Joe Girardi’s contract with the Yankees expires at the end of the 2017 season, and it will be his last one with New York. Girardi will not return to the Yankees to manage them in 2018 and beyond, meaning New York will need to hire only its third manager since Joe Torre took over the team back in 1996.
Girardi has managed the Yankees since 2008, and brought them to a World Series title in 2009. The team went 910-710 under his guidance, despite a slew of expensive veteran signings who didn’t always work out as the Yankees hoped. New York returned to the postseason in 2017, thanks to the resurgence of some veterans combined with massive leaps forward for multiple young players, and when in the postseason, Girardi’s handling of the bullpen, in general, helped keep them moving forward.
It’s a bit of an odd call for New York, as Girardi is one of the more respected and successful managers out there, and manager prospects like Alex Cora and Mickey Callaway have already been hired. There are surely more rookies available, like David Martinez, however. There are also veterans out there — John Farrell, Dusty Baker — if the Yankees choose to go in that direction.
On the other hand, there were clear moments where Girardi would let his distrust of a player interfere with his decision-making. Game 2 of the ALDS, where he didn’t believe catcher Gary Sanchez on a play that should have been challenged right after pulling CC Sabathia from his start despite the veteran rolling against Cleveland, and those events leading to a grand slam that allowed the Indians to come back and win, was the most notable recent example.
New York might hope, like the Red Sox with the firing of Farrell, that there is an upgrade out there that they can lure, despite the fact their current manager is liked and successful. Whether they’re correct is another matter entirely, but you can see the line of reasoning, even if you believe the call to be odd.
Whoever takes over as manager will be stepping into one of the most enviable positions in the game, as the Yankees are flush with youth, talent, and money, and none of those situations are expected to change for the worse for some time. And if Girardi wants to manage again, and soon, there is another enviable position open in D.C. thanks to the Nationals’ firing of Baker.