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Bryce Harper gives honest thoughts on firing of Joe Girardi


Bryce Harper is in his fourth season with the Phillies. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Bryce Harper is in the fourth season of a 13-year/$330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, and after Friday morning’s dismissal of Joe Girardi, he’s on to his third manager in Rob Thomson.

Prior to the Thomson Era starting with a three-game set against the Los Angeles Angels Friday, Harper was asked what responsibility players bear for Girardi’s firing.

“I mean, I think it falls definitely partly on the players,” Harper told the collective media, including Howard Eskin of SportsRadio 94 WIP. “That’s all of sports, right? Any sport that you think of, a coach who gets the dagger or he leaves, it’s usually partly on the players and partly on the staff as well. I mean as much as it’s on us, it’s on him as well. It’s on both of us at this point, and he took it.”

At 22-29, it’s hard to make a case that the Phillies haven’t underachieved as a team. Is the roster flawed? Sure, the Phillies have -25 defensive runs saved, the second worst mark in the league. The bullpen has struggled recently, with closer Corey Knebel blowing three saves and posting a 5.40 ERA in May. The 2022 Phillies don’t have a World Series-caliber roster.

But at the same time, is this roster so poor that the Phillies should be 12 games back of the New York Mets in the National League East on June 3? Not only are the Phillies seemingly out of the division race, but they are 5 1/2 games back of the third Wild Card spot in the National League. What was billed as one of the game’s elite offenses has already been shut out on five occasions.

There are systemic problems that have existed in the Phillies organization long before Girardi arrived, and they won’t be fixed by just turning the page on another disappointing era in team history. But are the Phillies going to be a worse team for firing Girardi? That’s hard to imagine.

With Girardi gone, though, even more scrutiny will shift to the players. Harper has more than held up his end of his contract thus far, as the reigning NL MVP is slashing .303/.359/.584 in 2022. But the Phillies unquestionably need more consistent offensive thump from Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, Alec Bohm, Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto than what they’ve gotten so far in 2022. And Girardi isn’t with the Phillies to be the first line of blame anymore if results don’t drastically improve for a team with a $230 million payroll.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Sharone

    June 4, 2022 at 8:38 am

    I disagree with the “I think it falls definitely “partly” on the players” comment. Much more than “partly”. They are highly paid professionals, so they need to play like professionals! Too many stupid errors, lack of good pitching, hitters who can’t clutch hit, etc. What good is having long ball hitters when they can’t hit consistently??? The Phillies are desperate for some good relief pitchers, what they have will never get them to the world series. The front office is to blame for their choice in players. Maybe the Phillies front office needs some revamping!

    • Dave Goodwin

      June 6, 2022 at 10:57 pm

      I have read those other posts, & only yours makes sense. I agree all the way. I read, heard (?), Joe ask Dombrowski, @end of season, ” get me bullpen help. And it did not happen. A seasoned player like Segura does not know how to bunt. How to hold the bat? Joe was my choice for manager in the beginning, WINNING A WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP in his past, wow, and now he is no good? Wrong guy got fired. Try the guy who pulled the trigger. There is the failure.- Rob Thompson? I never saw a man so forlorn looking, when given a job his best friend just got fired from, BUT, it’s the job Joe has been preparing him for. So I will root, since I have sine 1947, but, let’s win it for Joe.

  2. Rossi

    June 4, 2022 at 11:40 am

    I see more “LITTLE LEAGUE” plays daily from supposed MAJOR LEAUGE players. Not just in Philadelphia but in MLB as a whole. Woo many teams and not enough quality players.

  3. George Waidelich

    June 4, 2022 at 5:52 pm

    I think Girardi HAD to go. While I believe Joe is a great baseball mind, as he proved his knowledge of the game in some other previous jobs, managing, coaching, playing, and as an analyst on MLB network, (where I heard enough from him to have had him as my 1st choice to succeed Kapler). However, something didn’t click with Joe and this ballclub. His 1 GIANT flaw that I believe was the fireable offense was his handling of the bullpen. In my opinion, James Norwood has no business on a MLB roster. Joe brought him in to a 9th inning of the 1st game of a Mets series, up 7-1, and left him there until it was 7-4, with 2 on and just 1 out. Knebel then was rushes to get loose(maybe 10-12 pitches to get loose) and was brought in to try to finish it and didn’t get it done. That changed a possible momentum shift for Phillies to take a few games from NYM, and set the freefall of losing that they got into in motion. He also mismanaged roles of RPs from the start. Seranthony Dominguez should have been your 1st RH option to close games/take the 8th, maybe the 7th inning(depending on matchups with Brad Hand being the LH option to close/pitch the 8th). Jeurys Familia, is a terrible pitcher when the team has a lead. I would have never signed him. Over the past few years, he was the Mets newer version of Aaron Heilman, who the Phillies would always mount comebacks on,as he walks leadoff hitters, and doesn’t pitch well from the stretch. Joe had him as the 1st setup guy to begin the season. If the team would setup the bullpen with Dominguez, Knebel, Hand, Alvarado (Joe mismanaged from the start), Brogdon, F.Morales, C.Sanchez,/Falter, whichever one isnt being stretched out for starter depth, & Nelson as their top 8, Bellatti, is fine if they want him in as the long man also, but if those guys are given their roles, I think the bullpen will not just be ok, but very successful in preserving leads. Girardi’s bullpen since he arrived, has been abysmal. We’re talking historically bad, and the main reason they didn’t reach the playoffs in either season, and why he doesn’t manage the team today.

  4. john

    June 5, 2022 at 10:44 am

    Couldn’t believe Hoskins was wearing an earpiece out on the field last night. And communicating to the talking heads on Fox Sports, to boot! He’s one of the worst fielding first basemen in the majors, and he ain’t even batting his own weight. If I’m the GM, I’m moving him yesterday. He’s been stinking up the dugout and clubhouse for too long now. Longer than Joe Giradi.

  5. seahawk7

    June 6, 2022 at 6:22 am

    Agree with the comment about Hoskins. Especially in yesterday’s game. Granted we won and Bryce and Bryson bailed the team out big time. But, Hoskins is up before Bryce in yesterday’s 8th inning with the bases loaded with one out. He works the count to 3-2 and swings at ball four. Now only did he strike out, but he swings at a pitch that was low and a foot outside. Then he misplays that ball in the top of the 9th to give the Angels the lead. He looked overmatched on that grounder to first. You have to make that play in that situation, period. Batting in the mid 220’s over 2 months into the season. He is a streak hitter, but the streaks are coming less and less.

  6. Berksbaseball

    June 6, 2022 at 11:02 am

    JT needs to play first more, Stubbs will provide more offense than Hoskins

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