MIAMI -- Joe Girardi on Thursday blamed himself for the Phillies falling short of the postseason for a 10th consecutive year.
Managers often take the blame for seasons like this, but then again, managers often get blamed for everything. Just ask Charlie Manuel and Gabe Kapler. But Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Friday evening at loanDepot park that Girardi will be his manager in 2022, which is no surprise considering Girardi is under contract through next season.
“I think he’s done a good job,” Dombrowski said. “I actually talked to him yesterday after the game. I said Joe, ‘You did a good job.’ The way I look at it is, the manager’s job is very tough. They get second-guessed all the time. That comes with the territory. But I enjoy working with him. He’s a good baseball man. He’s smart. He’s a good person. He works hard. He’s very conscientious.
“Our team didn’t quit. If you would say, 'Well, where do you start with the positives?' I’d say we showed great resiliency all year long.”
Dombrowski cited the fact that the Phillies had 35 comeback victories and won 30 one-run games, which ranked third in baseball behind Seattle (33) and San Francisco (31), as evidence that Girardi’s team played hard.
“I think he’s responsible for that attitude and approach,” Dombrowski said. “So I think he did a very nice job for us. And when I say that, we all hold accountability. I hold accountability. He holds accountability. The players hold accountability. It’s all of us.”
Who’s on third? Bohm?
The Phillies have so many questions to answer before Spring Training. One of them is Alec Bohm.
Is he the everyday third baseman entering camp? Is he even a third baseman?
“I think people are going to have to earn spots,” Girardi said. “Because I can’t tell you what the offseason is going to look like, so I think it’s unfair to really guarantee much in different positions because I can’t tell you who we’re going to acquire.”
But do the Phillies tell Bohm to grab a first baseman’s mitt or an outfielder’s glove this offseason? There continues to be speculation that Bohm could change positions at some point.
“Third baseman,” Girardi said. “Yeah, we envision him as a third baseman. We’ve seen him do it, right? It’s not that there’s not the ability to do it. It’s all part of the maturation process and reps and understanding angles and things that you learn as you play more. He didn’t spend much time in the Minor Leagues. He went up really quick. The interesting thing about this game is you’re always evolving and you’re always learning.
“He went through a difficult time. It’s not unusual. It’s not. Sometimes we can make a lot of it when a young player comes up and has success and then goes through a hard time. It’s actually pretty common. We’ve seen in our division there’s a guy [Braves third baseman Austin Riley] that’s going to the playoffs who’s a third baseman that came up and lit the world on fire and then he really struggled and now people chant ‘MVP,’ right?”
Riley batted .291 with a .964 OPS in his first 34 games with the Braves in 2019. He hit a combined .207 with a .643 OPS in his next 97 games, which carried him through the end of the 2020 season. But this season Riley is batting .303 with an .899 OPS, drawing some NL MVP talk.
• Bryce Harper started his 70th consecutive game on Friday. He went 0-for-11 with one walk and five strikeouts this week against the Braves. Girardi said there is a chance Harper does not start one of the season’s final two games.
• Jean Segura did not start Friday because his back is bothering him. J.T. Realmuto did not start because he suffered a bruised shin after fouling off a pitch on Thursday.
• Rookie right-hander Hans Crouse will start on Saturday. It will be a bullpen game.
• There is a chance that Phillies ace Zack Wheeler does not start Sunday because of his workload, but Girardi said he has not talked with Wheeler about that yet.