Strong bond between Girardi, Dombrowski will help Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi (Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi (Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports) /

It was a natural fit for Philadelphia Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to join the organization. The two-time World Series champion’s previous, longstanding relationship with manager Joe Girardi made the hire even more like it was meant to be.

This will only help the team this coming season and beyond, as it looks to be a serious postseason contender for the first time since 2011.

Dave Dombrowski has known Joe Girardi for more than three decades.

“I have known Joe for many years. I always got along well with him,” Dombrowski told Kevin Frandsen in a recent Pine Tar for Breakfast podcast. “I’ve always had a great deal of respect for him.”

Dombrowski’s respect for the fellow Illinois native dates back not years, but decades. Back when the catcher Girardi was playing for Northwestern University in the mid-1980s, before being drafted in the fifth round of the 1986 draft by the Chicago Cubs, Dombrowski saw him play while he was the assistant general manager for the Chicago White Sox.

"“And then, just a small world of all small worlds, about half a dozen years ago. Between Christmas and New Year’s was when my wife and our two children would always get away for the holidays. We generally went to a warm-weather climate and would travel with another family. It just so happened that the one year that we went to Turks and Caicos — it was a private resort area and they offered an all-inclusive for the kids to have all their food and entertainment — Joe was there with his family that particular year. So, it was just a total coincidence. It’s not like we hung out together all the time, but we did have a chance to visit.” – Dave Dombrowski"

Then came the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees rivalry between the two, which surprisingly lasted just two-plus seasons. Dombrowski first joined the Red Sox front office in mid-August 2015, while Girardi had already been manager of the Yankees since 2008 — and would stay in his role until he was fired after the 2017 season.

“I have had a good chance to know Joe throughout the years,” Dombrowski continued. “Even though there was a Yankee-Red Sox rivalry, which was not friendly by any means, we were in a position where we had a good relationship.”

Dombrowski even had a good relationship with Girardi’s pitching coach with the Yankees, Larry Rothschild, who he considered a very good friend he had known for years — from the south side of Chicago, as well as when he was pitching coach on his 1997 Florida Marlins championship team.

Dave Dombrowski could not believe the Yankees fired Joe Girardi in 2017.

In Dombrowski’s mind, he always thought Girardi was a good major league manager and was in “complete shock” when the Yankees let him go. “I always thought that he was, by far, the top manager out there sitting there to be hired by someone,” he said. “You have the utmost respect for how he has managed. I’ve watched him manage many games. He always had a pulse of what was taking place, handled his bullpen well, his staff and club … really everything.”

Then came the Phillies, who eventually hired Girardi to replace Gabe Kapler in the dugout, as well as Dombrowski to essentially replace both Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak in the front office.

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Joe Girardi says Dave Dombrowski has brought ‘high energy’ to the Phillies.

Not even being at the helm of the Phillies front office for 80 days, Dombrowski has already brought what Girardi describes as “high energy” to the team.

“I don’t know how he did it,” the skipper said earlier this week on SportsRadio 94 WIP. “I think he went from like 6 p.m. to midnight, every day since he got here, trying to be in touch with all the other GMs, talk to agents and his whole staff. You’re talking 200 people.”

Girardi said Dombrowski just loves the game and putting teams together, adding that he has been really successful and his track record is “fantastic.”

“I have loved working with him and am excited about the future of the Phillies with what he’s done,” Girardi continued. “You look at a lot of the additions. It’s not like it ties us up for a long time. I just think he’s really bright, he’s done this, and has a ton of experience.

“He is going to be really good for us.”

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