PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Phillies got their man.
Philadelphia hired former Yankees manager Joe Girardi to replace Gabe Kapler on Thursday. Girardi will be introduced at a news conference Monday.
“I’m excited for this next chapter of my career,” Girardi said in a statement. “The Phillies have a strong commitment to winning from the owners to the front office to the players to the fans. It’s something that I’ve seen up close for the last 30 years of my baseball career. I played against the great Phillies players of the early ‘90s from Dutch Daulton to John Kruk to Dave Hollins, and I managed against their teams during the incredible run they had from 2008 to 2011. To have my name now associated with this great franchise is something that I couldn’t be happier about.”
It was a busy day around the league for managerial hirings. The Chicago Cubs tabbed former catcher David Ross to replace Joe Maddon, and the San Diego Padres turned to rookie manager Jayce Tingler. The Los Angeles Angels introduced Joe Maddon.
Kapler was fired after an injury-depleted team went 81-81 despite significant offseason additions highlighted by Bryce Harper’s arrival. He was 161-163 in his two seasons. The Phillies also interviewed Dusty Baker and Buck Showalter. Girardi was the favorite among vocal fans, who didn’t accept Kapler mainly because of his California-cool personality.
Girardi was one of the most prominent candidates to fill vacant managerial spots across baseball. He also interviewed with the Cubs and New York Mets.
“Joe brings high character and a tremendous work ethic to his position, and he is a proven winner,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. “I look forward to working with him and I believe that he is the right manager to lead our team to the next level.”
Girardi succeeded Joe Torre after the 2007 season and spent a decade in pinstripes. He led New York to its 27th World Series title, beating the Phillies in six games in 2009. He also managed the Marlins one season and was NL Manager of the Year after going 78-84 in 2006, the only manager in the history of the award to win it with a losing record.
Girardi’s record with the Yankees was 910-710, the sixth most wins in team history. Girardi won at least 84 games each season in New York and had four years with 95 or more, including 103 in 2009. He led the Yankees to three AL East titles and six postseason appearances.
The 55-year-old Girardi hit .267 as a catcher for 15 seasons in the majors. He won three championships with the Yankees in the 1990s and was an All-Star for the Cubs in 2000.
The Phillies haven’t had a winning season since 2011 when they finished a run of five straight NL East titles, two pennants and one World Series championship under Charlie Manuel.
Phillies CEO John Middleton fired Kapler, overruling Klentak and team president Andy MacPhail. Both men face a critical offseason trying to address the team’s needs. The Phillies sorely lack pitching, especially starters.
“Matt did a great job running the search, culminating with the three exceptional candidates we interviewed,” Middleton said. “Ultimately, we all agree that Joe is the right person to lead our team, and I am excited to welcome him to the Phillies.”
Girardi is the 55th manager in franchise history. He’ll wear No. 25.