The Chicago Cubs named former catcher David Ross as their next manager, replacing Joe Maddon as the bench boss at Wrigley Field.
That’s one more suitor out of the running for Joe Girardi, who remains linked with the Phillies.
Their main competition for the former Yankees skipper? The NL East-rival Mets, who are believed to have Girardi as one of their top options.
However, the Mets aren’t necessarily showing a true direction in their managerial search.
Girardi’s name is on a shortlist that also includes Carlos Beltran, Luis Rojas, Eduardo Perez, and Tim Bogar. However, a “bombshell” candidate, per reports, is also entering the fray to cast further uncertainty on the Mets’ intentions.
That’s good news for the Phillies, who seem to be closing in on Girardi, per multiple reports — some suggesting he will be named the team’s next manager sometime this week.
He interviewed for a second time with the Phillies on Monday before meeting with the Mets for a second time as well on Tuesday.
Per Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Girardi left Citizens Bank Park earlier this week as the “leading candidate.”
Signing Girardi to a deal would state the Phillies’ immediate intentions of going all-in in 2020. While upgrades to the bullpen, starting rotation, and bench are needed, a healthy Phillies team should make a considerable amount of noise in the National League.
Getting a baseball mind like Girardi’s — who brings a no-nonsense approach to the dugout — provides a manager that knows what it takes to win a World Series. He took the 2009 crown with the Yankees in just his third season as an MLB manager with personalities like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez in his ranks.
The 55-year-old is also known for his hesitancy to take advice from the front office. This is a manager that wants to fill out the lineup card on his own daily and receive little feedback from the general manager.
Given Matt Klentak’s shaky standing with the organization — Phillies owner John Middleton went over his head to bring on Charlie Manuel as the hitting coach before deciding to fire Gabe Kapler and conduct this managerial search — that might be exactly what the organization is looking for.
Among other initial managerial candidates for the Phillies were Buck Showalter and Dusty Baker, the two most experienced names on the market with a combined 42 years of service between them.
They would be the obvious fall-back options if Girardi goes to the Mets.