Joe Girardi will not return as Yankees manager in 2018

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David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago reports that Joe Girardi will not return as manager of the New York Yankees next season. After the initial report, Girardi himself issued a statement saying “With a heavy heart, I come to you because the Yankees have decided not to bring me back,” making it clear that it was the Yankees’ call, not his own.

Girardi, whose contract is expiring, met with the Yankees yesterday to discuss his future with the club. There was considerable speculation about him both staying or going, but nothing concrete before now. Some suggested that it was contingent upon how much money Girardi, who made $4 million this year, sought in a new deal. Others speculated that the front office had soured on Girardi, with some tactical mistakes he made in the postseason serving as the final straw. Based on Girardi’s statement, it would seem that it’s up to the Yankees to say what really happened.

Girardi leaves New York with a record of 910-710. He won a World Series ring in 2009, won three AL East titles and made the playoffs six times in ten seasons at the helm.

The Yankees first managerial search since the end of the 2007 season will now begin.

UPDATE: Here is my analysis of what this move means and whether it is good or bad. Hint: it’s kinda both.

 

Evan Longoria: ‘I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base’

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.