For those in the mood for a game of “connect the dots”, today’s news regarding the USA Baseball national team should put your pencils to the ready. Joe Girardi, previously the USA team’s manager, has officially stepped down in advance of the “Premier 12” Olympic qualifier, according to this tweet from Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). Scott Brosius, longtime Yankee and a two-time Olympic gold medalist in his own right, will manage the American side moving forward.
While those obsessed with the sport of Olympic baseball will find this to be a cataclysmic development, the rest of us will feel inclined to view this announcement in light of its implications on the MLB managerial market. While Girardi himself has not issued a statement regarding his decision to step down from USA duties, it might be inferred that he could be prepping to accept a job as skipper of a big league club. Girardi, who has not managed in the bigs since his contract with the Yankees expired in 2017, has recently interviewed for the Cubs, Mets, and Phillies openings. Keep track of all managerial maneuverings with MLBTR’s Managerial Search Tracker.
More news from around the game on this eerily baseball-free Wednesday…
- From the “unwritten rules” department: according to SNY’s Andy Martino, the Yankees dugout was incensed during the course of Game 1, when several Astros players were heard whistling in advance of certain pitches on Saturday night. “I would consider whistling a tired act that goes beyond what is acceptable,” an unnamed major league executive told Martino. “If the Astros or anyone else was doing it, it would be considered a break in the unwritten rules. I have not been part of any team that used a whistle from the dugout for pitch type or location.” Of course, sign stealing is a time-honored part of baseball gamesmanship that has taken many different forms over the past few centuries; recently, MLB has even considered the implementation of on-field earpieces for pitchers and catchers, according to some 2018 reportage on the part of Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston.
- In our recent poll “Executives Under Pressure”, MLBTR readers voted on which club GM they thought would most be feeling the pressure in 2020 to put out a winning club–or else. Angels GM Billy Eppler placed third in the polling (behind Neal Huntington of the Pirates and Matt Klentak of the Phillies), with 11.81% of readers positing that LA’s fifth-year GM will likely be maneuvering to keep his job this offseason. In the view of The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, today’s hiring of Joe Maddon to the club’s manager seat might be further evidence toward Eppler’s occupational insecurity (link). “From every indication, owner Arte Moreno drove the hiring of Maddon, and by doing so, undercut his GM,” writes Rosenthal. Eppler will be tasked with several challenges heading into this winter, including the reinforcement of a pitching staff recently decimated by injuries and the loss of hurler Tyler Skaggs.