• Girardi Now On Trial?

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2009 · Comments (15)

    Via Bob Klapisch:

    As the Yankees slip just out of the Red Sox’ radar range, Joe Girardi enters a critical phase of his managerial career. He must prove he’s secure enough to survive the Bombers’ recent turbulence without burnout — to himself and his key players.

    Girardi already crossed that line with Alex Rodriguez, using his refurbished slugger in 38 consecutive games after he returned from hip surgery. General manager Brian Cashman denies he had to intercede on A-Rod’s behalf, insisting the decision to rest Rodriguez was a medical recommendation, not a corporate rebuke. Still.

    Girardi has a history of putting his foot on the gas. In 2006, the year he was voted National League Manager of the Year with the Marlins, Girardi heavily taxed his young rotation. Three of the five starters — Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez — all suffered injuries the following season. And another, Dontrelle Willis, has never been the same.

    Girardi’s demeanor doesn’t go unnoticed in the clubhouse. “Tight” is how one veteran described his manager without rancor. Of course, tight can be another form of intensity that complements Girardi’s obvious intelligence. And to be fair, he’s represented the organization in a commendable way — as opposed to say, Ozzie Guillen, who embarrasses the White Sox on a near-daily basis.

    But there’s more to managing than simply bodysurfing a winning streak. Girardi looked crisp and in control when the Yankees were mauling the AL a month ago, launching all those crazy comebacks. But now they’re struggling — the Red Sox’ domination of the Bombers is nothing short of humiliating — and Girardi’s confidence has turned to a square-jawed form of desperation.

    It’s because Girardi knows his managerial career will be over if he gets fired by the Yankees. The team is feeling the angst over ticket sales — they failed to sell out the Subway Series and are urgently reminding fans that seats are available for the Red Sox series in August.

    Record reader Steve Gigante, a season-ticket holder who is being solicited by the team, wrote, “At the old stadium, they did not have to e-mail me every business day to ask me if I wanted to buy tickets to the Yankees vs. the Red Sox.”

    That pressure trickles down to Cashman, then to Girardi and, ultimately, to the players. Some can handle it. Others, such as A-Rod, cannot. Girardi can’t be blamed for everything that goes wrong in the Yankees’ universe, but he’s being paid to get the most out of his players. How Girardi works that equation in the next few weeks will be worth watching.

    Back in October of 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 recommendation.

    Today, I still find myself wondering if Girardi is the right fit for a team full of mega-million dollar long-term contracts and complicated egos. Having not built up the equity that a skipper such as Joe Torre had on his resume, I’m not sure that Girardi has the required buy-in from some of his stars. (Again, I’m “not sure” – so, don’t mistake this for me saying this is a fact.)

    In any event, I do feel that, with the right team, Joe Girardi can and will be a successful big league manager. It would not shock me, after he’s done with the Yankees, if Girardi went somewhere else and won a ring – like Lou Piniella did when he left New York and took over the Cincinnati Reds. But, it has to be a team where the players are young enough, or not established, where they feel like they have to, and want to, follow Joe’s word like it’s gospel.

    What do you think? Is Joe Girardi now on trial in Yankeeland? Can he lead a team like New York? If not, will he never work again? If he does work again, can he do well elsewhere?

    Comments on Girardi Now On Trial?

    1. MJ
      June 23rd, 2009 | 9:20 am

      Joe Girardi is not on trial. Joe Girardi will not be fired. This is the usual bullshit garbage from NYC media. These idiots exist to fulfill the self-fulfilling prophecy that NYC is a hard place to work because of the scrutiny and demands. The funny (or not-so-funny, depending on your perspective) thing is that it is the media that creates the firestorm, just to then justify their existence.

      As for the whole “[h]aving not built up the equity that a skipper such as Joe Torre had on his resume”, that’s laughable. Joe Torre had no such equity on his resume. He was a career bum as a manager who landed in the right place at the right time. It’s amazing how players can make a manager look like a genius. Before Manny, the Dodgers were nowhere last year. Fortuntely for Joe Torre, he’s the skipper on the best team in a putrid division again this year. Enough with the comparisons to (and laments for) the old nose-picker.

    2. Pat F
      June 23rd, 2009 | 9:48 am

      agreed with your analysis on a lot of fronts here steve. i’m not sold one way or another yet either, and i wanted him just like you did so if it doesn’t work out i was wrong. what has me leaning towards mistake here (and i agree it’s too early to tell), is the way girardi seems to (over?)work his players. i often feel he manages too much like a player, more specifically the player he was. always wants to play, through pain and injuries, and always wants to see his pitchers through the enitre game (as a catcher). mo, posada, jeter, a-rod, etc. – most players, like girardi, are going to ask into the lineup everyday. it’s the managers job to decide when that happens and when it doesn’t. klapish references the florida pitchers, and that is on point (johnson after a long rain delay? really? the way a-rod was handled (of which girardi was at least a part) is laughable. the mo story, of puking and then pitching, if true, is laughable. posada having a cranky hammy earlier, playing a few more games, only to pop it against boston when he probably should have gotten more rest, is questionable. there are a lot of decisions, in my opinion, that girardi makes in terms of working his players that are between questionable and laughable. mostly in terms of leaving starters in way too long (in terms of both present effectiveness and long term health) and playing nicked up players into the ground. this is what has me wondering most about what his ability to do this thing.

    3. Scout
      June 23rd, 2009 | 9:56 am

      The manager of the Yankees is always on trial. Following the sainted Torre was bound to be a no-win proposition unless his successor won the World Series in year one or two. But it took Torre time to build up his reputation — it was based on multiple world championships. If that kind of credibility is what the position now requires, then NO MANAGER can succeed because there simply is not another one out there with the requisite credentials. It may be that Girardi has to fail and fall to lower the bar to a more realistiic standard for his successor

    4. MJ
      June 23rd, 2009 | 10:00 am

      If that kind of credibility is what the position now requires, then NO MANAGER can succeed because there simply is not another one out there with the requisite credentials. It may be that Girardi has to fail and fall to lower the bar to a more realistiic standard for his successor
      An excellent point which underscores the idiocy of the Steinbrenner doctrine and the fans/members of the media that believe that winning should be easier for the Yanks than for any other team. If it were as easy as they thought, the Yanks would be polishing their 10th rings, not still stuck on their 4th…

    5. mondoas
      June 23rd, 2009 | 4:27 pm

      There is a problem within this team which I don’t believe Girardi can fix. There is too much DRAMA or there seems to be b/c you only know what you either read in the newspapers or online. I also listen to the radio online and start to draw my own conclusions.
      You hear about A-Rod and how he has been handled in regards to his hip and his dating of Kate hudson to whether or not pitchers want to pitch to Posada. Is Jeter getting too old and who should be in the outfield. Who is actually running this team and lastly, do people on this team respect Girardi because some of them actually played with him and because of some of his decisions?
      Now I have to wonder how much of this is the media and how much of this is true? Either way it has to be fixed like yesterday because how can you expect a team to function through all of this and how can Joe G handle it all. I truly believe he nor anyone else can. Unless the organization brings someone in from 78 to give the team a lecture on “how to win when some people don’t care for each other and when there is mass dysfunction” they are in trouble. You can try and sweep this under something but in the end it will definitely ruin what’s left of this team.

    6. redbug
      June 23rd, 2009 | 5:51 pm

      If reports are true, players are questioning Girardi.

      Arod on a conference call w/ Cashman and Hal and not Girardi.

      CC telling George King his arm pain may be due to: “It could be the 120 pitches this year.”

      If Girardi is losing his many million dollar per year players, he’s in trouble.

    7. Jake1
      June 24th, 2009 | 10:12 am

      he should be fired. hes been terrible as the manager. they cannot let the season get away from them here and you cant fire the players

    8. butchie22
      June 24th, 2009 | 11:11 am

      Steve, I think that he(Girardi) can be successful elsewhere. He might not be the right guy for this team , but who is? Tony Pena? A lot of players seem to respect him so that seems the next logical choice. Willie Randolph? No thanks, I like him as a coach and as a player but not as a manager. I didn’t like what happened with the Mets.

      It’s not all Gym Teacher Joe’s fault either, just point the finger at Cash Man! He is the architect of this team NOT Girardi. He chose the players and they are not consistent as a team. Yes, part Girardi’s job is to try to accomplish that. BUT the GM signs and selects those players for their team. The GM unlike Stick and Watson before him, seems to pick players that not changing things intrinsically BUT rather extrinsically. The cream pies and the goofiness are fine, BUT can the team win at the same time?Funny how Swisher said that Girardi is his favorite manager BECAUSE he brings everyone together! Either Swisher the Baseless runner is dead on or totally dead off.

    9. Sicilian Lou
      June 24th, 2009 | 12:55 pm

      I have to side with Butchie here… At this point, who can the Yankees and turn to to guide this ship?… The recent woes of this organization lie at the foot of the GM.. He picks and signs them. I never been a fan of General Joe.. Loved in in the YES network but, like the saying goes, Those who can do, Those who can’t teach and those who can’t teach, teach gym..

      Hey Steve, just a quick question.. Do you think Randy Levine will be the guy who throws Ca$hman under the bus when the Steins look for a return on their investments if this team doesn’t make the Playoffs?.. The Yankees for the first time since George bought them are about to loss stadium revenue. That has happen all buy one time, the first year Geroge bought the team….

    10. June 24th, 2009 | 2:02 pm

      Randy Levine? Is he still around?

      Personally, I would bet that Cashman has positioned himself as Hal Stein’s Concubine by now, and that makes him safe from ever getting the blame on things. After all, the “C” in Cashman stands for “CYA.”

    11. MJ
      June 24th, 2009 | 2:12 pm

      After all, the “C” in Cashman stands for “CYA.”

    12. June 24th, 2009 | 2:22 pm
    13. MJ
      June 24th, 2009 | 2:25 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      MJ – I’m not the only one who feels this way.

      Doesn’t mean it’s not BS.

    14. June 24th, 2009 | 2:29 pm

      Your opinion vs. ours MJ. And, would you like it if we said your opinion was BS?

    15. Raf
      June 24th, 2009 | 3:43 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Your opinion vs. ours MJ. And, would you like it if we said your opinion was BS?

      If it is, certainly. Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade 😀

      Having said that, given the political nature of front offices (and human nature in general), it would not surprise me in the least if Cashman tried to align himself with the Stein brothers. Tis the nature of the game, corporate, or otherwise.

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