Should the Phillies consider moving on from Joe Girardi?

Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports) /

While the Phillies sit four and a half games out of the division and only three and a half out of the wild card race, one could argue the Phillies season is close to over.

The Phillies lost three of four against the Rockies at home and have repeatedly struggled against bad competition, including the Rockies who they are 2-5 against after this series.

The Phillies will have a lot of questions to answer this off-season. Among them, what will they do with the player development after cleaning house? How will they surround their core of Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler, JT Realmuto, and other good pieces such as Kyle Gibson and Rhys Hoskins?

Should the Phillies part ways with Joe Girardi at the end of the 2021 season?

But the biggest question is, should the Phillies look to move on from former World Series winner Joe Girardi? It is easy to argue why they should keep him. He won a championship with the Yankees in 2009 and has over a decade of managerial experience.

But does that matter to the Phillies right now? That is the past, not the present and the present looks bleak.

Let’s look at some of Girardi’s worst managerial moments from this season (so far)…

Against the Mets on May 2, Girardi went to David Hale in the top of the eighth inning with the bases loaded after both José Alvarado and Brandon Kintzler were only able to get one out. Hale allowed 3 unearned runs. The Phillies rallied to score 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th, only to lose by 1.

Did David Hale need to pitch in that game, in that situation?

Earlier in the year against the Rockies, Girardi again used David Hale in a high-leverage spot and Hale allowed a grand slam to Trevor Story. At least this time the game wasn’t close after that as the flood gates opened and the Phillies lost 12-2.

Since being traded to the Phillies, Ian Kennedy has a 6.59 ERA and a 7.77 FIP along with two blown saves, yet remains in the closer role over more viable options. Sam Coonrod hasn’t allowed a run in the first inning he pitches since returning from injury, and Héctor Neris has a 0.49 ERA and a 1.52 FIP over the same span as Kennedy.

Girardi’s words are as perplexing as his actions. Why is he so stubborn in situations that clearly aren’t working?

There are several other instances where Girardi has failed to handle the pitching staff correctly. In the same week, Girardi left both Nola and Wheeler in too long against the Padres and Rays. The Phillies lost both games.

Are Joe Girardi’s decisions costing the Phillies games?

With the lineup, Girardi isn’t much better. All of June and July, Odúbel Herrera was hitting .212 with a .248 on-base, and just .363 slugging, yet he was their everyday leadoff hitter.

Girardi has also chosen veterans over higher-performing young players. Nick Maton has a 94 OPS+ in 131 plate appearances, which is nothing special, except Ronald Torreyes, who has a 77 OPS+, is getting over 300 plate appearances.

Girardi has also preferred playing Travis Jankowski, a 30-year-old journeyman who has a 96 OPS+ and only plays the outfield over Matt Vierling, who has a 164 OPS+ in the Majors. Vierling is a right-handed bat on a heavy lefty bench, who can play third and first base along with the outfield.

If this isn’t enough, the manager the Phillies fired in 2019 Gabe Kapler has 91 wins in San Francisco and is likely going to win NL Manager of the year with worse top-end talent than Girardi. Kapler is also praised as one of the best managers in the game, Girardi isn’t.

The Phillies were positioned to win the NL East and have thrown it away once again

While some of the blame for the Phillies season belongs to underperformers like Alec Bohm, Didi Gregorius, and Aaron Nola, the Phillies also had a lot go their way this year. The NL East is much weaker than expected with the Mets at just 71-71, and the Nationals committing to a massive rebuild. Meanwhile, Ranger Suarez having a 4.4 bWAR wasn’t expected, Bryce Harper is in the conversation for MVP, and Zack Wheeler is having a career year, yet the Phillies still can’t figure it out.

While not everything is Girardi’s fault, some of the blame has to be on him, and maybe the Phillies would be better off moving on sooner rather than later.

Next. Phillies’ playoff odds worse after rough weekend against Rockies. dark