Chicago Cubs: Phillies hoping that new leader nets new results
After a massive offseason spending spree last winter, the Philadelphia Phillies headed into 2019 with lofty expectations. With Bryce Harper in tow, this club looked ready to compete for a division title – and perhaps more.
The club headed into the All-Star Break nine games above .500 with promising postseason chances. Then, for the second time in as many seasons under manager Gabe Kapler, they cratered in the second half -playing nine games under the break-even mark in the second half, finishing the year with a pedestrian 81-81 record.
After ownership conducted internal interviews and evaluations, the Phillies elected to move on from Kapler, the former big leaguer and Dodgers front office executive. Long known as a forward-thinking mind, the fit just never seemed all that great and, thus, the club pivoted to Girardi, a former Manager of the Year.
"“Joe brings high character and a tremendous work ethic to his position, and he is a proven winner,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. “I look forward to working with him and I believe that he is the right manager to lead our team to the next level.”"
Of course, Girardi led the New York Yankees to a World Series title in 2009 and has 988 career managerial wins under his belt. New York fired him after he brought the team within one win of the World Series in 2017, so it’s not like he’s been a disappointment in the dugout in any regard.
Personally, this seems like a great fit. Philly is known as a hard-nosed city full of passionate fans and Girardi fits that bill perfectly. It remains to be seen how he’ll gel with the players, given his pretty stark contrast in style to Kapler, who managed this clubhouse the last two years.
But all told, Girardi makes a ton of sense for a team like the Phillies.