Joe Girardi left Citizens Bank Park on Monday night as the favorite to be the next Phillies manager after an all-day interview, as the team nears a decision.
Girardi, according to a source, emerged as the “leading candidate” for the job after the Phillies conducted follow-up interviews over the last few days with Girardi, Buck Showalter, and Dusty Baker. Girardi has not managed since 2017, when he finished a decade-long run with the Yankees. He managed the Yankees to six postseason trips and the 2009 World Series title.
General manager Matt Klentak is leading the search for a new manager, but president Andy MacPhail and managing partner John Middleton will have a say. Klentak pushed for the Phillies to hire Gabe Kapler, but it was Middleton who decided earlier this month to fire Kapler after two seasons. Girardi, it is believed, was Middleton’s favorite before the team began interviews.
The Phillies are looking for a manager who can blend analytical and traditional styles in the dugout. Girardi found success doing that with the Yankees, who have one of baseball’s most forward-thinking front offices. If hired, Girardi would reunite with bench coach Rob Thomson, who was on Girardi’s staff during his entire Yankees tenure and spent the last two seasons as Kapler’s bench coach.
Girardi, according to the New York Post, is expected to have a second interview this week with the Mets. He also interviewed this month with the Cubs, but the Mets appear to be the biggest threat to the Phillies.
While the Phillies are farther along in their process than the other teams, they could be motivated to act quickly to ensure that they don’t lose Girardi to a division rival. The Phillies met with all three candidates last week and then hosted all three at the ballpark over a five-day span. Those three — all veteran managers with a combined 53 years of experience — are the only candidates.
The Phillies could hire Girardi as early as Thursday, a World Series off day. The league frowns on teams making news on World Series game days.
Girardi, 55, stepped down last week as manager of Team USA to pursue “open managerial opportunities in Major League Baseball.” He had his share of opportunities, and now it appears that the opportunity in Philadelphia could be the one he takes.