Athletics

Joe Girardi out as manager of the New York Yankees

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USATSI

Joe Girardi out as manager of the New York Yankees

Joe Girardi's tenure as New York Yankees manager ended Thursday after a decade that produced just one World Series title for a team that expects to win every year.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made the announcement five days after the Yankees lost to Houston in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

"Everything this organization does is done with careful and thorough consideration, and we've decided to pursue alternatives for the managerial position," Cashman said in a statement.

New York does not have an obvious candidate to replace him. The Yankees are the third of the 10 postseason teams to remove managers, joining Boston and Washington.

A former All-Star catcher for the Yankees, Girardi was at the end of his contract and said last weekend he had to speak with his family before deciding whether he wanted to return. New York made the decision for him.

"He has a tireless work ethic, and put his heart into every game he managed over the last decade," Cashman said. "He should take great pride in our accomplishments during his tenure."

A three-time World Series champion as a player with the Yankees, Girardi succeeded Joe Torre as manager after the 2007 season and led New York to its 27th World Series title in 2009 but has fallen short each year since.

The 53-year-old Girardi led a young squad on a surprising run to an AL wild-card berth this year with a 91-71 record, the team's best since 2012. New York beat Minnesota in the wild-card game, then fell behind Cleveland 2-0 in the Division Series. Girardi admitted he made a mistake not asking for a video replay review in Game 2.

"I screwed up. And it's hard. It's a hard day for me," he said then. "But I got to move forward and we'll be ready to go tomorrow."

New York won the next three games to advance, lost the first two games of the ALCS at Houston, then won three in a row to move within a victory of reaching the World Series for the first time in eight years. But the Astros swept the final two games.

Cashman said he and owner Hal Steinbrenner had spoken directly with Girardi this week.

Girardi's 910-710 regular season record with the Yankees is sixth in victories managing the team behind Joe McCarthy (1,460), Torre (1,173), Casey Stengel (1,149), Miller Huggins (1,067) and Ralph Houk (944).

Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

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AP

Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

The A’s wasted no time making their first major move of the offseason, and it has a domino effect on how their 2018 lineup will take shape.

The trade of young slugger Ryon Healy to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday paves the way for left fielder Khris Davis to start getting heavy at-bats as the designated hitter, the spot left vacant by Healy.

It also points to another move the A’s want to pull off — acquiring a right-handed hitting corner outfielder who presumably can eat up those defensive innings that Davis spends as the DH.

It’s a series of moves that isn’t all that surprising given the A’s roster makeup right now. Healy, who hit .282 with 38 homers in 221 games over his first two big league seasons, is capable of playing either first or third base. But Matt Olson and Matt Chapman secured those spots, respectively, with their solid showings as rookies last season.

“We’ve obviously talked a lot since the end of the season about adding to the bullpen,” A’s general manager David Forst said on a conference call Wednesday night. “At the same time, with the emergence of Matt and Matt, on the corners, maybe Ryon needed to be somebody we might have to move ...”

It makes sense for Oakland to find a way to shift Davis from being the everyday left fielder while still keeping his 40-homer bat in the lineup. Opponents have routinely taken extra bases the past two seasons on Davis’ throwing arm, and whether they add a newcomer to play left or shift Joyce or someone else there, chances are they can benefit from better defense in left.

The A’s also feel they got an important chip back from Seattle to help bolster a bullpen that ranked 13th in the American League last season with a 4.57 ERA. They received right-hander Emilio Pagan (along with minor league shortstop Alexander Campos), and figure that the 26-year-old Pagan is someone the A’s have pegged to be an immediate contributor in their ‘pen.

A 10th round draft pick in 2013, Pagan made his big league debut in 2017 and posted a 3.22 ERA over 34 games spread over four stints with Seattle. He endured a rocky first couple of outings but, after being called up for good in the second half, eventually worked his way into a late-inning setup role. Pagan struck out 56 and walked just eight in 50 1/3 innings, numbers that surely popped out to Oakland’s front office.

He’ll likely be called upon in middle relief to help set the table for Chris Hatcher and closer Blake Treinen, as the bullpen currently looks.

Campos, just 17, spent this past season in the Dominican Summer League, and Forst said the A’s were eyeing Campos last summer when they eventually traded Yonder Alonso to the Mariners. Oakland wound up getting center fielder Boog Powell back in that deal.

Did the A’s rake in enough for Healy? As with all trades, it will take time to judge. But it’s fair to say that Healy’s departure will be felt in a clubhouse that is characterized by the emergence of many young position players, and he was a part of that group. In fact, when Healy was called up in July 2016 — knocking Danny Valencia out as the regular third baseman — he became the first of several promising position-player prospects to establish himself in Oakland’s lineup.

He rented a house in the East Bay and eventually took in Chapman, Olson and Chad Pinder as roommates. There’s a fiery side to Healy’s on-field personality that was a positive for the A’s, and watching him play Oakland as a member of an AL West rival will make for entertaining theatre.

Another storyline is how Davis takes to being a regular DH. Forst praised Davis’ approach to his game and doesn’t anticipate any problems, adding that the A’s still want to get Davis some time in the outfield.

A's trade Ryon Healy to Mariners for two players

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USATSI

A's trade Ryon Healy to Mariners for two players

The rumors were indeed true. Ryon Healy was on the trade block.

And now Healy has been traded...to the Mariners.

The two teams announced the trade Wednesday evening.

Oakland will receive right-handed pitcher Emilio Pagan and shortstop Alexander Campos.

Healy burst on to the scene in 2016 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 72 games. This past season, he finished second on the A's with 25 home runs and 78 RBI. But he had become the odd man out in the A's lineup with Matt Olson and Matt Chapman solidifying the corner infield spots.

The 25-year-old is familiar with the Pacific Northwest as he attended the University of Oregon.

Pagan, 26, made his major league debut during the 2017 season. In 34 relief appearances with the Mariners, he posted a 3.22 ERA and struck out 56 batters in 50.1 innings. Against the A's, Pagan allowed one run in 5.1 innings over three outings. A native of South Carolina, Pagan was drafted by the Mariners in the 10th round of the 2013 MLB Draft.

Campos appears to be the prize of the trade, though he's a bit further away from reaching the major leagues. Just 17 years old, Campos signed out of Venezuela in 2016 and made his professional debut this past season. In 59 games for the Mariners' Domincan Summer League team, Campos hit .290/.413/.367 with 10 doubles, two home runs and 26 RBI.

MLB Pipeline ranked Campos as Seattle's No. 15 prospect.