Tenure included World Series win in '09, ALCS this year
By Bryan Hoch
NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi's tenure as manager of the Yankees has ended, the club announced on Thursday, completing a decade-long run that included a World Series title in 2009 and concluded last week one win shy of a World Series appearance with a seven-game loss to the Astros in the American League Championship Series.
"I want to thank Joe for his 10 years of hard work and service to this organization," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "Everything this organization does is done with careful and thorough consideration, and we've decided to pursue alternatives for the managerial position."
Girardi's contract was set to expire on Tuesday. Via his agent, Steve Mandell, Girardi said that he appreciated having been given the opportunity to lead the team for which he played from 1996-99, winning three championships.
"With a heavy heart, I come to you because the Yankees have decided not to bring me back," Girardi said. "I'd like to thank the Steinbrenner family for believing in me and giving me this wonderful opportunity. I would like to thank Brian Cashman and his staff for hiring me and always trying to improve the team."
Girardi, 53, guided the Yankees to a 910-710 record over 10 seasons as manager, including a World Series championship in 2009. His 910 regular-season wins rank sixth in franchise history, trailing Joe McCarthy (1,460), Joe Torre (1,173), Casey Stengel (1,149), Miller Huggins (1,067) and Ralph Houk (944).
In a lengthy statement, Girardi thanked his coaches, support staff, trainers and strength coaches, as well as the team's clubhouse personnel and the executives in charge of scouting and player development.
"I would like to thank the players for the relationships that we have fostered over the last 10 years but most important, how hard they played every day," Girardi said. "... Finally, I'd like to thank the fans for their great support as a player, coach and manager, and the lasting memories of their passion and excitement during the playoff games, especially the final six games, which will remain in my heart forever."
Like Girardi and all members of his coaching staff, Cashman's contract also expires on the same date, though the organization is expected to come to an agreement with the longtime GM. Girardi had been spotted at Yankee Stadium twice this week, where he declined to speak with reporters. The team confirmed their parting in a news release on Thursday morning.
"As [managing general partner] Hal Steinbrenner and I mentioned to Joe directly this week, he has been a tremendous Yankee on the field and away from it, as a player, coach and manager," Cashman said. "He has a tireless work ethic, and put his heart into every game he managed over the last decade. He should take great pride in our accomplishments during his tenure, and I wish Joe and his family nothing but success and happiness in the future."
During Girardi's tenure, the Yankees reached the postseason six times, including three AL East titles (2009, '11-12) and three Wild Card berths (2010, '15, '17). Taking over following Torre's 12-year run at the helm, Girardi initially donned uniform No. 27 as a daily reminder of the objective that he had been hired to achieve.
After the Yankees broke in the new Yankee Stadium by celebrating their 27th World Series title, Girardi switched numbers to No. 28 but was ultimately unable to get New York back to a Fall Classic, overseeing the departures of 'Core Four' members Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter. This year's ALCS appearance was the Yankees' first since 2012.
"He was a manager of mine," Jeter said at a charity event run by his Turn 2 Foundation in Washington Heights, N.Y., on Thursday. "So I have the utmost respect for him. But you realize this is a business. I'm not privy to any information that goes on. Whether he left, they let him go -- I don't know. But you wish him the best. He brought a lot of great memories to this organization. He had a lot of success in the 10 years he was here. I think Joe Girardi, people will have fond memories of him. I do, as a teammate and playing for him as well."
As he guided the "Baby Bombers" to 91 wins this year, allowing budding stars like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez to blossom in their first full big league seasons, Girardi often said that the Yankees' future appeared to be brighter than at any time in recent memory.
"There's a lot of good here, there really is," Girardi said. "You think of the young players, they've added to the club, there's more players coming. And it's not just position players, it's pitching, so obviously there's a ton of talent here."
While Girardi said that he loved his job, it came with its trying moments; arguably none lower than the aftermath of Game 2 of the AL Division Series, when Girardi didn't challenge a hit-by-pitch of the Indians' Lonnie Chisenhall, a play that sparked a 9-8 Cleveland comeback. During introductions for Game 3 in The Bronx, Girardi was loudly booed by the home crowd.
The exit is the latest high-profile managerial change to take place during the postseason. The Red Sox dismissed John Farrell after their ouster in the ALDS, and the Nationals did the same with Dusty Baker after being bounced by the Cubs in the National League Division Series. The 2018 season will be the first since 1992 in which the Yankees and Red Sox both have new managers to start a season. This is also the first time in history that three postseason teams have replaced their managers.
Internal candidates to succeed Girardi include Al Pedrique, who has won back-to-back Manager of the Year awards while piloting Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, as well as Yankees coaches Tony Pena or Rob Thomson. Class A Advanced Tampa manager Jay Bell, vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring and Class A Short-Season Staten Island manager Josh Paul are also well regarded in the organizational hierarchy.
Should the Yankees look outside the system, Mets hitting coach Kevin Long might merit a look, as could Brad Ausmus, who was dismissed by the Tigers after a 64-win season.
There have been rumblings that the Marlins' new ownership group, led by Jeter, could make a change regarding manager Don Mattingly. After the 2007 season, Mattingly was one of the three finalists to replace Torre.
During the postseason, Girardi said that he felt sympathy for any manager or coach whose time ran out.
"This is not an easy chair. There's only so many of them," Girardi said. "It's not something where a lot of times there's a lot of longevity. There's high expectations and it's part of the gig. You know that when you go in. It's what you sign up for."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.