Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper feels at least partially responsible for the firing of manager Joe Girardi, who was relieved of his duties Friday after a 22-29 start to the 2022 campaign.
Harper told reporters:
"I think it definitely falls partly on the players. In all sports, any sport, the coach gets the dagger. It's usually partly on the players and partly on the staff, as well. As much as it's on us, it's on him, as well. It's on both of us and at this point he took it.
"It all comes down to winning, and we just haven't done that. As a team, there's blame on us, as well. There's not just blame on Joe. We haven't played to the best of our ability. We haven't done the things to be the team that we should be."
The Phillies have lost seven of their last nine games and are 12 games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets despite boasting a lineup that includes the reigning NL MVP in Harper and two 2021 All-Stars.
Philadelphia also has the fourth-highest payroll in baseball at $233 million, per Spotrac. The three teams with higher payrolls—the Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees—all sit atop their respective divisions.
That said, the Phillies have struggled with injuries this season.
For one, Harper has been dealing with right forearm soreness and has mostly played as the team's designated hitter because of it. In addition, second baseman Jean Segura is sidelined with a broken finger.
Still, Harper has been solid as the team's DH, hitting .303/.359/.584 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI in 45 games.
Despite their struggles, the Phillies still have time to turn things around and make a push for a wild-card spot. Nick Castellanos noted that the team has to use Girardi's firing as a wake-up call.
"It better be," Castellanos said. "Because everybody in the clubhouse now knows that sh-t's not going well so changes were made. It's a sad day when somebody loses their job because we're not performing, and I take that hard.
"Unfortunately, it's what happens when teams that are supposed to win don't win—sad things like people losing their jobs happens."
The Phillies named Rob Thomson interim manager, and he'll immediately get to work on Friday night in the first contest of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels at Citizens Bank Park.