Via Mike Harrington today –
Yankees haters and even Yankees fans might not believe this, but it’s time to admit that Joe Girardi is one heck of a manager. The guy won a World Series in 2009, has gone to the playoffs the last three years, and it’s still easy to say this is his best managing job yet.
There have been 55 players — the most in the storied history of the franchise — wearing pinstripes this year. Some glove-first guy named Brendan Ryan (we don’t see many Seattle games here) was acquired to replace Jeter and finish out the season at shortstop.
Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes look like they’re at the end of the line in New York and forget prospects for another year, at least until the kids who helped Double-A Trenton win the Eastern League Thursday night are ready to contribute.
Girardi handles all of it incredibly. The media group that follows the Yankees is as professional as they come and they’re also voracious for information. The clubhouse is a zoo before the game and afterward. Girardi answers the endless questions and hardly ever gets flustered. One day never carries into the next.
On his way up with the Bisons 12 years ago, Eric Wedge taught me the term “separate”. It’s a reference to the fact baseball is every day and you just can’t have any carryover from one game to the next. Girardi is a master at it.
The Yankees entered the weekend 11 games over .500 in a season where Jeter hit .190 in only 63 at-bats, Mark Teixeira hit .151 in 53 at-bats, someone named David Adams played 41 games at third base, Hughes is 4-13 and CC Sabathia has an ERA that is nearly 5.00.
Teams like that lose 90 games. Girardi will come close to winning 90. And get this: He’s a free agent after the season. Can’t imagine the Yankees won’t make him a big offer he can’t refuse but he’d be quite the free agent prize.
Girardi is a Chicago guy who met his wife at Northwestern. Think Theo Epstein might want to tweak the Yankees again and talk to him about the Cubs job? Think the Nationals, with the retiring Davey Johnson, might be attractive to Girardi because of their stable of young talent?
It’s going to be an interesting winter for Girardi. John Farrell of the Red Sox is likely going to get American League Manager of the Year. But everyone in the game knows the job the Yankees’ skipper has done this year too. His binder of stats drives Yankees fans crazy at times but you can’t argue the results.
Here’s all you need to know: The Yankees record, this morning, is 79-70. But, their Pythagorean W-L record is 74-75. And, the difference, folks, is Girardi.