Phillies: Joe Girardi excited with Dave Dombrowski hire
By Matt Rappa
Joe Girardi and Dave Dombrowski are looking forward to working with each other as members of the Phillies organization.
It is possible that Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski have not met in person since their days with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox organizations, respectively.
Now, the former American League East rivals — with multiple World Series championships as either a player, manager, or executive — are now working toward the same goal of getting the Phillies their third-ever league title. Already, the two have great respect for each other.
“I’m really excited because wherever he [has gone], he’s built a winner,” Girardi told reporters on Monday about Dombrowski, who won World Series while with the Florida Marlins in 1997 and Red Sox in 2018.
During his introductory press conference on Friday, Dombrowski said that he was “always impressed” with Girardi and thinks of him as a “very good” and “intelligent” baseball and family man, as well as a “really good manager.”
“When we played against him, you knew that he knew how to handle the ballclub and his pitching staff,” Dombrowski said. “They were always prepared, played hard, and played well.”
Dombrowski added that Girardi is a person who he has gotten to know throughout the years, adding: “I like him a lot; we’re thrilled to have him. I think he’s a championship type of manager and that’s what you look to have in every position. We’re fortunate.”
Higher leaders being on the same page is critical for success in any organization, and one in Major League Baseball is no exception. Both Girardi and Dombrowski are in agreement that the team is currently in a “retool” stage, rather than a “rebuild.”
“I do believe it is a retool because we have some really solid pieces,” said Girardi, citing the Phillies’ top three starting pitchers in Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin. “I always believe we can make the playoffs.”
One of the most important aspects of the offseason to help ensure the Phillies remain in a “retool” state — and are not downgraded to a “rebuild” — is re-signing perennial All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Dombrowski said on Friday that while everyone in the organization loves Realmuto and there is a “unanimous feeling” that they would like to re-sign him, he is “really not sure” of its feasibility.
“Those things are never easy — a lot of us have dealt with free-agent markets in the past,” Dombrowski said. “That feeling is mutual, from John [Middleton] on down through the rest of the staff. There is some flexibility to make moves there.”
Girardi likewise could not guarantee Realmuto, nor shortstop Didi Gregorius, would return in 2021, given it takes two sides to make a deal. If asked, the skipper said he “absolutely” would be willing to get involved to convince (at least Realmuto) to stay in red pinstripes, adding: “I believe in this organization and that’s part of my job.”
Regardless of whether Realmuto returns or not, Girardi noted that the Phillies currently only have one Major League-ready catcher on the roster in Andrew Knapp, and that “must be addressed.” He said the club is always looking at backup plans, especially as players get taken off the board.
“Sometimes your Plan B becomes Plan C or Plan D,” he said.
The Phillies reportedly had interest in free-agent catcher James McCann, had Realmuto signed with another team. Instead, the New York Mets recently inked the veteran to a four-year, $40-plus million deal.