Is Joe Girardi an unnecessary luxury for the Philadelphia Phillies?
Yes, I’m collecting a pretty hefty paycheck for my services, but the workplace culture around me is leaving a lot to be desired at the moment. From underperformance on the field to cost-slashing maneuvers from above, it has all the feeling of a house of cards ready to fall (if it hasn’t begun to already).
This leads to the inevitable question of why Girardi is here, managing this team at present.
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The simple answer is that the Phillies, thinking they were ready to compete and led by a bold owner whose patience had worn thin, made a solid “on paper” move last year to bring in a manager with pedigree like Girardi.
Almost a year later, however, such a decision seems out of step with the club’s actual direction. And while the Phillies can hardly be blamed for a pandemic impacting finances in the way it has, they need to shoulder some blame here for incorrectly evaluating the strength of the big league team and the organization’s depth.
In short, the Phillies don’t look like they’re competing any time soon, which is at odds with the fact that they currently employ a ‘win-now’ manager. With Girardi making north of $3 million per year and the club being very frank about its desire to trim money, the sad fact is that they would be better off with a much less expensive manager at this point in time.
No, I’m not saying they need another Gabe Kapler, but it seems like a disservice to Girardi to have him oversee this kind of team. And this leads me to something that may sound ludicrous…why not see if you can trade Girardi?
Yes, you can do that, and it’s happened somewhat recently. I am completely serious about this. If the Phillies are going to let broadcaster Jim Jackson go with the whole ‘luxury we can no longer afford’ mumbo jumbo, why not look into unloading someone who gets paid 20 or 30 times more than the departed JJ?
The Chicago White Sox have a managerial opening right this minute, and Joe G. would look great in that role. It’s a team that actually made the playoffs this year, is stocked with young talent, and is clearly on the rise.
Girardi also has a Chicago connection since he played seven years with the Cubs. It makes a ton of sense or at least more sense than him sticking around Philadelphia for another two uninspiring years while the team loses games and hemorrhages money.
There’s about zero chance of this happening in reality, of course, and the Sox seem like they’re going to give their job to Hall of Fame geezer Tony La Russa anyway. But the Phillies should at least put in a call. “Hey, do you want a World Series-winning manager who’s under 60? We’ll even foot some of his salary this year. We’ve got to cut some corners. Can you throw in a draft pick or two? Whaddaya say?”
To answer the question I posed in the title, no, Girardi doesn’t fit with the Phillies. He’d have way more of an impact with a team on the cusp of challenging, like the White Sox.
Despite what you may be thinking, I like Girardi and want him to manage the Phillies for at least the next few years because I still think he has a shot to help this team. I also fear what kind of manager the front office might replace him with. But if we’re being honest, for Girardi’s own sake and for the Phillies’ bottom-line finances, this is not a great fit.
Even in this shortened season, there was enough writing on the wall to tell us that his abilities would most likely be wasted with this group.
If the penny-pinching Philadelphia Phillies are serious about the need to cut costs, they should have a candid discussion internally about Joe Girardi, and then work with their employee to find him somewhere more suitable so that his salary can come off their books. I realize that all of this sounds insane, but this is simply a logical step to see how far the Phillies are willing to go to put their money (or seeming lack thereof) where their mouth is.