5 questions after Phils' managerial change

June 3rd, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies removed Joe Girardi as manager on Friday morning and elevated bench coach Rob Thomson to interim manager.

They hope to play better under new leadership.

Some questions that follow the big news:

Is this really the manager’s fault?
Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was asked if this is a managerial issue or a systemic one. Former Phillies president Andy MacPhail and his regime mismanaged the franchise’s rebuild beginning in 2015. It put the Phillies in a very difficult spot, one where they need to buy their way out of their past failures. For example, they drafted three consecutive outfielders in the first round from 2015-17: Cornelius Randolph, Mickey Moniak and Adam Haseley.

Only Moniak remains with the organization, and he has not contributed to this point. Because of that, the Phillies had to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on corner outfielders the past few years, including Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber in March.

“It’s not something that can’t be fixed and changed,” Dombrowski said. “I think we already started some of those changes this wintertime when we made some changes within our system, our organization, a lot of changes, but those things don’t show up overnight. The results from changes in player development take a while before they come into play. But I think we have fundamentally changed some of the mindsets as far as how we’re going about some things in player development. We’ve attempted to do that at the big league level. I still think it can be accomplished by bringing in people like Schwarber and Castellanos. Even the coaching staff with Kevin Long and Bobby Dickerson. If you look at the results today, it hasn’t worked. But I do not think that part is just something that’s written in stone. We can change that and that’s what our goal is.”

Was Jim Leyland a consideration?
Dombrowski and Leyland are close friends from their time together in Miami and Detroit.

“Jim Leyland,” Dombrowski said. “I have the utmost respect, one of my best friends. We talk all the time. I do know that Jim is not interested in getting back on the field. I know that. When I say back on the field, I mean manager type, not that he won't help out like he does in Spring Training with the Tigers. He just does not want to do that."

Who is Thomson?
Thomson, 58, is the 56th manager in franchise history. He has been the Phillies’ bench coach since 2018, when he joined Gabe Kapler’s staff. Previously, he spent 28 years with the Yankees (1990-2017), including 10 seasons on the Major League staff as a bench coach (2008, 2015-17) and third-base coach (2009-14). He managed three games for the Yankees in 2008. It was believed to be the first time a Canadian managed a big league game since Pittsburgh’s George “Mooney” Gibson in 1934.

The Tigers selected Thomson in the 32nd round of the 1985 MLB Draft. He played four seasons in the Minor Leagues.

He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019.

Who replaces Thomson as bench coach?
Quality assurance coach Mike Calitri, who has been with the organization since 2018, has been promoted to bench coach.

Anything else?
The Phillies also dismissed coaching assistant Bobby Meacham.