Joe Girardi says he wanted to continue managing the New York Yankees and was surprised and disappointed that team brass decided not to bring him back.
“With the year that we had and the progress the team had made, I thought I would be back,” Girardi told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. “Obviously, there is a ton of talent there, a ton of great young talent. I was excited about that. I thought I’d be back.”
The Yankees announced on Thursday that Girardi, whose contract was due to expire, would not be returning for an 11th season as manager. The decision surprised many, especially considering Girardi guided a retooling team with little expectations at the beginning of the season to Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.
“For me, there was disappointment because I kind of wanted to finish what we had started this year,” he said. “And I was looking forward to the growth of the organization, the young players, the more young players with the veterans we had.
“I was very excited about 2018. But in a lot of respects, I’m really thankful. I was there for 10 years. How many managers, head coaches in the NFL, NBA, NHL, college football coaches, college basketball coaches, get to spend 10 years in one place? … I feel really fortunate I was there for 10 years.”
Recent media reports cited that the Yankees’ decision was result of a fraying in the relationship between Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman. As well, some sources claimed the team wanted a manager who was less intense and could foster a stronger relationship with young players.
The 53-year-old Girardi refuted those ideas and didn’t think his relationship with Cashman changed over the past decade.
“Like any relationship over 10 years, you’re going to have some disagreements. But as Cash would say, I think they’re healthy. I think they lead to some discussions. But I think we were on the same page most of the time. He allowed me to do my job. And I was thankful for the job he did in always trying to improve our club.
“Some people might say I’m not fuzzy and warm all the time,” he added. “I do like to have fun. I have relationships with all my players. It might not come out when I’m talking to the media. But I spend time with my players, do all of those things.”
Girardi, who played for and coached the Yankees before becoming a manager, averaged 91 wins as skipper in New York and guided the club to its 2009 World Series championship.
He plans to spend the winter with his family, but says his time in baseball is not over.
“I have other interests in life. I do want to manage again. Time will tell exactly what I do.”