Joe Girardi was not ready to leave the Yankees.
“Disappointment,” Girardi told The Athletic when asked about his reaction to being fired by the Yankees. “I think there’s always hurt. Whenever you feel someone doesn’t want you, there’s going to be hurt. But I understood. I understand that this has happened to managers who have achieved a lot more than I have.”
Girardi’s contract was not renewed by the Yankees after GM Brian Cashman recommended that the manager not return following 10 seasons with the team.
“It was fairly quick. Brian told me as an organization they had decided to go in a different direction,” Girardi said in the in-depth Q&A. “We talked for a few minutes and we talked later on for a little bit longer. For me, there was disappointment because I kind of wanted to finish what we had started this year. And I was looking forward to the growth of the organization, the young players, the more young players with the veterans we had.”
In what many thought was a rebuilding year, the Yankees advanced to Game 7 of the ALCS before falling to the Astros.
“I was surprised. With the year that we had and the progress the team had made, I thought I would be back,” Girardi said. “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 prevailing feeling was Girardi and Cashman’s relationship had frayed. There were doubts about Girardi’s relationship with the players and whether he was the right man to guide a young team into the future.
“No, I didn’t. If that’s the case, I’m kind of surprised,” Girardi said when asked if his relationships with players had deteriorated.
“I think sometimes relationships with players can be misconstrued if they’re unhappy with their playing time. A manager has a lot of tough decisions to make. He has to make decisions based on what’s best for the team, what he feels is best for the team. As an organization, as a coaching staff, you discuss things. Some guys may not get as much playing time as they want. That always hurts me, too. I wish that everyone could play every day and every pitcher could do exactly what they wanted. But it’s not the nature of the game.”
Girardi said he was open to many possibilities going forward. He talked about an interest in managing again, a role with baseball operations or working as an badyst on TV. Girardi also mentioned that he had talked to owner Hal Steinbrenner, who told him that a different role with the Yankees would be a possibility if he was interested.
“I don’t know,” Girardi said of his biggest weakness. “I think that’s for other people to talk about as well. Some people might say I’m not fuzzy and warm all the time. 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.”