Ed Price, Yankee beat writer for the troubled Star Ledger, has been one of the more reliable reporters this year. He’s consistently offered up what I feel are fair assessments of the team through thick and thin. If The Star-Ledger goes under, as has been rumored around the New York media circuit recently, I hope Price lands himself a good gig with another paper.
Today, Price tackles a topic bound to come up over the off-season: Joe Girarid’s effectiveness in his first season as Yankee manager. The piece is both a fair and blunt assessment of Girardi’s shortcomings this season. Compiling some info from anonymous clubhouse sources, Price writes:
Girardi’s shortcomings this season have been a lack of communication with players and some of his coaches, an inability, at times, to create a productive atmosphere, a lack of a deft touch with the media (no small issue in New York) and an occasional disregard for players’ egos…
The media skills of Girardi — who has worked as a television analyst — became a topic again last week when Girardi, at Mariano Rivera’s request, tried to hide Rivera’s shoulder issue. In the aftermath, Girardi wound up apologizing for his handling of injury news over the course of the season.
The same tension that often comes across in Girardi’s interview sessions also affects the players. He has been described as “tight” from about an hour before the game through its duration, and players feed off that.
So as the team dug itself a deficit in the standings, the players found it hard to relax.
Price also notes that Girardi relied too heavily on Bobby Meachem and Mike Harkey, coaches of his from the Marlins, and did not do a great job with talent evaluation, including decisions regarding Morgan Ensberg and the center field role.
In the end, we’ll all have a lot to say about Joe Girardi this year. He has his flaws; he has his strengths. The real test will, of course, come next year when we find out if Joe learned anything from his first year in New York.