PHILADELPHIA -- Joe Girardi finished his second round of interviews Monday night with dinner with Phillies’ ownership.
He made quite an impression.
Multiple sources said Girardi made himself the favorite among many for the Phillies’ managerial vacancy following an impressive showing Monday at Citizens Bank Park. Girardi, Dusty Baker and Buck Showalter each had a second round of interviews with multiple members of the Phillies’ front office, including ownership, over the past few days. The buzz inside the ballpark is that Phillies managing partner John Middleton prefers Girardi, but it is unknown if a job offer has been made or will be made. Regardless, the Phillies’ search to replace Gabe Kapler is nearing the end.
No other candidates are expected to be interviewed. It would not be a surprise to have an announcement as early as Thursday between Games 2 and 3 of the World Series. Girardi has a second interview scheduled this week with the Mets, who also are looking for a manager. Girardi also interviewed for the Cubs’ managerial opening.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak and assistant general manager Ned Rice conducted the first round of interviews with each candidate, who have a combined 53 years of managerial experience. Phillies president Andy MacPhail, Klentak and Rice worked with Showalter in Baltimore. Rice has remained close with him. The trio’s connections to Showalter made him the presumed favorite to replace Kapler, even before Middleton dismissed Kapler a couple weeks ago. It is unknown if Klentak and Rice have moved into the Girardi camp.
The Phillies have asked each manager about their views on analytics. They want somebody that can blend the traditional and modern approaches to the game. The Phillies have invested millions in building an analytics department. They want somebody who believes in what they do, although none of the candidates believe the numbers are an end all be all.