up to our potential as a group and a unit.

At the end of the day, winning fixes everything and we haven’t won that much so things start to get shaken up looking for different results and, unfortunately, a man lost his job.”

Girardi was a very well-respected man in the locker room despite getting the short end of the stick. Players like him as a person and he is very knowledgeable of the game. Rhys Hoskins had this to say about his now former manager:

“He’s the type of person I hope I cross paths with in the future just because of the person he is,” Hoskins said.

Bryce Harper also stated how much of a family man Girardi is. He talked to him on the phone after the news broke. He thanked his former boss for being there for him and his team-mates.

“He’s put a lot of effort, time into this game and organization trying to make it great and get us to where we need to be,” Harper said. “I just wanted to let him know I was thankful for that because of the time he spends away from his family. I put blame on guys in this clubhouse, myself included.”

How Team Can Turn Season Around 

The team is stacked with veterans with long-term contracts. The veterans however are the reason the Phillies are still even in the wild card race. The reason for the team’s struggles are due to a lack of young prospects being developed in the farm system. 

While rebuilding is not a valid option at this time, the best the Phillies can do is hope to make a run at the playoffs during the concluding two-thirds of the season. It will be somewhat of a struggle for them, but here are a few suggestions that could help them out going forward:

  1. Commit to Other Players

Phillies second baseman Jean Segura broke his finger last week. He will unfortunately be sidelined for 10-12 weeks, in other words, a big portion of the season. That means there’s a spot for shortstop Didi Gregorious as he’s returning to the line-up from his knee problem, (presently on a minor league rehab assignment).

Girardi tended to keep veterans past their welcome and with Segura out, this creates a long-viable option at second base. Some of the replacement choices are utility man Johan Camargo, depth infielder Nick Maton, and future prospect Bryson Stott.

Stott has struggled this season when he’s seen action. Not only that, he hasn’t started more than three straight games and there can be a huge learning curve at the MLB level. Last season, Wander Franco had a learning period, as did Julio Rodriguez and Bobby Witt Jr. this season. They started behind the 8 ball in April and then began to gel in May. Considering where the Phillies currently stand, Stott should have the same leanway to figure things out instead of relying on Camargo or Maton. 

In terms of the center field position, Odubel Herrera has played acceptable this season, but his batting has a lot to be desired. The No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, Mickey Moniak had an incredible spring training (six homers in 14 games) and was slated to be the Opening Day center fielder before a fallible pitch broke his wrist. He rejoined the Phillies this week and is now healthy and ready to play. 

  1. A Look at Pitching

The bullpen has been failing the Phillies yet again as it ranked last in the MLB with -4.10 win probability added. They seem to be blowing leads like The Houston Oilers did in the 1992 wild card playoffs. And guess who the Oilers were playing? You’re right, My Buffalo Bills!

The Phillies have a decent offense as they are ranked 11th, (4.51 runs scored per game). Their rotation stacks 3rd in the MLB (5.5 WAR), but as you might have guessed, their defense needs help (29th with minus-25 defensive runs saves).  Their bullpen has been undependable to say the least, but can they fix it with their two right-handers in Mark Appel and Francisco Morales?

As the No.1 pick in the 2013 draft, Appel came out of retirement last year and has pitched efficiently enough in Triple-A, pitching 21.1 relief innings with a 2.11 ERA. Appel is now 30- years-old, so I would give him a start sooner-rather-than-later.

The 22-year-old Morales was with the Phillies earlier this year. He has walked 16 batters in 25 ⅔ innings between his stints in the MLB and the minors. On the plus side though, he has a cannon of an arm and you can never find enough relievers like that.

With Seranthony Dominguez just being back in his first full season from Tommy John surgery, let’s hope that Appel and Morales can get their chances to help the team out! 

  1. The Trade Market

The Phillies started their season with a franchise record $228.7 million payroll. Their payroll for luxury tax is $237.1 million. While the Phillies are already over the $230 million allowance, they may as well just get the help they need. Adding another $10 million to their payroll, will only cost them $2 million in tax. As they say, “scared money doesn’t make money.”

Here are a few possible rental trade players available:

RHP Steve Cishek, Nationals: Weak contact expert who has pitched in every role conceivable, and is particularly hard against righties. Earning $1.75 million in 2022.

RHP David Robertson, Cubs: Even though the Phillies may not be excited about reuniting with Robertson, he is still a strike-out king and a flexible reliever. Earning $3.5 million in 2022

SS Jose Iglesias, Rockies: Hits the ball well, with stout play at shortstop. He comes at a cheaper price than Gregorious.  Earning $5 million in 2022.

OF Jake Marisnick, Pirates: A sturdy outfielder especially on defense. Was especially good against left-handed pitchers. Earning $1.3 million in 2022.

Managers Who May be Available at End Of Season

  1. Tony La Russa– The 77-year-old Chicago White Sox club leader may be the next manager after Joe Maddon to be on the chopping block. La Russa is in the second year of a three-year contract, but after a 27-31 start to the season, La Russa is receiving heat from White Sox fans who have been disappointed with his in-game managing decisions.
  1. Davey Martinez– The Washington Nationals have until July 1 to pick up Martinez’s 2023 option totaling $3.5 million. The Nationals right now are only 23-39 and are in fifth place in the NL East. Should they decline, a conclusion could go past the offseason. If they let him go, Martin can be the next manager for Philadelphia.
  1. Don Mattingly– Mattingly took a salary reduction to stay as manager with the Miami Marlins. And with Derek Jeter leaving as the owner, Mattingly could take the blame if the Marlins continue to trend downward. Also, the Marlins are tied with the White Sox with a 27-31 record.
  1. Torey Lovullo– Lovullo actually has the Arizona Diamondbacks playing above expectations (29-33), after having 110 losses last year. The problem with his situation is he’s on a one-year contract. He’s a promising manager who’s on a short leash.

Okay, all you MLB fans out there, what do you think? Was it time for Mr. Girardi to “hit the road?”

Please comment and give your opinion and your thoughts!

Author

6 thoughts on “Should the Phillies Have Fired Joe Girardi?

  1. He was a good coach. Players seemed to like him. I don’t think he should have been removed. But I will say Phila. is playing better. Pitching just sucks. Giving up to many runs. Maybe they should have tried a new pitching coach first.

  2. If you have Bryce Harper on your team you should be much better. Yes it’s good he got the boot.

  3. You rep what you sew. The crop from the farm was not competitive nor sufficiently ripe according to ownership. Difficult to lure or sign required proven talent, lacking trade bait. Joe Girardi’s reputation precedes him. Proven and trusted are his earned hallmarks.
    Back to the farming analogy – “ reap what you sew- but ensure you plant using good starter seeds”. Otherwise you end up just as the Phillies.
    Nice article Jamie. Makes one think of a lifetime career ending due to lack of TEAM accomplishment. Price of underperforming.

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