Via Bob Klapisch -
Now [Manny] Ramirez is looking for a pre-recession payday — $25 million a year for at least four years. While the Yankees aren’t actively pursuing him, no one in the organization has ruled it out, either.
This is bad news for Joe Girardi, who’s already facing a difficult 2009 agenda. Despite the apparent imbalance in the Yankees’ roster — terrific pitching, questionable offense — the manager is expected to get the Bombers to the playoffs or else lose his job.
Of course, the front office hasn’t issued a win-or-else edict to Girardi. But officials are aware that his leadership style was too rigid and too intense for a veteran clubhouse. It’s hard to believe Girardi can loosen up in the span of one off-season, but he’d better: If the Yankees are playing .500 ball in mid-May, the clock on his dismissal will be ticking loudly.
This is the same pressure that Willie Randolph faced early in 2008, and look how the Mets responded: They got their manager fired as they sunk under .500. Girardi is getting one more chance to undo last year’s mistakes, including his over-reliance on team meetings, his inability to digest and process tough losses and his ill-advised policy of banning junk food in the clubhouse.
Forget about how CC Sabathia will feel once he realizes there’s no ice cream and candy allowed. He is, by all accounts, a good guy and terrific team player. He’ll cope. Ramirez’ assimilation, however, is another story.
It’s funny, in the press conference the other day for Sabathia and Burnett, Girardi made a statement along the lines of “I told [Sabathia and Burnett's wives] to enjoy [their husbands] for the next eight weeks, because, after that they’re all mine.” And, when he said that, I thought “I know what he’s thinking, and I love the guy; but, maybe that’s not the best statement to make to his new employees, albeit well paid newbies, and their wives, on day one?”
After all, nobody likes to feel like they’re owned and at the will of someone else – even if they are in a situation like that.
It will be interesting to see, in 2009, if there are still rumblings about the players not liking Girardi’s style…