September 26, 2021

Phillies: Girardi Hire is a Great Start, Now the Focus Shifts to Adding Pitching – And a Lot of it (Baseball Essential)

The Philadelphia Phillies got the big fish.

After firing manager Gabe Kapler two weeks ago, the Phillies quickly found their replacement, hiring former New York Yankees skipper Joe Girardi.

Girardi is the perfect modern-day hire. To say he was before his time may be a bit far-fetched, but in his final season managing the Yankees (2017), Girardi was one of the more analytic/evolved managers in Major League Baseball. He had short leashes on most of his starters, put together lineups that confused some — but are now ordinary in today’s game — and frequently toyed with his bullpen.

At the same time, he wasn’t a robot. He let pitchers go deep into games when they were dominating, wouldn’t get cute in the late innings, and more often than not made decisions based on gut rather than trends. That mix likely appealed to CEO John Middleton and General Manager Matt Klentak.

Girardi is an immediate upgrade to Kapler, who was publicly committed to managing his team based on analytics, given his proven decision making, as well as how he found success in seasons where little was expected of the Yankees. Meanwhile, Kapler made some bizarre late-game switches and was arguably too…

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