The last two offseasons have featured similar hires by the Philadelphia Phillies at manager and in the front office.
After firing second-year manager Gabe Kapler following the 2019 offseason, they replaced him with Joe Girardi, a veteran who has won elsewhere. And now, with Matt Klentak stepping down within the organization, the Phillies have replaced him with Dave Dombrowski, who has also won elsewhere, as the President of Baseball Operations.
And, citing each other’s accomplishments, the pair of Girardi and Dombrowski appear excited to be working with each other in the coming seasons.
During a Zoom media availability last Friday, Dombrowski spoke highly of Girardi, who spent 10 seasons and won a World Series with the New York Yankees before joining the Phillies last year.
“We’re thrilled to have him. I think he’s a championship type of manager”, Dombrowski said. “And that’s what you look to have in every position, so we’re fortunate.”
Girardi’s first season with the Phillies was underwhelming from every standpoint. Even with an expanded playoff field and another eventful offseason that saw the Phillies bring in two All-Star caliber players, the team fell well short of expectations and missed the postseason for the ninth consecutive season.
Of course, the blame does not fall squarely on Girardi. Despite a talented roster on the surface, the bullpen was a complete disaster and a driving force in the Phillies extending what is now second-longest postseason drought in all of baseball.
Last week, the Phillies hired Dombrowski in hopes of turning the team around. The 64-year-old has led front offices in Montreal, Miami, Detroit and Boston, winning championships with the Marlins in 1997 and Red Sox in 2018. During his time in Detroit, the Tigers won two American League pennants.
While he is known to often give out bloated contracts that lead a team to a long rebuild period following success – like what the Tigers are currently enduring – Dombrowski has won to some extent at every juncture. And, noting this during a Zoom media availability on Monday, Girardi talked optimistically about being able to work with Dombrowski.
“I’ve known him for a long time and I’m excited because wherever he’s went, he’s built a winner”, Girardi said.
Now, Dombrowski faces the challenge of building a contending roster in an improving division. And while an apparent self-imposed budget could hold the team back in the short-term, Girardi thinks that hiring Dombrowski was a move in the right direction.
“I’m excited he’s here”, Girardi said.
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