New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman explained his reasoning for not retaining longtime manager Joe Girardi Monday and concluded it "was time for a new voice and fresh voice" in the team's youthful clubhouse.
Girardi was not offered a new contract on Oct. 26 and it ended a 10-year run for the former New York catcher. Girardi led the Yankees to Game 7 of the AL Championship Series against the Houston Astros, who became World Series champions.
Girardi led the Yankees to their first ALCS appearance since 2012 with a youthful core of right-fielder Aaron Judge, catcher Gary Sanchez and right-handed starting pitcher Luis Severino. All three are 25 years old or younger and it was the main reason for Cashman's decision.
"The ability and the concerns were ability to fully engage, communicate, connect with the playing personnel," Cashman told reporters on a conference call. "And in saying that there might be a tough hurdle for someone that's been in that particular position as a manager for 10 years."
The Yankees were eliminated with a 4-0 loss on Oct. 21. Two days later Cashman informed owner Hal Steinbrenner of his thoughts, and on Oct. 24, he met with Girardi.
"I made that recommendation based on some experiences that I was able to validate, whether it's directly or indirectly about the connectivity and the communication level with the players in that clubhouse," Cashman said.
Cashman did not say if Girardi would have been retained if the Yankees reached their first World Series since 2009. He also dismissed reports of a fractured relationship with Girardi in recent years.
Cashman described Girardi as an "exceptional manager" and said the failure to challenge a call in Game 2 of the ALDS was not a factor in the decision.
Cashman's first public comments occurred at the same time Girardi gave an interview with WFAN as part of his contractual appearances with the radio station.
"I thought I'd be back, but Brian wanted someone different," Girardi said on his radio interview.
Girardi was at the end of a four-year contract. Before winning 91 games, New York's lone playoff appearance since 2012 was a 3-0 loss to the Houston Astros in the 2015 wild-card game.
The Yankees posted their best record since 2012, beat the Minnesota Twins in the wild-card game, overcame a 2-0 deficit against Cleveland in the Division Series and took a 3-2 lead in the ALCS.
Following the 2007 season, Girardi succeeded Joe Torre, whom he played for on championship teams in 1996, 1998 and 1999.
Girardi posted a 910-710 regular-season record with the Yankees, including 103 wins in 2009 when the team won its 27th World Series title by beating the Philadelphia Phillies. Girardi's win total ranks sixth in franchise history, trailing only Joe McCarthy (1,460), Joe Torre (1,173), Casey Stengel (1,149), Miller Huggins (1,067) and Ralph Houk (944).
Cashman said the Yankees do not have a timetable for hiring Girardi's successor.
"We know we're not on the clock," Cashman said.
Cashman's contract also expired last Tuesday and is engaged in negotiations with the Yankees.