Girardi’s hits and misses

Chad Jennings over at LoHud recaps some of the decisions that did and didn’t work for the Yankee manager this season. I’ll go through them individually, with comments of my own. Here goes:

Three decisions that worked
Taking the fifth: Robinson Cano and Phil Hughes

Agree. It was time to challenge him entering his age 27 season and he didn’t disappoint. We all knew the tools were there with Robbie and his profile is that of a perfect #5 hitter given how much he swings the bat and his contact rates. The Yanks have wanted him there for years, and 2010 was when he finally put it all together. On Hughes, his strong 2009 out of the bullpen and upside as a starter made him an easy call as well, unless you had your mind made up about ‘Joba the Starter’ going into 2010 spring training.

Trusting Tex: In the No. 3 spot, Mark Teixeira rebounded

Agree, but it’s not like he was going to bench a player who signed a massive 8 year contract just a season earlier. We all know he’s a notorious slow starter, and this is something the manager and fans will have to live with.

Resting Rodriguez: Days off kept Alex Rodriguez fresh

Again, easy call. The Yanks aren’t about winning games in June, they’re about October. If anything, in retrospect he may wish he rested Alex more given his late season injury and lackluster 2010 playoffs.

Also give him credit for: Recognizing Javier Vazquez couldn’t start… Sticking with Marcus Thames through a brutal spring training… Pushing the right buttons with minor league call-ups in the middle of the season.

Thames I’ll give you, though it was similar to Tex in that the Yanks didn’t have a ton of other options for power off the bench against Lefties. Vazquez’ stuff was way down all year and he pitched himself out of the Yankee rotation, twice. I can’t give Joe too much credit for recognizing the obvious.

Three decisions that didn’t work
Hoping for better:
Keeping Derek Jeter in the leadoff spot

Given Derek’s 15 year track record and Brett Gardner’s tenuous status on the team at the time, this was another easy call. You could argue that Derek should have been dropped down around mid season, but Jeter has been so good for so long you almost have to give him a full season to succeed or fail. As Chad said it didn’t work out, but Derek has meant so much to the team over the years that you can’t mess around with him too much, especially as a manager on an expiring contract. Had he fooled around with him, we’d all be blaming Joe for the down year.

Joba rules: Or maybe he doesn’t

The Yankee brass had a lot riding on Joba, with how he’s been handled and all the debate he’s stirred in his time with the team. In 09 he was given every chance to succeed as a starter, in 2010 he was given a full shot as a reliever. Neither worked out, so now the blame falls squarely on him. I’m in the camp that thinks if there’s a deal out there to be made, the Yanks won’t let him stand in the way of acquiring a needed piece.

Bad platoon: Austin Kearns kept getting at-bats

I didn’t get this one either, but between Kearns and Gaudin most of September seemed to be spent auditioning for October. Neither worked out.

Also worth questioning: Using Chad Gaudin ahead of playoff pitcher Sergio Mitre down the stretch… Treating A.J. Burnett considerably differently than Vazquez, despite similar seasons… Keeping Francisco Cervelli partnered with Burnett, despite poor results.

There are 4 years and 67 million reasons why the two pitchers were treated differently. As to pairing Burnett with Cervelli, I think the manager believes Posada is too old and slow to handle Burnett’s hard breaking pitches and overall wildness when he’s off his game. As a former Catcher, I’ll take his word for it.

8 thoughts on “Girardi’s hits and misses

  1. Disco

    If Joba is a piece in a real good, like getting Greinke or maybe even Rasmus, of course I’d trade him.

    But people are giving up on him way too fast. I know it’s tough to be patient when you’re a “win now” team like the Yankees, but you need patience with young players, especially pitchers. Joba is still young and has shown what he’s capable of in both 2009 and 2010.

    I strongly believe if we trade him now, he’ll just be another pitcher that figures it out later than expected and he’ll have great success with another team and five years from now we’ll be wondering why we traded him in the first place.

    • Damian

      I agree. Even Mike Axisa at RAB is almost certain that the Yanks will cut bait with Joba and trade him this offseason. Like you say, if he’s a piece in the right deal (like one that lands the Yanks Greinke or another elite talent) then it’s an easy decision. Otherwise, I think it’s just selling low on a guy who just turned 25 and was only given about 80 innings of starting work in the minors before being brought up to the majors and asked to figure out his stuff there. Ideally he would have figured out how to pitch during his pre-arbitration years, but that hasn’t quite happened. Why would another team trade for the arbitration years of a guy that the Yankees would seem to be giving up on?

    • timber

      Hilarious that anybody thinks that Joba has enough trade value to get Greinke or Rasmus. Please, people. Wake up and smell the coffee. The Yankees have ruined Joba and all of baseball knows it. He still has some value; another team would take a chance with him, knowing that they would have to start all over with his development and with the understanding that it may never work. That sort of project doesn’t get you elite, proven talent. Come on.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      Why should we have patience with Joba when the yankees don’t have patience with him. After being a full time starter for the first time in his ML career they banished him to the BP where he lost his role as the 8th inning guy. He didn’t pitch in the ALDS and his appearances in the ALCS came when the yankees were losing by multiple runs. He doesn’t have a role on the team. It’s best if they move forward and trade him to another ball club.

  2. oldpep

    I agree with both of the previous posts. I still think he’s much better suited to be a starter than a BP guy, so giving him the opportunity to shine in that role is limited here.

    I disagree about Kearns getting ABs being a mistake. He’s hit throughout his career, and he’s being judged by a very small sample size (and Chad’s probably my favorite baseball blogger, so I hate to nit-pick). I think Girardi had two targets when he started Austin: get him going vs lefties, and give Gardner as many days off as possible.

    I certainly agree about Jeter. My fear is that DJ continues to hit at the top of the order and continues to decline at the same time.

  3. The Big City of Dreams

    Because that other team might believe they can unlock the key to Joba Chamberlain. Teams makes trades or signings all the time because they feel they will succeed where the other team failed.

  4. Marcus

    Don’t kill me on this but is it time for Cano to be moved to the #3 spot in the lineup?I’d like to see Cano, Tex, A-Rod.

    • smurfy

      Good thinking! I’d further make it semi-malleable: Robbie and Tex are both streaky, and swtching the hotter into the more frequent appearance spot is the thing. Alex seemed locked in funks at times, and such might help free him. Robbie’s frequency of contact, and ability to go with the pitch to the opposite field also argue for #3.

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