Earlier this week, the Yankees announced that Joe Girardi will not return to manage the Bombers next season. But as Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated points out, 53-year-old Girardi might not have lost the job due to the team’s performance or his body of work. The three oldest managers in baseball (Terry Collins, Dusty Baker and Pete Mackanin) all lost their jobs this season, and John Farrell (55) will be replaced by the 42-year-old Alex Cora. This points to a trend in baseball wherein the game is being run by younger players, and it might just be that the ability of younger managers to connect with those youthful stars is being seen as a major asset. Fluency in analytics is also becoming increasingly vital to the manager position. As Verducci also points out, World Series skippers Dave Roberts (45) and A.J. Hinch (43) both fit the bill for this type of “modern manager”. With Girardi lacking the youth and analytic mindset required for the new mold, the Yankees may have simply decided he is no longer relevant in today’s game.
Some other items from around baseball’s Eastern Divisions…
- Red Sox number four overall prospect Sam Travis received his first small taste of major league action this year. But he didn’t fare as expected in the power department, slugging just .342 in the majors and .375 at the Triple-A level. Alex Speier of Baseball America (subscription required and recommended) writes that he spent a lot of last offseason rehabbing from knee surgery, which may have contributed to his struggles. Still, Travis has been seen in recent years as player with a big-league ready bat who needed to improve his defense at first base, and the former second-rounder’s offensive performance didn’t match the billing in 2017. His vastly improved defense, however, has led the organization to give him a shot in left field in the Dominican League, which could improve his prospect stock headed into next season.
- The Braves have been denied permission to speak with Royals GM Dayton Moore, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports. The Braves organization is still reeling after the scandal broke surrounding then-GM John Coppolella, but they won’t have the chance to interview the 50-year-old Moore for the open position. Moore declined to comment on the request, stating that he’s “focused on what we need to do here in Kansas City.” The two ballclubs are in very different stages headed into 2018; the Royals are likely entering a rebuild with many key players set to reach free agency, while the Braves seem ready to come out of theirs and focus on contending. But because Moore signed a contract extension with Kansas City back in 2016, club owner David Glass would need to give explicit permission to any club interested in reaching out to him.