MLB managerial roundup: Joe Girardi takes over Phillies; Cubs hire Davis Ross
Philadelphia — 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, an ex-Tiger, 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.
Cubs hire Ross
The Chicago Cubs hired former catcher David Ross to replace Joe Maddon as their manager Thursday, hoping he can help them get back to the playoffs after missing out for the first since 2014.
The Cubs announced a three-year deal with Ross with a club option for the 2023 season. He becomes the 55th manager in club history.
The 42-year-old Ross played the final two of his 15 major league seasons with the Cubs and was a revered leader on the 2016 team that won the World Series, ending a championship drought dating to 1908. He spent the past three years in Chicago’s front office and was widely viewed as a potential replacement for Maddon, who compiled a 471-339-1 record in five seasons.
“I’m honored by this opportunity to be the next manager of the Chicago Cubs,” Ross said in a statement. “My time with this organization has been special since the day I joined, so to continue with the club in this role is a blessing for which I’m so very thankful.”
Chairman Tom Ricketts described Ross as a “proven winner.” And president of baseball operations Theo Epstein called him “as gifted a leader as I’ve ever come across.”
Ross has no coaching or managing experience. But he played a huge role in reshaping the culture of the Cubs’ clubhouse and was affectionately nicknamed “Grandpa Rossy” by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.
At age 39, he became the oldest player to homer in a Game 7 of the World Series when he connected off Andrew Miller in the sixth inning in Cleveland. The Cubs went on to win in the 10th, and Ross got carried off the field and into retirement by Rizzo and Jason Heyward.
Houston bench coach Joe Espada, ex-Yankees manager and former Cubs catcher Joe Girardi, former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, bench coach Mark Loretta and third-base coach Will Venable were also known to have interviewed. Girardi was hired by the Phillies in a move also announced Thursday.
Ross takes over for a manager who will be tied to Chicago forever because of the 2016 team’s championship run.
While praising Maddon at the end of the season and portraying the Cubs’ issues as organizational, president of baseball operations Epstein said he wanted someone who will bring a culture of accountability to the clubhouse.
Only four other managers in franchise history have more victories than Maddon. The Cubs reached the NLCS in 2015 and 2017 and made the playoffs his first four years. But they lost in the wild-card round last October and tumbled out of the playoff race altogether this year. Weighed down by a puzzling discrepancy between their 51 wins at Wrigley Field and 33 road victories, the Cubs finished third in the NL Central at 84-78.
The Cubs were in position to make the playoffs for much of the season. They had a half-game lead in the NL Central on Aug. 22. They had control of an NL wild card into September.
But a nine-game slide, including five consecutive one-run losses for the first time since 1915, wiped out their postseason chances and sealed Maddon’s fate.
With an expiring contract, he and the club parted ways. Maddon wound up taking the job with the Los Angeles Angels.
Padres hire Tingler
The San Diego Padres are turning to another rookie manager as they try to bridge the difficult gap between rebuilding and contending.
The Padres have hired Jayce Tingler from the Texas Rangers to take over a team that has missed the playoffs for 13 straight seasons and hasn’t had a winning record in nine years, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday.
The person spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the hiring hasn’t been announced.
Another person familiar with the process said the team is still finalizing a contract with Tingler, 38. An introductory news conference won’t be held until next week, after the World Series ends.
Tingler has most recently been on the Rangers’ coaching staff as major league player development field coordinator, working with outfielders and baserunners. His only previous managerial experience has been at the lowest rungs, including guiding Leones del Escogido to a 9-1 start in the Dominican Winter League.
He replaces Andy Green, who was blamed for the Padres’ second-half collapse when he was fired with eight games left in the season. Green had no previous big league managing experience when he was hired before the 2016 season.
Tingler beat out Ron Washington, the former Rangers manager who is now third base coach with the Atlanta Braves.
Padres general manager A.J. Preller worked with both Tingler and Washington when he was in the Rangers’ front office.
Tingler didn’t play at the major league level. He played at Missouri before playing four seasons in the minors, topping out at Double-A.
He faces tremendous expectations from ownership and a long-suffering fan base. The Padres were last in the NL West at 70-92 even after signing Manny Machado to a $300 million contract and promoting top rookies Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack.
They were 45-45 at the All-Star break but then collapsed. Machado had a disappointing first season with the Padres and Tatis, easily the team’s most exciting player, missed the last 1 ½ months with a stress reaction in his lower back. Tatis also missed all of May with a hamstring injury.