By Sam Bush

New Phillies manager Joe Girardi says he thought the Mets were very interested in him when he was going through their interview process.

“I thought they were very interested. I interviewed three times, and had a fourth one set up,” said Girardi. “No, I thought they were very interested. They chose to go a different direction. I’m really happy where I’m at, and I chose to go a different direction. That’s how it kind of ended up.”

The Mets ultimately went with Carlos Beltran, who was the more familiar face. Girardi had spent years in New York with the Yankees both as a player and as a coach, but he didn’t have the in-house familiarity with the Mets that Beltran did.

As he now manages another team in the NL East, Girardi will be seeing the Mets quite a bit.

The Phillies made official a free agency move Friday that also has ramifications in New York City, abbouncing that Didi Gregorius has signed a one-year contract. Thus, Girardi will be reunited with a player he clearly enjoyed managing during his time with the Yankees.

“I just have always loved Didi, not just what he does on the field, because I think that’s special, but what he did in the clubhouse. I thought that Didi was one of the real leaders in that clubhouse … this guy played needing Tommy John, and no one really even knew about it. He’s tough too. And I think the experience of having to replace Derek Jeter helped mold who Didi is today.”

It seems like so long ago these days, but Girardi also briefly touched on his dismissal from the Yankees after the 2017 season.

“I was there a long time, and Brian (Cashman) just thought it was time for something different. And that happens in this game. I mean, it happens all the time.”