At 22-29, the Philadelphia Phillies are off to their worst start since start since 2017, and it has cost manager Joe Girardi his job. The Phillies announced Friday they have relieved Girardi of his duties. Coaching assistant Bobby Meacham has been let go as well. Bench coach Rob Thomson will serve as interim manager and quality assurance coach Mike Calitri has been elevated to bench coach.
"It has been a frustrating season for us up until this point, as we feel that our club has not played up to its capabilities," president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. "While all of us share the responsibility for the shortcomings, I felt that a change was needed and that a new voice in the clubhouse would give us the best chance to turn things around. I believe we have a talented group that can get back on track, and I am confident that Rob, with his experience and familiarity with our club, is the right man to lead us going forward."
Earlier this week Girardi, who led the Phillies to a 132-141 record in two seasons plus two months as manager, . The Phillies have lost 12 of their last 17 games, including several heartbreakers in the late innings. They are 12 games behind the first place New York Mets in the NL East.
"I don't worry about my job," . "I've never worried about my job. I don't worry about my job. I've got to do my job. It's the business of being a manager. I don't worry about it."
The Phillies have not been to the postseason since 2011 -- they have the National League's longest postseason drought -- and they are currently 5 1/2 games behind the third and final wild card spot, though there are five teams ahead of them in the standings. The Phillies have a worse record than the Pittsburgh Pirates (22-27) and the same record as the Chicago Cubs (22-29).
Philadelphia's roster is a hodgepodge of mismatching parts, including multiple players whose best position is DH (Nick Castellanos, Rhys Hoskins, Kyle Schwarber), a weak middle infield, no true center fielder, and a shaky bullpen. Girardi did not put this roster together, though he didn't maximize what he was given either. He's been scrutinized for his recent bullpen usage in particular.
Girardi, 57, owns a career managerial record of 1,120-935 (.545) that also includes stops with the then-Florida Marlins (2006) and New York Yankees (2008-17). If Dombrowski's line about needing a "new voice in the clubhouse" sounds familiar, it's because Yankees GM Brian Cashman gave a similar reason when explaining his decision to part ways with Girardi in 2017.
Of course, that "new voice" will be Thomson, one of Girardi's longtime confidants and a member of his coaching staff throughout his time with the Yankees. Thomson is a baseball lifer who has held a variety of coaching and front office roles. The Phillies say he will serve as the team's interim manager through the end of the 2022 season.
"I am extremely excited for this opportunity and I appreciate the confidence Dave has shown in me," Thomson said in a statement. "Having said that, this is an emotional day for me, having worked so closely with Joe for so many years. This has been my home now for the last five years and I care deeply about this franchise, this city, our players, our coaches, our staff and our fans. I am ready to lead this team and look forward to getting to work and turning this around."