After a Decade, Joe Girardi Is Out as Manager of the Yankees

It will now be up to Cashman to find a new manager, although Cashman himself still has to sign a new contract with the club. The most likely internal candidate is Joe Espada, who worked as a special assistant to Cashman for one season before becoming the Yankees’ third-base coach in 2015. Espada, who is 42, has a strong relationship with several of the young, Spanish-speaking Yankee players.

Cashman was developing a list of candidates on Thursday, according to the baseball executive, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly. And that list will almost certainly include candidates from outside the Yankees’ organization as Cashman tries to figure out who is best suited to managing a young team brimming with talent while dealing with the media scrutiny that the Yankees attract.

The decision to part with Girardi comes after a postseason run that was both exhilarating and painfully disappointing for the Yankees, ending with a loss in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. Two other managers — the Washington Nationals’ Dusty Baker and the Boston Red Sox’ John Farrell — lost their jobs this month after their teams were ousted from the postseason. Girardi now becomes the third.

In his decade in the Bronx, Girardi compiled a 910-710 record and was the third-longest-tenured active manager in the major leagues before he was let go, behind the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Scioscia and the San Francisco Giants’ Bruce Bochy.

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Girardi with General Manager Brian Cashman before this year’s American League wild-card game. The two had generally enjoyed a strong working relationship for the last decade.

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Ben Solomon for The New York Times

In recent years, he was able to get aging Yankee teams to at least stay in the hunt for a postseason berth. And then came the 2017 campaign, in which Girardi found himself presiding over a younger and, at times, dynamic roster that began to exceed just about everyone’s expectations as the season progressed.

It was a club that chased the Red Sox to the penultimate day of the regular season for the division title before ending up with a wild-card berth. And it was a club that then embarked on a postseason run that did not end until last weekend.

Girardi’s unyielding manner — be it his rigorous preparation or his sometimes-contentious back and forth with the news media — was reflected in that run, in which the Yankees twice rallied from two-games-to-none deficits in postseason series only to ultimately fall short.

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But it was during the postseason run that Girardi also came under fierce criticism for his managing. It grew out of the Yankees’ Game 2 loss in the division series against the Cleveland Indians, a game in which Girardi declined to ask for a replay review of a hit-by-pitch call — a decision that opened the door for an Indians comeback.

Girardi, who made a rare admission the next day — “I screwed up,” he said repeatedly at a news conference — was afforded a reprieve when the Yankees rallied to win the next three games to advance to the A.L.C.S. against the Houston Astros.

Still, the withering criticism that was directed at him after the Game 2 blunder seemed to affect him deeply and, for the first time, raised the notion that his decade in the Bronx had worn on him.

And Saturday night, after the Yankees were eliminated by the Astros, Girardi had an almost fatalistic tone as he discussed his baseball future. “I’ve had 10 great years here,” he said. “I feel extremely blessed. God has been good to me, and we’ll see what the future holds.”

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That same night, Cashman was vague in his assessment of Girardi and did not single him out for praise. “I think everybody did everything they possibly could to get where we wanted to go, to be the last team standing, and we fell short,’’ Cashman said.

Though Cashman and Girardi have divergent personalities and far different interests, they had generally enjoyed a strong working relationship.

“I think he knows that he can speak his mind in a constructive way with me, and I can speak my mind in a constructive way with him,” Cashman said at the start of the 2016 season. “There’s an openness that is encouraged here. I acquire the talent, and Joe deploys the talent, and sometimes you’ll have disagreements on players’ capabilities that I’ve acquired or strategies that he’s employing.

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Girardi spoke with players during the wild-card game this month. “I’ve had 10 great years here,” he said. “I feel extremely blessed. God has been good to me, and we’ll see what the future holds.”

Credit
Ben Solomon for The New York Times

“You’ve got to be able to work through those in a healthy manner to have a successful manager-general-manager relationship, and I’m proud to say we have that,” Cashman added.

But at a time when the ability to relate to players is becoming more valued, Girardi may have had some difficulties on that front. He became so frustrated this season over catcher Gary Sanchez’s inattentiveness in blocking pitches that he publicly called him out, a rarity for Girardi.

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And in the wake of Girardi’s botched replay decision, closer Aroldis Chapman “liked” a social media post that urged the Yankees not to bring Girardi back. Chapman later said he had done it inadvertently.

Girardi, who was chosen over Don Mattingly to replace Torre, as manager, had a rocky first season in 2008, when the Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time since the strike-aborted season of 1994. But the Yankees made an immediate turnaround and won the 2009 World Series — the 27th in franchise history — in a new stadium.

That championship also meant a change of uniform for Girardi. He switched to No. 28 — from No. 27 — because he wanted a visible reminder of the number of championships the Yankees had accumulated, along with the inference that another one would surely come soon enough. But it did not.

In an interview before the start of the 2017 season, Hal Steinbrenner largely absolved Girardi for the disappointments the Yankees had encountered, including a failure to make the playoffs in 2013, 2014 and 2016.

“Was any of what was going on the fault of Joe Girardi?,” Steinbrenner said. “Was Joe Girardi the fact we hadn’t made the playoffs in two to three years? Had he lost control of the team? Did the players no longer respect him? Is it a serious situation in that regard? And the answer to that in my opinion was no.

“There have been plenty of owners that have fired managers left and right and still aren’t winning,” Steinbrenner added. “So how well does that work?’’

Girardi, who has three children, has long touted the importance of family. He skipped a game this season in Tampa to attend the high school graduation of his oldest daughter, and he made it comfortable for players and coaches to leave the team for significant events in their lives.

And Girardi said last week that he would meet with his family after the season to gauge how they felt about him returning. “I’m not living my kids’ lives; I’m not living my wife’s life,” he said. “I’m living, in a sense, my life, so I don’t know what changes for them.”

Now, however, much has changed for Girardi. He is no longer the Yankees’ manager.


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