Joe Girardi was in Philadelphia Monday for his second interview with the Phillies. Will he be the next manager? As this process has played out, it's looked more and more likely.
Beyond our own reporting of how the week is shaping up for the Phillies and that Girardi may very well be the preferred candidate, there were these two items:
Former Yankees manager Joe Girardi is in Philadelphia today for a second meeting with Phillies management. He is the clear favorite for that job as the Phillies are all in to try to win in 2020.— David Kaplan (@thekapman) October 21, 2019
The Philly front office likes Showalter from Baltimore dats. But belief is owner John Middleton — who made the Kapler call — is leaning toward Joe Girardi. Girardi likely has good feel he’s getting something since he left team USA. @thekapman suggested Phils job is Joe’s to lose.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 21, 2019
If true, it would make sense that of the Phillies' three top decision-makers, John Middleton is the most pro-Girardi. He has to recognize that Girardi has an extremely high approval rating in this city already. Girardi is the overwhelming fan preference. An organization should not base a decision around fan preference, but the Phillies have shown that they do consider it a piece to the puzzle.
A few weeks back, we ranked the eight managerial openings in attractiveness now and over the next three years. The Mets were first but not by a significant margin over the Phillies. They're in slightly better shape with Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso and Noah Syndergaard, but how many more years will anyone other than deGrom be in that rotation? Syndergaard trade rumors have persisted, Zack Wheeler is a free agent after the World Series and Marcus Stroman is a free agent after 2020.
The Phillies have also been more willing to spend over the last decade than the Mets. Their average end-of-season payroll from 2011-14 was more than $171 million. Last year, their opening day payroll was $140 million and all signs point to more spending this winter.
In all four of those years earlier in the decade (2011-14), the Phillies ended the season with a payroll higher than the Mets have ever carried. If you're Girardi and your two best offers are jobs in major markets that involve immense pressure, wouldn't you rather be with the ownership group you trust more to spend?
The Phillies also have the money to pay Girardi himself — another obviously important factor. Manager salaries don't count against the luxury tax. As Jim Salisbury pointed out on our At the Yard podcast Monday, the next manager's salary might cost the same as a middle reliever. At that point, what is an extra couple million if it means firmly landing the most appealing veteran manager on the market who has the qualities the top of the organization and vast majority of the fan base want?