The idea that Joe Girardi would want to manage the Cincinnati Reds at this juncture was always a curious one. Girardi, with 10 winning seasons at the helm of the New York Yankees and a World Series title under his belt, easily has the most pedigree of any potential managerial candidate on the baseball landscape right now, meaning he’s got more options than any up and coming candidate - and leverage, too. Heck, he just sat out the 2018 season because he was in no hurry to jump at the first real opportunity to manage again, likely to gauge his options and wait until a plum job came calling.
As it turns out, the Cincinnati Reds job isn’t that one, despite both its availability and the team’s earnest interest. According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, that’s a decision Girardi himself made today, removing his name from consideration for the team’s opening just one day after reportedly being in Cincinnati to meet with team owner Bob Castellini.
What, four straight 94+ loss seasons, Homer Bailey’s contract, and zero fans in the stands wasn’t enough to do the trick? Obviously not, it seems.
Where the Reds turn after this will be quite interesting, with Rosenthal opining that would-be first-time manager David Bell might have the inside track. Of course, that’s an inside track that the Reds had seemingly paved for Girardi in the first place, having publicly trimmed down their candidates from nearly a dozen to just three earlier this week - with former World Series winner John Farrell a very notable omission from those finalists.
Y’know, it’s hard to be entering year four or five or six or whatever of this rebuild looking for the team’s third manager of the calendar year. It’s embarrassing to now have egg on the face of that losing, too, knowing that the team can’t even coax a top managerial candidate to their dugout after just recently promising to raise payroll and chase enough pricey players to potentially turn this whole thing around, finally.
Who knows. To not pick Girardi would be one thing, and a thing that could have probably be justified in a number of different ways by the team after the fact. But to have him pull out of consideration at this juncture just stinks of the kind of inherent inevitability of failure that has crept into the franchise’s core from top to bottom over recent years. Now, whichever candidate the team does actually hire will even have to do so in the shadow of Girardi, knowing that there was enough reason for him to not want this job and that he was always the preferred choice to whoever manages the team next.
“Rebuild,” they said.
“It’ll be fun,” they said.
Good lord, Reds.