The Baseball Exchange

N.Y. Daily News: Joe Girardi apparent leader in race for Yanks’ manager by 27yankees


The Yankees apparently have reached a decision on a new manager, which they are prepared to announce Sunday or Monday, and there were increasing signs Saturday night pointing to Joe Girardi.

As has been stated by Yankee ownership, GM Brian Cashman is the one who will make the recommendation to ownership based on his interviews with all three candidates – Girardi, Don Mattingly and Tony Peña – along with advice from all his baseball people.

The recommendation then would need to be given final approval by the Steinbrenner family.

While nobody in the Yankee high command was prepared to speculate on Cashman’s favorite, sources familiar with the GM’s thinking pointed out that Girardi had all the characteristics – an analytical approach, organizational skills that come from having already managed (the Florida Marlins) and a proven ability to handle a pitching staff – Cashman is thought to be looking for.

This is an interesting decision. The obvious conclusion is that he’s probably a better manager at strategy than Torre was. However, this is something of a leap of faith on the part of the Yankees FO – Cashman has spent several years working incredibly hard to bring in a depth of young starting pitchers and we are seeing that paying off with Wang, Hughes, Chamberlain, and Kennedy all coming up, and more on the way. Girardi worked with an equally young pitching staff in Florida just a few years ago, and there is worry that he helped to cause many of the injuries that occurred to the Marlins pitching staff over the past few years. If the Yankees make him the manager, they are putting their faith in Girardi’s ability to manage young pitchers.

In addition, it means that they are willing to estrange Yankees great Don Mattingly, who will likely leave the organization if the Yankees pull in Girardi over Mattingly. On the one hand, Girardi does represent a former Yankee too, but the Yankees have already estranged Joe Torre and Ron Guidry this offseason.

Another question that rises is who replaces the base, bench, and pitching coaches. When Joe Torre was the manager, he helped to bring in base coaches Bowa and Peña. Bowa is likely headed to the Mariners; we have a void in the pitching coach department, Peña is likely going to leave if he isn’t made manager, and as I said earlier, Mattingly is probably going to take off if he isn’t made manager. That leaves a coaching staff void. I think that a likely internal candidate for pitching coach is Dave Eiland, the AAA pitching coach; he has worked with the young pitchers and makes a good choice. Another candidate is probably Leo Mazzone, but I’m not sure that he really ever had any magic pitching dust in the first place. Maybe this is just me, but most of the Braves pitchers who were so good are still really good, even without him.

As for the bench coach, I think that Tony Peña would make a good fit – he’s something of a contrasting personality to Girardi, and he is a smart baseball guy. That said, he probably won’t do it. That leaves us grasping for straws for a bench coach, and we probably aren’t going to find one easily. Same goes for the base coaches.

However, the biggest decision this season doesn’t even have anything to do with the coaching staff. The most important key to this offseason for the Yankees is A-Rod. With A-Rod, the Yankees have the best player in baseball. Without him, they have Wilson Betemit at third. Honestly, Betemit is probably one of the top thirty third basemen in baseball, and thus, deserves a starting spot. He could probably hit 25-30 homers over a full season if he got a chance. However, would anyone on this planet prefer him to A-Rod, even including A-Rod’s antics? I thought so.

The Yankees are expected to offer 5 years and $150M to his current deal of 3 years and $81M. 8 years and $231M is probably the best offer A-Rod can expect. If he’s not going to take an offer like that, he probably just doesn’t want to be in NYC. Either that, or Scott Boras has brainwashed him into thinking that there is a team with more cash than the Yankees.

The World Series looks bleak right now. There is always a chance that the Rockies can overcome a 0-3 hole, but it seems more likely that the Sox are going to take it in 4 and become the first repeat winners since the Yankees. Does this make them the new Yankees? I think so.



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