• Was I Wrong About Joe Girardi?

    Posted by on May 21st, 2008 · Comments (19)

    When Joe Torre elected to decline the Yankees offer to manage their team this season, I jumped right out there to back the concept of Joe Girardi taking over for Torre. As I wrote back then:

    …with Joe Girardi you get the tactical-edge seeking of Billy Martin, the ensured preparedness of Buck Showalter, and, the politically correct demeanor of Joe Torre – all rolled into one. There’s really not much more that you can ask a manager to have, in my opinion, in terms of skills and talent.

    This opinion was based on many things that I had read and heard about Girardi – as a player, in New York and elsewhere; and, as a manager for the Florida Marlins (where he was elected N.L. Manager of the Year in 2006). The notion was also based on listening to Joe broadcast games on YES and FOX.

    …the tactical-edge seeking of Billy Martin…
    …the ensured preparedness of Buck Showalter…
    …the politically correct demeanor of Joe Torre…

    In the Yankees first 45 games this season, have we seen any of these three qualities from Joe Girardi? Was I wrong about his ability to bring these things to the table this season?

    To be candid, I have yet to see anything that suggests Girardi has his team prepared to play or has been working some tactical-edge type stuff in games. And, the politically correct demeanor? Well, Joe has already had his run-ins with the media – although, reportedly, he’s mended some fences in that area.

    Therefore, if someone wants to claim I was wrong about Girardi, I have nothing to prove otherwise – at this junction.

    Now, so far, this season, I have seen the following from Joe Girardi: He cares. He hates to lose. And, he’s willing to be a leader in the sense that he wants the buck to stop with him. Those are all very good qualities for a manager to have…but, is it enough for this team?

    I’m not sure. And, that’s quite a difference from the way I felt last September.

    Truth be told, I’m starting to get this “Bucky Dent” type feeling about Girardi. Back in 1989, when the Yankees hired Dent to manage the team there were some questions about his ability to take his minor league managing success and translate it to dealing with veteran players in New York. And, in the end, between 1989 and 1990, the Yankees went 36-53 under Bucky – and Dent was fired on June 6, 1990.

    Could it be that Joe Girardi – while being someone who wants to win and who has shown that he can win on a smaller stage – is not ready to successfully run this Yankees team with all its extremely high-paid and veteran players? Based on what we’re seeing so far this season, that could be the case.

    What do you think?

    Comments on Was I Wrong About Joe Girardi?

    1. TurnTwo
      May 21st, 2008 | 10:20 am

      I still have faith in Girardi as a manager. He’s already proven he can do more with less.

      He may not be able to reach out to the players on this team, but considering the wholesale changes needed to make on this roster to make them a legitimate candidate in 2009 and beyond, this roster needs to be turned over anyway.

    2. May 21st, 2008 | 10:28 am

      How much of this team can, and will, be turned over?

      Posada, Cano, Jeter, and A-Rod are under contract for a while. First base and RF will be open after this season. And, LF and DH should be open after 2009. Will that be enough to turn over the roster?

    3. Raf
      May 21st, 2008 | 10:43 am

      I’m not ready to write Girardi off (I am fairly confident that the Yanks would have the same if not similar record under Torre). While I didn’t see the Yanks doing as poorly as they have (I don’t think anyone has), I don’t hold Girardi responsible. To me, a manager doesn’t make much of a difference overall.

      I think Bucky was overwhelmed as manager, but it didn’t help that he had the players he had. It would’ve taken a miracle for the 1990 Yankees to contend. Having said that, I think it says a lot that he hasn’t managed at the ML level since 1990.

    4. TurnTwo
      May 21st, 2008 | 10:45 am

      My concern isnt with Posada, Jeter, and ARod. I wouldve pulled Cano after he didnt cover 2B in the first inning last night, because an example needs to be set for that type of mental mistake and how there is no room for that on this team, though. he’s gotta get his head back into the game.

      and i’m not ready concede LF/DH until after 2009. if Cashman wants to make changes, and the Steinbrenners are about as fed up as most of us fans right now, I can see them moving players and eating some salary to get younger and more athletic.

      you’re also going to have new faces in the bullpen and starting rotation. plenty of moves to be made to make the changes needed, IMO.

    5. Raf
      May 21st, 2008 | 10:47 am

      Will that be enough to turn over the roster?
      Depends on the moves made. Players could be traded, or signed. While Posada, Cano, Jeter, and A-Rod may not be going anywhere, the same cannot be said about Damon, Matsui, Melky, or any of the arms/bats in the system.

    6. hopbitters
      May 21st, 2008 | 11:38 am

      No, he hasn’t done anything spectacular, but how many times do you see a game won purely on managerial input? Like Raf said, the influence is minor in most cases. Sure, some of those little things can build over a season, but we haven’t been through a season yet, so it’s impossible to say. The one thing I would have done differently by now is to hold a closed-door meeting with the troops, but you might also say that should have been done by the captain.

    7. butchie22
      May 21st, 2008 | 11:38 am

      Thing is Girardi is not hitting and he is not pitching either.Can you imagine how bad things would be if Torre were still here?This team as currently constructed is a mess not the manager and coaches.The left handed hitters have collectively fallen asleep for a few seasons now,that happened under Torre as well. The Hughes and Kennedy Experiment(sounds like a band from the 70s)hasn’t worked,is that Girardi’s fault,did he overpitch them?Longterm Girardi is a good manager for this team BUT the ownership and GM ,by building from within AND acquiring select pieces can change this team not General Joe.

    8. carlo
      May 21st, 2008 | 11:45 am

      Don’t you worry… I think Joe G. is and will continue to be a good manager… It’s just hard to change the culture of the present Yankees clubhouse overnight… It will take time and also a Manager is only as good as his players…

    9. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      May 21st, 2008 | 12:31 pm

      Speaking of pulling Cano after his brain cramp – that is something that the “master strategist” Billy would have done.

      I’m not seeing much from Girardi strategy-wise. Where are the hit & runs? They may not have great base stealers, but last in SB (and I imagine last in attempts)? Girardi has used a lot of lineups but at the same time it seems as though he’s taken the Torre approach of sending out the same guys, every day (as long as they are on the roster). And as for lineups, it looked ridiculous to me when he sent out all the righties against the Rays, sitting even Matsui who is the only consistently decent bat. Assuming Matsui doesn’t have an absolutely atrocious split against Kazmir, that seemed to be a sort of blind following of convention.

      As for the press relations, let’s give it another few weeks. I don’t see a lot of reason for this to be “rock bottom” as Girardi said. Things can get worse before they get better, let’s see if Girardi has another blow-up or three with the NY media jackals.

      In the end though, there isn’t much you can expect to be different. He’s had to use his bench a lot more, and it turned out to be seriously deficient in almost all instances. That’s not Joe’s fault. On top of that, a number of good veteran players are either slumping badly or else they are toast. If they are toast, that isn’t Joe’s fault either, and if they start hitting like they were supposed to, that won’t be because of Joe either.

    10. baileywalk
      May 21st, 2008 | 1:22 pm

      Managers have a lot less to do with his team winning or losing than the media and GMs/owners would have you believe. A manager’s success is based on what he has to work with.

      It’s much easier for a manager to have a negative effect, and so far Giardi has not been that. His decisions don’t drive me insane, the way Torre’s did. What he does seems, for the most part, logical. At the end of the day, he’s still a vast improvement over his predecessor.

    11. May 21st, 2008 | 1:31 pm

      He’s no different from any other manager.

      He’s a “worthless waste of a spermcell” … on those days when his players don’t perform well.

      He’s the “smartest guy in the league” … when his players do.

    12. GatorGossage
      May 21st, 2008 | 3:14 pm

      The team sucks right now. Strategy doesn’t have much to do with it. Motivationg doesn’t have much to do with it. This particular collection of players at this point in their careers has everything to do with it.

    13. Rich
      May 21st, 2008 | 4:24 pm

      Miller Huggins or Joe McCarthy would look bad with the way this team is playing. You can’t win if you can’t score, and this team can’t score.

      Girardi does remind me of Martin to the extent that the team no longer turns the other cheek when a player gets HBP. He reminds of Showalter in the sense that he is intense and overcontrolled. And he reminds me of Torre because he sticks with players who stink because they are veterans.

    14. Joel
      May 21st, 2008 | 5:41 pm

      The Yanks were supposed to come out of the gate intense and inspired, right? After all, the old guy was too laid back. He sat on his ass drinking green tea while his all-star team won lots of games. He was a poor tactician. He knew nothing about the stats. He burnt out the promising Scott Proctor! Any schmuck could have won with a $200 million payroll.

      Well, here we are at 20-25. After 12 years in a row, let’s see if the new guy can make it one year in a row.

    15. butchie22
      May 21st, 2008 | 6:41 pm

      Joel quick correction,didn’t that “Dummkopf” Torre have a 228 million dollar payroll last year?And that was before it was pro-rated!Girardi had the Hughes-Kennedy experiment to deal with and Torre didn’t.Yes,Torre was successful for getting the Yankees into the playoffs for 12 years BUT he is the same dummkopf/stunad who cost the 2001 WS by overusing Mariano during the year,his questionable strategy cost the Yanks the 2003 WS and lost the 2004 ACLS when he was up 3-0………..

    16. Rich
      May 21st, 2008 | 8:58 pm

      Torre never lost A-Rod and Posada at the same time.

    17. Joel
      May 21st, 2008 | 10:36 pm

      Blah, blah, blah…like Torre didn’t have any problems to deal with.


    18. September 9th, 2008 | 8:21 am

      […] as to whether or not I was correct with those thoughts last year on Girardi. At that time, I wrote: …have we seen any of these three qualities from Joe Girardi? Was I wrong about his ability […]

    19. June 23rd, 2009 | 7:09 am

      […] 2007, I recommended that the Yankees should hire Joe Girardi to lead their team. Then, last year, in May, and again in September, I questioned if I made a mistake, or not, with that […]

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