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Joe Girardi ‘surprised’ and ‘disappointed’ by Yankees decision

Former Yankees manager Joe Girardi was “surprised” and “disappointed” by the Yankees’ decision to let him go and he told The Athletic that he “wanted to finish what we had started this year.”

Girardi, 53, averaged 91 wins over the last 10 years with the Yankees. He led the team to six playoff appearances, including a World Series title in 2009. That’s why
Girardi was caught off guard when general manager Brian Cashman told him his contract wouldn’t be renewed when the season ended.

“I was surprised,” Girardi admitted in his first interview since the dismissal. “With the year that we had and the progress the team had made, I thought I would be back. 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.”

Girardi said he “absolutely” wanted to come back next season.

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi watches batting practice before Game 4 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in New York.
| Kathy Willens/AP

“I think sometimes people perceived that I didn’t want to come back, and that’s not the case,” Girardi said in the interview published Tuesday.

But that wasn’t what the Yankees front office wanted after the Astros eliminated the Yankees in seven games in the American League Championship Series.

Girardi described his meeting with Cashman, who refused to discuss the Yankees’ decision regarding Girardi until after the World Series, was “fairly quick.”

“Brian told me as an organization they had decided to go in a different direction. We talked for a few minutes and we talked later on for a little bit longer,” Girardi said. “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.

“I was very excited about 2018. But in a lot of respects, I’m really thankful. I was there for 10 years. How many managers, head coaches in the NFL, NBA, NHL, college football coaches, college basketball coaches, get to spend 10 years in one place?”

Now that he’s out of a job, Girardi plans to spend more time with his three children and his wife, Kim. Girardi said he’d like to manage somewhere else, work in MLB operations, or return to television.
Girardi worked for the YES Network in 2004, 2005 and 2007.

“I truly love this game — the strategy of the game, the relationships in the game, the passion I have for getting the most out of people,” Girardi said. “I want everyone who has an opportunity to be able to experience what I’ve experienced in this game, all the good things that have happened to me because of this game.”

Follow me on Twitter @madkenney.

Email: mkenney@suntimes.com