In the end, the Yankees decided it was time for a change.
And today, they made the decision to part ways with their manager Joe Girardi.
After meeting with the ballclub this morning, Girardi was informed his contract would not be renewed, making the Yankee managerial seat vacant for the first time in 10 years.
“With a heavy heart, I come to you because the Yankees have decided not to bring me back,” Girardi said in a statement. “I’d like to thank the Steinbrenner family for believing in me and giving me this wonderful opportunity. I would like to thank Brian Cashman and his staff for hiring me and always trying to improve the team. I would like to thank my Coaches and support staff for their dedication to always trying to make the players better and get the most out of them.”
Over the past few days, sides in the Yankee organization was apparently split on Girardi, who took great criticism this postseason for certain managerial decision, notably in Game 2 of the ALDS and some of his bullpen moves in the ALCS.
But there were others who felt the organization should keep the course.
Ultimately, a change was thought to be the best course of action.
“I want to thank Joe for his 10 years of hard work and service to this organization,” said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. “Everything this organization does is done with careful and thorough consideration, and we’ve decided to pursue alternatives for the managerial position.
“As Hal Steinbrenner and I mentioned to Joe directly this week, he has been a tremendous Yankee on the field and away from it, as a player, coach and manager. He has a tireless work ethic, and put his heart into every game he managed over the last decade. He should take great pride in our accomplishments during his tenure, and I wish Joe and his family nothing but success and happiness in the future.”
Girardi finished up with a record of 910-710 in the Bronx. His 910 regular season wins rank sixth in franchise history, trailing only Joe McCarthy (1,460), Joe Torre (1,173), Casey Stengel (1,149), Miller Huggins (1,067) and Ralph Houk (944).
Now the question is where do the Yankees move on from here. By letting Girardi go this late in the postseason, many of the prime managerial candidates already have jobs. Cashman likes candidates with ties to the Yankees, so you can look for that again.
The Yankees can talk to Rob Thomson, who was Girardi’s bench coach for the last four years after serving as third-base coach for the first six, if they want to go internally.
Kevin Long is also a candidate. After losing the Met job to Mickey Callaway, the hitting coach was given permission to talk to the Nationals for their vacant position, so the Yankee job is also open.
You also wonder if the club would work out a deal with Derek Jeter to get Don Mattingly back in pinstripes, but that is more of a longshot.
If the Yankees want to go outside the organization, they can always talk to John Farrell who was let go by the Red Sox, pouring more fuel on that old rivalry.
More and more candidates will emerge in the coming weeks as the Yankees get down to business.
As for Girardi, it’s slim pickings if he wants to manage in 2018. The Nationals and Phillies still have opening and both may want to talk to the new free agent.
The bottom line, though, is that the Hot Stove just started.