Lame Duck Joe

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While Hal breaks traditional Yankee business rules to start contract negotiations with Robinson Cano, it bears reminding that there is another key piece of the puzzle entering this season in the final year of his current contract- manager Joe Girardi.  This season will be Joe’s sixth at the helm of the Bronx Bombers and other than the one post I wrote on the subject a while back, there doesn’t seem to be much discussion anywhere about his future with the organization and where the front office should put re-signing him on the priority list.

Joe’s status in 2013 isn’t a lame duck one in the truest sense of the phrase.  He’s got a 479-331 record, won three division titles, an American League pennant, and a World Series championship in his five years as Yankee manager, so his body of work definitely doesn’t merit a position on the hot seat.  If the Yankees don’t make the postseason this year, it will have more to do with injuries and the step back the team took in overall talent this past offseason than Girardi’s managing.  Things would have to get REEEEEEEEEEEEEEALLY bad for Joe’s head to roll after this season, like last place in the AL East/losing the locker room a la Bobby V. last year/actually punching Joel Sherman’s lights out in the locker room kind of  bad.

That being the case, it is a tad strange to see the Yankees let Joe get to the end of his current contract and add one more storyline to the upcoming payroll crunch transition.  Like it or not, next season is going to have a rebuild-y feel to it if ownership sticks to their $189 million guns and Joe, having experienced the stress of managing the Yankees, is a better choice than anybody else to handle that situation.  Say what you want about his decision making when it comes to using relief pitchers and putting on the sac bunt, but Joe has done a pretty damn good job of managing the personalities and maintaining a calm, cool head when things start to fall apart.  I give him a tremendous amount of credit for the way he handled all the injuries last year to navigate the team to 95 wins and for how well he kept his professional composure during the postseason offensive disappearing act while dealing with the death of his father.

Again, I don’t think there’s anything worth reading into when it comes to Joe entering this season as a lame duck manager.  I’m sure it’s just a matter of the Steinbrenners focusing their efforts on the payroll plans.  But I do think he’s the right man for the job next year when the going will get even tougher and I think he’s earned another contract extension.

(Photo courtesy of Rick Osentoski/US Presswire)

Born in Dover, Delaware and raised in Danbury, Connecticut, Brad now resides in Wisconsin, where he regularly goes out of his way to remind Brewers fans that their team will never be as good as the Yankees. When he’s not writing for IIATMS, he likes to spend his time incorporating “Seinfeld” quotes into everyday conversation, critiquing WWE storylines, and drinking enough beer to be good at darts.

9 thoughts on “Lame Duck Joe

  1. I hope he's retained. He has his issues at times, but I think he's an excellent manager of the bullpen and definitely has the respect of the players. Aside from Earl Weaver, I can't think of anyone I'd rather have manage this team. He gets the players, he gets the organization, he gets the market. He's the guy.

    • I agree. It took me a bit but I've come around completely.If he can get Gardner to stop diving into first, we will be all set.

      • I'm in the same boat. I used to be pretty Anti-Joe, but I've come around over the years. He still has me scratching my head every now and then with a personnel decision, but I don't think anybody else could have handled all of last season's hurdles as well as he did.

  2. John

    I agree that Joe should be retained, however, I still hold hope that I will see Donnie Baseball win a WS as manager of the Yankees at some point in my life time.

  3. Ben

    I totally disagree. Punching Joel Sherman's lights out would thrust him into best Yankee manager discussion.

  4. hawaii dave

    First of all, Joe doesn't fit the term "lame duck" in any way shape or form. Lame duck refers to someone who " can't" come back the next year, and Joe certainly "can" come back should he get and accept an offer. A better example would be Obama because he literally cannot come back for another term. That is half the lame duck scenario…the other part of the equation that makes someone a "lame duck" would be to sit back and do nothing. People who cannot come back, plus sit around and just collect a paycheck are called lame duck. Neither Joe nor Obama can be accused of sitting back and doing nothing. That was Joe Torre's tactic….have the GM put an all star at every position and sit with Mel Stotlemeyer on the bench and letting the guys play. But this will be an interesting season because for the 1st time in a long time, a Yankee manager, including Joe Girardi, has to actually manage with a strategy and use other means to win games other than 3 run homers. I think he can do it, but we shall see.

  5. lazlosother

    Sometimes I think Joe over-manages, but no manger is without flaws and I hope NY keeps him. That said, the punching Joel Sherman's lights out got my hopes up. Well, like I said, no manager is perfect.

  6. Mister D

    What was Churchill's line about democracy? Its the worst system in the world except for all the others? While I won't quite go that far – Girardi will never be mistaken for Jerry Manuel or Tony LaRussa – he is still more capable than most managers out there. I trust the Yankees to give him the day-to-day talent, and for Joe to keep egos in check. The main thing is working the bullpen and role players, and he seems very good at that.

  7. brian

    I like Girardi… want to see him retained and have believe he does have the respect of the team….

    But are we REALLY supposed to ignore how he completely lost control of the dugout once Jeter went down? Do I need to remind anyone of Cano lounging on the water cooler??? Or Swisher breaking down??

    Here's what we learned in 2012… This is Derek Jeter's team as long as he's still on the roster, period.

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