New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said Wednesday he agrees with general manager Brian Cashman's decision to fire manager Joe Girardi last month and that the longtime manager would have been fired even if the Yankees won the World Series.
Although Girardi led a young Yankees team to the playoffs and past the No. 1 seed Cleveland Indians in the ALDS, his contract was not renewed three weeks ago after 10 seasons with the team.
Steinbrenner spoke to reporters for the first time since the firing and said the decision was a long time coming.
"This was not a decision we took lightly, and not a decision that had to do with 2-3 weeks. It had to do with 2-3 years, and observing things and hearing things,'' Steinbrenner told reporters at the MLB general managers meetings, according to ESPN. "We felt it was time to move in a different direction."
"As I told Cash, I wasn't following his recommendation: I agreed with it. He and I have had these discussions for a considerable length of time, over and over again. This isn't something we just decided we wanted to sit down and do at the end of the season. We've had a lot of discussions through the years.''
Cashman cited Girardi's issues with connectivity and communication with players as reason for the change. Steinbrenner agreed with the sentiment and indicated that even if the Yankees won the World Series, Girardi's failures may have still led to a change.
"I'm sure there would have been more pressure,'' Steinbrenner said. "It would have been maybe a more difficult decision to make. But I would have made it because I felt like that was best for the organization moving forward."
In his 10 years as manager, Girardi won one World Series and made the playoffs six times. Girardi finishes his 10 years with the Yankees with a 910–710 record. He has the sixth-most wins in Yankees history. In his 10 years as manager, he posted a .562 winning percentage, which is the best in that time. The Yankees never posted a record below. 500 and finished the 2017 regular season with a 91–71 record.
San Francisco Giants coach Hensley Meulens, Los Angeles Dodgers coach Chris Woodward, former Yankee Aaron Boone, former Cleveland and Seattle manager Eric Wedge and Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson are among the candidates under consideration for the Yankees' manager position.
Steinbrenner told reporters he has no timetable for the search and is "not rushing" Cahsman.
"I think you have to consider that you have a younger team, and maybe a different type of leadership is needed for a younger team than it is for a veteran team,'' Steinbrenner said. "I'm taking that into account and Cash is, too.
"I think if you ask Cash, it's also important for the next manager to have an understanding of analytics, because that's such an important part of the game. If they don't have it, they at least need a willingness to learn.''