Dave Dombrowski says the Phillies won’t fire Joe Girardi during the season, but his words aren’t a vote of confidence in the manager
Joe Girardi’s job is secure… for now.
The issue of the Philadelphia Phillies manager’s job security has been brewing since last fall when President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski let slip to the media that he didn’t know Girardi had a team option for 2023. It could’ve been an honest mistake, but the idea also took root that Dombrowski planned to replace him once the 2022 season ends.
Dombrowski’s admission led to Girardi being labeled a “lame-duck manager” before the 2022 season campaign began, and a few snafus and poor management decisions haven’t helped his case. Less than two months into the season, fans have already questioned his integrity and called for him to be fired multiple times. On occasion, Philly media members have echoed the sentiment.
But would the Phillies actually fire Girardi during the season? According to Dombrowski, it won’t happen. He effectively shut down the speculation on Monday, however, his comments certainly weren’t a vote of confidence:
"“I don’t ever get into evaluating managers during the season. As I’ve always said to people, Joe’s been fine. I talk to Joe and communicate with him all the time and I’ll just say this: My support of a manager is that they’re managing. If I didn’t support them, they wouldn’t be managing.“Joe’s our manager and I’m happy to be working with him. Hey, we’re all in a position that we’re not happy with the way the club has played, Joe, myself, the players. We have to be better.”"
Quite a ringing endorsement.
Dombrowski’s choice of words with “our manager” rather than “my manager” is also notable. Perhaps that’s parsing a bit too much, but it’s likely Dombrowski wants to hire a manager of his choosing.
Girardi led the New York Yankees to their most recent World Series championship in 2009, ironically, against the Phillies. However, that was the most successful season of his Bronx tenure. His time in Philadelphia has been short, but not fruitful, though a significant portion of the blame for that falls on the front office’s poor roster construction; a manager can only do so much with what he’s given.
If the Phillies turn this season around and reach the postseason for the first time since 2011, Girardi might have a chance at getting his option picked up. If not, Dombrowski will be replacing “our manager” with his manager.