NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees general manager Brian Cashman decided it “was time for a new voice and a fresh voice” in New York’s clubhouse, concluding Joe Girardi was not the right manager for a team that has reoriented toward youth.
New York announced Oct. 26 that Girardi was not being offered a new contract, closing out a 10-year run that ended when the Yankees lost Game 7 of the AL Championship Series to Houston, the eventual World Series champion.
“The issue and the concerns were,” Cashman explained, “ability to fully engage, communicate, connect with the playing personnel. And in saying that there might be a tough hurdle for someone that’s been in that particular position as a manager for 10 years.”
The GM said he doesn’t have a timetable for a decision on a replacement and plans to interview candidates from both inside and outside the organization.
Cashman said he informed owner Hal Steinbrenner of his Girardi analysis on Oct. 23, two days after New York’s season ended. Cashman met Girardi the next day.
“I made that recommendation based on … some experiences that I was able to validate, whether it’s directly or indirectly about the connectivity and the communication level with the players in that clubhouse,” Cashman said Monday in his first comments about the decision.
New York began its transition in August 2016 when it released Alex Rodriguez and traded several veterans for prospects.
“Once that cleared out, I felt we had new opportunities to re-engage and reconnect and have channels maybe open a little bit easier,” Cashman said. “When I saw that that wasn’t happening to the level of I think that was necessary as we move forward, that’s when the recommendation came by myself to Hal Steinbrenner.”
Cashman did not go into specifics, saying “I don’t think it’s fair to any of the individual players.”
In August, Girardi publicly criticized catcher Gary Sanchez for his poor defense and benched him for a game at Cleveland. Cashman did not factor in Girardi’s failure to call for a video review when Chad Green was ruled to have hit Cleveland’s Lonnie Chisenhall with a pitch in a Game 2 Division Series loss. Girardi admitted he made a mistake.
“The challenge issue had nothing to do with the decision-making here,” Cashman said.
A catcher with the Yankees from 1996-99 who won three titles, Girardi managed the Florida Marlins in 2006. He replaced Joe Torre as Yankees manager before the 2008 season and went 910-710, leading New York to the 2009 World Series title, three first-place finishes in the AL East and two wild-card berths.
Girardi was at the end of his four-year contract. The retooled Yankees went 91-71 this season for their best record since 2012, defeated Minnesota in the AL wild-card game and overcame 2-0 deficit to beat Cleveland in a five-game Division Series.
“Is there a shelf life to somebody’s abilities in one particular market or not? I guess that might be the question that’s really more on the table than anything else,” Cashman said. “I would highly recommend him in another environment.”
Cashman would not say whether a pennant or World Series win this year would have changed the decision.
“It’s a tough to put a hypothetical in there,” he said.
Candidates internally and externally will be considered, and each person interviewed will have question-and-answer sessions with media. He is willing to consider people with no manager experience.
Cashman’s contract also is expiring and he said the team is open to a new deal for him. He has been the GM since February 1998.
“I have had a few conversations with Hal Steinbrenner,” Cashman said. “They haven’t been concluded yet.”