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One week ago, the Yankees were on the verge of a trip to the World Series. Today, they are looking for a new manager.
Joe Girardi confirmed reports Thursday morning that he’s out as New York’s manager after 10 seasons on the job. He compiled a 910-710 (.562) record in that time, with six trips to the postseason and one World Series championship in 2009.
Expectations were modest for the Yankees this season in what was viewed as a “rebuilding year,” but the club ended up winning 91 games behind rookie MVP candidate Aaron Judge and emerging ace Luis Severino. The Yankees went on to defeat the Twins in the Wild Card game before ousting the heavily-favored Indians in the ALDS. The team’s unexpected ride came to an end in Game 7 of the ALCS against the Astros last Saturday.
Given Girardi’s sustained success in the job, the change came as a surprise to many, but a lot has changed in 10 years. He’s now surrounded by a young core and the dynamic between manager and front office continues to evolve as reliance on analytics becomes the norm. Ideally, the Yankees will find someone who can relate to the team’s young players and work in unison with the vision of Brian Cashman and the rest of the front office. It’s a sign of the times in the game.
It’s unclear who might fit the Yankees' criteria, but catching coordinator Josh Paul, bench coach Rob Thompson, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Al Pedrique, High-A Tampa manager Jay Bell, and Mets hitting coach Kevin Long have been mentioned among the potential candidates. As for Girardi, he doesn’t figure to be out of work for long. The win-now Nationals could be a good match, though Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports wrote Thursday that Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez “is thought to be the leading early candidate” for the job. The Phillies also have an opening, though Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan is believed to be the favorite.
Brew Crew Moves
The Brewers were active on this off-day for the World Series, signing right-hander Chase Anderson to a contract extension while agreeing to terms with infielder Eric Sogard on a one-year contract.
Anderson receives a two-year, $11.75 million contract with an $8.5 million club option for 2020 and a $9.5 million club option for 2021. He was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter as a Super Two player, so the new deal potentially buys out his final three years of arbitration and his first year of free agency.
The Brewers surprised by winning 86 games this season and Anderson was a big part of that, posting a brilliant 2.74 ERA and 133/41 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings over 25 starts. It was a massive improvement for someone who came into the year with a 4.26 ERA for his career. There was an uptick in velocity here, but Anderson also relied more on his secondary pitches and induced more swinging strikes in the process. With Jimmy Nelson likely to miss the start of 2018 following shoulder surgery, Anderson will be asked to lead the rotation along with Zach Davies.
As for Sogard, he put pen to paper on a one-year, $2.4 million deal with the Brewers rather than take his chances in free agency. According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Sogard cited the “culture” of the team as a reason behind his decision to return.
Sogard joined the Brewers on a minor league deal last offseason and actually began this season in Triple-A, but he joined the big club in May and put up his best numbers to date, batting .273/.393/.378 with three homers and 18 RBI across 94 games. While the great majority of his production was in the first half, he drew more walks (45) than he had strikeouts (37) overall. He’s best-utilized as a utility player, but he’s nice insurance to have around for second base going into 2018.
Quick Hits: Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes that the Giants “are seen as a very early favorite” to trade for Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton … Astros manager A.J. Hinch denied a report from TMZ Sports that he was involved in an altercation at a bar after Game 1 of the World Series … Patrick Mooney of NBC Sports Chicago reports that the Cubs are close to hiring Jim Hickey as their new pitching coach… In other Cubs coaching news, the club has added Chili Davis as their new hitting coach and brought on Brian Butterfield as their third base coach… It was apparently pitching coach day around MLB, as the Cardinals hired Mike Maddux as their new pitching coach … The Twins named Garvin Alston as their new pitching coach … The Indians brought on Carl Willis as their new pitching coach … Finally, the Tigers are reportedly set to hire Chris Bosio as their pitching coach after he was surprisingly let go by the Cubs … The Giants announced a staff shake-up on Thursday, with Hensley Meulens switching from hitting coach to bench coach and Ron Wotus making the move from bench coach to third base coach…The Reds claimed infielder/outfielder Micah Johnson off waivers from the Braves …