In a move that seemed inevitable for quite a while, the Philadelphia Phillies elected to fire manager Joe Girardi on Friday. Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced that bench coach Rob Thomson will take over as the team’s interim manager for the remainder of the 2022 season.
Ahead of the Phillies’ home series opener against the Los Angeles Angels, Bryce Harper took some time to chime in on the team’s call to part ways with Girardi. The reigning National League MVP Award winner did not pinpoint the blame on a single person for the Phillies' 22-29 start to the campaign but rather noted that the players and Girardi deserve a fair share of accountability on this matter.
“I think it definitely falls partly on the players,” Harper said. “In all sports, any sport, the coach gets the dagger. It's usually partly on the players and partly on the staff, as well. As much as it's on us, it's on him, as well. It's on both of us and at this point he took it.
“It all comes down to winning, and we just haven't done that. As a team, there's blame on us, as well. There's not just blame on Joe. We haven't played to the best of our ability. We haven't done the things to be the team that we should be.”
Girardi was named the Phillies’ new manager after the 2019 season. The team also interviewed Dusty Baker and Buck Showalter for the vacant position, but it instead opted to hire Girardi, who was just years removed from his notable managerial stint with the New York Yankees.
Multiple factors marred Girardi’s tenure with the Phillies. Inconsistent production from the team’s bullpen unit was much a talking point during his three-season run in Philadelphia. More so, the Phillies offense has had a roller-coaster start to the 2022 campaign, which includes posting a .310 OBP through 51 games played.
In the end, Dombrowski touched base with team owner John Middleton before deciding to part ways with Girardi.
The Phillies, who boast a $233.2 million payroll this season, will now look ahead to their upcoming series with the Angels before going on the road to square off with the Milwaukee Brewers for a three-game set.