The manager won’t return to the team next season, both sides announced Thursday. Girardi’s four-year, $16 million contract is set to expire at the end of the month.
In a statement, Girardi indicated it was not a mutual parting of the ways. WFAN baseball insider Jon Heyman reported there was tension between the manager and the front office this season.
“With a heavy heart, I come to you because the Yankees have decided not to bring me back,” Girardi said in a statement. “I’d like to thank the Steinbrenner family for believing in me and giving me this wonderful opportunity. I would like to thank (general manager) Brian Cashman and his staff for hiring me and always trying to improve the team.”
Girardi also thanked his coaches, players and others.
“Finally, I’d like to thank the Fans for their great support as a Player, Coach and Manager and the lasting memories of their passion and excitement during the Playoff Games, especially the final six (home) games which will remain in my heart forever,” said Girardi, who led a supposedly rebuilding Yankees team within one game of the American League pennant this season.
In a statement released by the Yankees, Cashman said: “I want to thank Joe for his 10 years of hard work and service to this organization. Everything this organization does is done with careful and thorough consideration, and we’ve decided to pursue alternatives for the managerial position.
“As Hal Steinbrenner and I mentioned to Joe directly this week, he has been a tremendous Yankee on the field and away from it, as a player, coach and manager. He has a tireless work ethic, and put his heart into every game he managed over the last decade. He should take great pride in our accomplishments during his tenure, and I wish Joe and his family nothing but success and happiness in the future.
Girardi, 53, managed the Yankees since 2008, going 910-710. His teams have reached the playoffs six times, won three American League East titles and won the World Series in 2009. He also played for the Bronx Bomers from 1996-99, winning three World Series titles.
Girardi was mostly well regarded by fans during his 10 seasons in New York, but he felt their wrath after not challenging a play in Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians. The home-plate umpire ruled that Cleveland’s Lonnie Chisenhall was hit by a pitch, but video replay showed the ball struck only the knob of his bat. The play loaded the bases for the Indians, and the next batter, Francisco Lindor, hit a grand slam that cut an 8-3 deficit to 8-7. Cleveland went on to win the game in extra innings. Girardi was loudly booed when he returned to Yankee Stadium two nights later.
The Yankees, however, bounced back to win the final three games of the series and earned a spot in the American League Championship Series, where they lost to the Astros in seven games.
ESPN’s Ian O’Connor reported Thursday that the front office had long pushed Girardi “to apply a more human touch to the job.”
There was mixed reaction among Yankees fans Thursday.
“To hear that he was fired, I don’t understand why,” one fan told CBS2. “He came a long way. He brought the team far. Everybody did great. They didn’t make it to the World Series, but they made it pretty far, so I don’t agree with it.”
“That’s unbelievable, I thought he did a good job,” another fan told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “Look at where he got them, nobody expected that.”
“I actually think he’s the reason why the team got to where they were this year, it’s because of him,” fan Steve Willard said.
Another fan said he was happy that a new, young staff would come in to coach a team will plenty of young players.
Another fan wasn’t shocked telling 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa, “His time was up, he struggles with his pitchers, doesn’t know how to rotate them, takes them out too soon.”
The New York Post mentioned a few possible candidates to possibly replace Girardi: Mets hitting coach Kevin Long, who was the Yankees’ hitting coach from 2007-14; Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson; and former Philadelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, a former pro scout for the Yankees.
Cashman is also set to become a free agent, but Heyman reported that he’s heard “you can take it to the bank” that Cashman will return for his 21st season as the team’s GM.