Feb
05

Do you trust Girardi to take this team to the Series?

By

For the past half hour I’ve been looking for something Yankee related to riff on, but there’s just nothing turning up. We’ve hit a real lull in terms of news, and that has us focusing on topics around the league. I did stumble across this Matt Gagne article in the Daily News (does he pronounce it like Eric or Greg?), which isn’t much, but it’s something to talk about as we await the RAB Radio Show this afternoon.

Gagne talked to some Yankees fans at Joe Torre’s book signing regarding their faith in Joe Girardi compared to the old skipper. The way Gagne presents it, most fans only trust Torre to take this team to the playoffs. Some selected quotes:

“It would be as close to a guarantee as you could get,” said Tammy Weinrib, 33, incredulous that Torre no longer wears pinstripes. “I’m still furious by what happened….He was the best coach they ever had.”

“I don’t think the Yankees are going to make the playoffs this year,” said Brandon Cohen, 35, of South Amboy, N.J. “I don’t know if Girardi can get all these guys together. With Torre, no question. They wouldn’t necessarily win the World Series, but they’d get there.”

This is a bunch of baloney. Dislike Girardi if you will, but to say that Torre can take this team to the Series and Girardi can’t is giving way too much credit to Torre and way too little to Girardi. These specific fans, and fans who think like this, are viewing the issue at only the surface level: Torre made the playoffs every year from ’96 through ’07, and in Girardi’s first year on the job he broke the streak. Ergo, Torre can do it and Girardi can’t.

Say what you will about a manager’s effect on a baseball team, but I don’t think Girardi was at the center of the issue last year. The Yanks had poor timing. They got some quality outings from their starters early in the season but couldn’t score runs. Then they picked up the offensive production, but dropped off in the pitching department when Sidney Ponson and Darrell Rasner took the spots of Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain.

As Mike showed, the Yankees runs scored vs. runs against was about even for the first half. They made some separation at the end of July, but in August the numbers grew closer again, and that’s what prevented the Yankees from making the playoffs. You can make proclamations about how it all came back to Girardi, but I can’t agree with that. Injuries did a number on the team.

I have full faith that Joe Girardi can lead this team to the playoffs. Maybe Joe Torre could have, too. I don’t think there’s any real way to say, though, without getting into total anecdotal speculation.

Categories : Rants

214 Comments»

  1. Matt says:

    I Believe in Joe Girardi.

  2. Joe Girardi did more with less when he was with the Marlins, so I have complete confidence that he can lead this Yankee team to the World Series.

    Also, I believe 100% that Girardi was the right call over Donnie Baseball at this stage.

  3. steve (different one) says:

    ugh.

  4. JohnnyC says:

    This is something we all knew before the age of ubiquitous Yankees blogs — a lot of fans…I mean a LOT of fans…simply can’t be expected to discuss much less draw conclusions about the team (or the sport really) in any way resembling an analytical fashion. It is indeed the single greatest factor in Torre’s self-constructed public image as Yankees manager. I won, nobody else has (in your personal memory), so, therefore, I am the greatest Yankee manager in history. End of discussion. It’s the meme that saves him from looking crass, exploitive, and just plain greedy for writing this book. A lot of fans and much of the press buy into it. As is true with almost all Yankees-related issues right now, that meme doesn’t get cancelled until we win it all again. Which is everyone’s fervent hope, no?

    • jsbrendog says:

      agreed

      • Chris P. says:

        While I agree that this team can certainly win without Torre. I believe we are all guilty of underestimating his impact.

        Over the course of his twelve years, his yearly record averaged two wins above the pythagorean W-L of the team. This includes years of +3, +4, + 4.5, +5, and +11.5 (!).

        Torre is not the only manager who can win in NY. But he certainly was excellent.

        • whozat says:

          I believe we are all guilty of underestimating his impact.

          I’m pretty sure that quality and durability of starting pitching during the years you cite had MUCH more to do with the winning than did Joe Torre.

          I give him credit for keeping the team from giving up after slow starts in 2006 and 2007. Buuuuut if we’re going to credit him for whipping the team into a winning shape by July, why aren’t we lambasting him for failing to get them out of the gate effectively in April?

          • jsbrendog says:

            agreed with whozat. disagreed with dude above him

            • Chris P. says:

              “I’m pretty sure that quality and durability of starting pitching during the years you cite had MUCH more to do with the winning than did Joe Torre.”

              The Pythagorean W-L takes into account the good pitching we had during those years, as well as the good offense. Then it estimates the amount of games a team should be expected to win based on how many runs they score, and how many runs they give up.

              Torre’s teams averaged two more wins over the course of his tenure.

              Since this equation takes into account the runs for/against a team, and twelve years seems (to me at least) a little too long attribute luck, I am comfortable saying that Joe Torre’s managerial skills added on average 2 wins a year to the team.

              This to me is very impressive

        • But exceeding your pythag doesn’t necessarily mean that’s all brilliant managing decisions or great personality management.

          Could just be dumb luck. How can you tell?

          • Chris P. says:

            TSJC,

            Of course, luck I’m sure played a factor. But Torre was manager for twelve years, plenty of time to get unlucky as well with the Pythag W-L.

            It seems highly unlikely to me that the +2 average of him can be attributable mainly to luck.

            • whozat says:

              bullpen quality correlates much more strongly with over or under performing pythag than do “magical manager factors”. Joe was blessed with some great bullpen arms that he could ride into the ground. Also, the presence of weak teams in ones division. See: the Angels this year.

              • Chris P. says:

                Yes but the runs that a bullpen give up still count towards the equation. I’m not sure I know what you mean.

                All i’m saying is the team outperformed it’s estimated record consistently under Joe Torre.

            • steve (different one) says:

              ok, Girardi outperformed his pythag by 2 games this year. what does that mean?

              Torre underperformed his pythag by 3 games in 2007.

              is it a coincidence that 2007 was Mariano’s “worst” season? i don’t know, probably…

              but i wouldn’t be surprised to learn that at least PART of the Yankees outperforming their pythag during the Torre years had to do with winning a lot of 1 run games b/c they have the greatest closer in the history of the game.

            • Over the course of his twelve years, his yearly record averaged two wins above the pythagorean W-L of the team. This includes years of +3, +4, + 4.5, +5, and +11.5 (!)

              Okay, let’s play this game.

              There’s a man who managed a team for 9 years. During those 9 years, the team’s yearly W/L record averaged 1.5 wins above their pythagorean W/L record, including years of +4, +5, +6, and +10(!)

              That team was the San Fransisco Giants from 1993-2002. And that man was Dusty Baker.

            • Jay CT says:

              Out of curiousity, what was his Pythag from 2004-2007, when the glory days were over?

              • Chris P. says:

                Jay:

                from 04 to 07 they were +11.5, +5, +.5, and -4.5

                Everyone else,

                I hear your arguments, they make sense. But at the end of the day, at least to me, winning is all that matters. Maybe there is no “reason” why Torre won more than he should have, but he did. To me that has to count for something, no?

        • Sciorsci says:

          If he averaged +2 over 12 years, that should be +24 over the course of his tenure, correct (I’m being lazy by not looking it up myself, I realize)? And you’ve given us five seasons that account for +28 wins above pythag.

          Are those other seven seasons at 0 or -n (again, I’m being lazy and not looking this up on my own)? If so, are we really underestimating the impact of a manager that overperformed his team’s pythagorean W/L in less than half of his seasons here, especially when one of those seasons is nearly single-handedly responsible for half of his +n value by itself.

        • Klemy says:

          “I believe we are all guilty of underestimating his impact.”

          I believe we’re also all guilty of overestimating his impact.

  5. Brett says:

    But I think the point should be made that if Girardi blows it with this team (barring injures to CC, AJ, Tex and lets say Jeter or anyone else) then he should probably be fired. I’m not saying Torre would definitely win, but come on, he was an incredible manager, and although he certainly had great teams, not all of the teams had the talent on paper that this current incarnation will have.

  6. Chris says:

    I suspect that the opinions of the people that went to the Torre book signing are skewed towards his more aren’t fans. I just can’t see people that thought it was a good idea to bring in Girardi going to that book signing.

    • Count Zero says:

      That was my first thought too — sample was skewed.

      • jsbrendog says:

        i agree toa point but i would have loved to go to the book signing because regardless of whether i think he is now a douche he is still the joe torre i loved from 96-about 2003ish. but unlike most of them i am adept at rational and annalytical thought

  7. pat says:

    I think torre was a better manager for a group of older established veterans and kinda let the kids run wild. Torre was also better with the media something I could give 2 shits about. I think girardi was brought in to usher in a new era of relying more on young guys from the farm. The most important aspect of girardi is that he has shown to be more than willing to go with the hot hand later in games. Bullpen management is one of the few areas of a game where the manager can win or lose a game. Torre often famously was stuck in a world of defined roles and too much reliance on veterans as opposed to the most skilled.
    I definitely beleive in Girardi. He got screwed last year with all the injuries something even green tea guy couldnt fatherly himself out of.

    • Good point. I think it’s fitting that the end of the Joe Torre era preceded the end of the Mariano Rivera era. I shudder to think how awful our bullpen could have been with Torre and no Mo security blanket. I also shudder to think of the potential pitcher abuse points Torre would have racked up on Mo in 2008 had be been around.

      Girardi probably not only prolongs Mo’s effectiveness (and careeer) in his twilight years, he also likely maintains a relatively strong and effective pen after whenever Mo hangs them up.

    • Stryker says:

      Torre often famously was stuck in a world of defined roles and too much reliance on veterans as opposed to the most skilled.

      QuanGorMo anyone?!

  8. Manimal says:

    Of course I do. He has some experience and now its time for business.

  9. Ryan S. says:

    I have faith in Girardi. I’m thankful that he uses statistical information to help formulate his game plans , and I was thoroughly impressed with the way he managed the bullpen last year. That said, with the team he’s been given, anything short of at least an appearance in the ALCS would be a big disappointment. I’ve no doubt that he is fully aware of the expectations of his team, and I’m sure he’ll do the very best he can to win us #27 this year. For now, I’ll go ahead and call myself a fan of Joey G.

  10. Tony says:

    What choice do we have? Lets hope he can.

    I will be rooting hard for him to succeed.

  11. Joe Story says:

    I think, if Yanks can win 89 games with Ponson, Rasner and the rest of the gang, They can do much better with CC, AJ, CMW, Joba and Andy, even if one or two fall flat (I am thinking Joba or AJ).

    Last year Girardi didn’t have the weapons to go to war. This year he does and I believe he will deliver. After all, last year the difference was only 8 games between the Rays and the Yanks (its not like we we’re the Mariners). Just like Rockies in 07, Rays were the Cindrella team in 08. Yanks just need to focus on one target, and to me that target is RED SOX.

  12. jsbrendog says:

    if the dodgers do not get manny back i think this whole perception will change when (not if) the dodgers msis the playoffs. If the yankees get in and the dodgers miss out, then all of a sudden mister super manager torre’s armor is starting to wear thin and cannot protect him anymore.

    only thne will your avergae fan (see: totally irrational and unable to formulate analytic thoughts) come to realize that torre isn’t mr perfect winning the intercontinental title with the perfect-plex every october.

    is girardi as good at the media handling and juggling of personalities? maybe not but he has a lot of room to grow and change and a good amoutn of time to try and do it.

    As for technical managing, girardi is WAAAAAAAY better than saint joe and not only has time to progress, but torre is in regression because he is older and pushing against newer methods, stas, etc (as evidenced by his comments in his book about being upset over being told what to based on stats [STATS11!!! GO HUG YOUR SPREADSHEETS IN YOUR MOTER"S BASEMENT NERDS!!!] and his continual playing of over the hill or ineffective veterans because “they’re who got us here” or “you see them trying out there and you see the effort is there” or whatever)

    if girardi can become even mediocre at dealing with the media/personalities/etc then combined with his prowess at bullpen management and hsi hopeful growth in lineups and situational management (when to take out a starter, whonto bring in, when to pinch run, hti and run etc, which i know is mostly luck but hey, there’s some skill involved too, and while the numbers wont always make you win, they certainly help better thann “go with your gut”) he has the potential to far surpass torre. if only he wins some championships.

    • I agree with you comment, and it speaks to a point I was making back during the B-Jobber debates: unanalytical people tend to accept as fact and argue from what they can see, rather than conceptualize the unseen or alternate.

      As in, they see that Joe Torre made the playoffs and Joe Girardi did not, but don’t/can’t conceptualize that the results of the Yankees missing the playoffs and the Dodgers making the playoffs likely would have been identical had you switched managers (Torre still with the Yankees and Girardi on the Dodgers instead).

      Its a laziness of analysis to refuse to look at many factors and simply focus on the most immediately observable ones. It’s linear thinking vs. lateral thinking.

    • Tony says:

      Don’t underestimate the psyke of players – Torre was a master at getting the most of players & managing personalities. Managing the media & the glare is a major part of the job.

      Giradi will need to improve on this aspect to become an elite manager

      • And for the record, if “Torre was a master at getting the most of players & managing personalities”, then doesn’t every single player who underperformed relative to his potential, complained about other teammates, or whined/bitched to the media have to be counted as strikes against him?

        If he’s so awesome with people, why are we still hearing about ARod/Jeter cattiness five years later after it should have been squashed? Why isn’t ARod “one of the guys”, happy and locked in and producing Manny numbers and winning titles constantly? Why did Randy Johnson hate being here and want to set himself on fire to get away? Etc. etc.

        As his book illustrates, for a guy so good with people, Joe Torre seems to be pretty damn shitty with people.

      • jsbrendog says:

        you:
        Managing the media & the glare is a major part of the job.

        Giradi will need to improve on this aspect to become an elite manager

        me before you said that:

        if girardi can become even mediocre at dealing with the media/personalities/etc then combined with his prowess at bullpen management and hsi hopeful growth in lineups and situational management he has the potential to far surpass torre.

        conclusion:

        you didn’t read what i wrote

  13. Rich says:

    My trust in Girardi is proportionate to my trust the talent because a manager has very little impact on a team’s wins and losses beyond bullpen management and personnel deployment.

    All things being equal in terms of health and over or under performance, the talent is sufficient to win the WS.

    Girardi has demonstrated that bullpen management is a strength. He tends not to make decisions based on sentiment.

    My biggest concern for the season is Posada’s health. If he can’t catch 100 games, Molina becomes the regular catcher, and he is only slightly better than replacement level offense/defense.

    If the CF situation remains status quo, that would likely leave two very weak spots in the lineup. I’m confident that they could overcome one. Two would be supoptimal.

  14. A.D. says:

    I completely have faith in Girardi.

    If it wasn’t for the Rays coming out party, the Yankees make the playoffs, and 3rd team in the AL East is something Torre never dealt with.

  15. Bryan V says:

    The fact that Girardi could lead last year’s team to 89 wins, after injuries to many key players including Wang, Joba, and Matsui, should show everybody that he’s more than capable of dealing with adversity.

    I’m willing to bet that if Torre was around last year, the team may have won less. Because much of that team’s success has to do with the great way Girardi handled the bullpen. And Joe was never well-known for his use of relief pitching.

    • jsbrendog says:

      And Joe was never well-known for his use of relief pitching.

      i disagree. he was very well known in all corners for hi bullpen mismanagement

      • Bryan V says:

        Ahhh :)

        And I just realized it was pretty stupid to call him “Joe”. Seeing as how Torre’s and Girardi’s first names are “Joe”.

        Thanks for being able to understand what I meant.

  16. Old Ranger says:

    In Girardi…I trust!
    Joe G. is a throw back, he likes to play “little ball”, with power.
    Players like Brett are perfect for this way of playing. Using the hit and run, SF, bunting a guy over, these are the things he likes to do.
    Adding Power…A-Rod, Tex, Matsui, Posada to the speed of Brett and Johnny is the icing on the cake.
    Last year he was saddled with a plethora of slow footed sluggers and injured players. Hopefully this year will be the team I enjoy watching…win the close games and play % baseball. One doesn’t have Matsui trying to knock the cover off the ball against a guy he has trouble hitting.

  17. steve (different one) says:

    the other aspect is that outside of Torre’s first few seasons, the AL East has been a 2 team race.

    he deserves (a lot of) credit for beating out Boston, but there was not really a legitimate third team in the division from 1998-2007. Toronto had a handful of 85-ish win seasons, but for the most part, it was Boston and New York.

    the ascension of Tampa ALSO happened to coincide with Girardi’s first year as manager, but it is something that was out of his control.

    that was GOING to happen at some point, but maybe it happened about a year earlier than expected?

    if TB were there usual terrible self, Girardi would have guided this team, DESPITE all the crap that happened, to the Wildcard.

    granted, that doesn’t really mean a damn thing, but my point is simply that Torre never had to worry about Tampa.

    • jsbrendog says:

      torre got into the playoffs with shittier managing and just as many injuries multiple times because of the suckitude of the rest of the division. it will come to a point with baltimore and tampa and boston where even a 15 day dl stint for any key player can lead to missing the playoffs. and that will be damned exciting as hell

  18. Macphisto says:

    I was one Yankee fan who was upset with the Torre firing. I like Girardi but I felt if you were going to replace Joe T you bring in someone who is on his level or better. I think it is tough to manage guys you played with and get the same respect as Joe T got. With Torre there was always a stability, even when things were crazy like in 2007. I still root for Joe G but he drove me a little nuts last year. Keeping Giambi in the 5 spot, the way too late benching of Cano. I think he can grow into a solid manager, I like his managing of the pitching staff, but he isn’t there yet. Let’s hope his development takes some leaps and bounds forward this year.

    • Bryan V says:

      The only thing I can really disagree on your problem with Giambi in the 5-hole. His batting average wasn’t great by any means. But an OBP of .373 and Slugging Pct. of .502 is pretty darn good. 96 RBIs is nothing to sneeze at either.

      I’m not his biggest fan…that’s for sure. But I’m not a Giambi-hater either.

      • Macphisto says:

        I am not a Giambi hater either. I like Jason. Just not hitting the 5 spot. He was bad in that role last year. His BA was .212 out of the 5 hole. A-Rod got a lot of bad pitches, that he has a tendency to swing at especially when he is pressing, because the opposing team knew they could employ the shift on Giambi. At .212 he wasn’t hitting, so what if he wlks. The 5 spot has to rake. And Giambi’s clutch numbers were pretty terrible as well. RISP:.213, RISPw2 Outs: .216 Bases Loaded: .136, Close and Late: .155. Pretty awful, especially for the number 5 hitter. He hurt the team a lot this past year.

        • steve (different one) says:

          the point is that Matsui and Posada were hurt, and Cano was having a terrible year.

          there wasn’t really anyone else.

          you are using Nady as an example, but he was only on the team for 1/3 of the season.

          last year was a disaster. Giambi was the best option they had.

          • Macphisto says:

            August 1st the Yanks were 2.5gb in the wild card. Nady had already joined the team and was hot. Giambi was hitting terribly in the 5 hole. Nady or even Cano would have been a better option. Giambi was horrid last year in that role.

            • Chris says:

              Giambi and Nady had almost identical lines for the Yankees from the time Nady was acquired to the end of the season. It wouldn’t have made a difference who batted 5th.

              • Macphisto says:

                Nady didn’t hit .212 and he certainly was better in key situations. Look at Giambi’s stats I listed above. He was terrible. You can’t have that kind of production from the 5 hole.

                • jsbrendog says:

                  Giambi and Nady had almost identical lines for the Yankees from the time Nady was acquired to the end of the season. It wouldn’t have made a difference who batted 5th.

                  this means that it doesnt matter what giambis agregate avg was. it means that they hit the SAME from the time nady got there til the season ended. there would have been no difference.

                • Macphisto says:

                  In August, when the Yanks started the month 2.5gb Nady hit .308 for the month, Giambi hit .232. Those are not identical lines.

                • In August, when the Yanks started the month 2.5gb Nady hit .308 for the month, Giambi hit .232. Those are not identical lines.

                  Jason Giambi, August-September 2008:
                  201 plate appearances, .229 BA, .338 OBP, .482 SLG, .820 OPS, 50 K, 12 HR, 34 RBI.

                  Xavier Nady, August-September 2008:
                  225 plate appearances, .276 BA, .311 OBP, .452 SLG, .763 OPS, 44 K, 10 HR, 36 RBI.

                  There’s nothing dramatic there, dude. Giambi was probably a better option for the 5 spot down the stretch.

                • Macphisto says:

                  In August, when the season was on the line, Nady was hitting much better. Jason hit .232 while Nady hit .308. Yes, Nady’s production dropped off in September. But, Giambi was killing the Yanks all season long when he was in the 5 spot. His clutch numbers were awful and it made A-Rod see a lot more bad pitches that he would swing at because he was pressing. The shift killed Giambi this season more than any other. When Jason hit in the 6th hole he was much better. He hit .346 in that spot. Nady over the course of the whole season hit .309 in the 5th spot versus Giambi’s .212. If you had Nady’s production in August hitting 5th I think things might have turned out differently. He should have at lest tried it for an extended period of time.

                • If you’ll notice, when I put up the lines I included more than just batting average (one of the dumbest stats known to man).

                  Nady may have been outhitting him, but Giambi was always still more productive as Nady’s inability to draw a walk meant that he created more outs than Giambi, and Giabmi produced more extra base hits as well.

                  Bottom line, swapping Giambi for Nady in the 5 hole likely makes the offense worse, not better.

                • Macphisto says:

                  Batting average is one of the dumbest stats known to man..uhmmm ok. You need the 5th hitter in the lineup to get a hit, not draw a walk, or hit into another inning ending double play. OBP is helpful in the 3 spot. Not so much in the 5 hole. You want someone, like Matsui who was great in the 5 spot till he got hurt, to come up behind A-Rod. Did you look at the stats I posted for Giambi in high leverage situations.RISP:.213, RISPw2 Outs: .216 Bases Loaded: .136, Close and Late: .155. God awful. You can’t have that in the 5 hole.

    • steve (different one) says:

      Torre wasn’t fired.

      and who should have hit in in the “5 spot” if not Giambi?

    • whozat says:

      but I felt if you were going to replace Joe T you bring in someone who is on his level or better.

      This is the argument in a nutshell.

      I believe they DID bring in someone “on his level or better,” and so do many others.

      Torre’s upsides: dealing with the media, getting many established stars to play nice together (though, as we see, he’d been marginalizing the best player in the clubhouse for years)

      Girardi’s upsides: integrating young players, making decisions based more on facts than on sentiment

      Which is better for the Yankees at this stage?

      • Macphisto says:

        The thing is it is not a team of young players. You have a lot of vets. And he didn’t do great with the yong players who weren’t pitchers. Look at Cano and Cabrera’s drop off this past year. I think he can get better but at this point I would have liked to see an established manager replace Joe or just to let Joe T stay on.

        • whozat says:

          Cabrera dropped off because he’s not that good. As for Cano…Should Joe G have kicked him in the ass earlier? Yes. Was Joe T the one that kicked Robbie in the ass on a daily basis? No, it was Larry Bowa.

          Also…establishing young pitching is probably the most important thing a manager has to do these days. The Yankees have a LOT of young pitching. Joe Torre HATES to trust pitchers with whom he is not “cuhhmftuhbul”

          • Macphisto says:

            What Girardi was able to do last year was establish a strong pen. That he did a much better job than Torre did and the ’09 Yanks will be much better as a result. But, Cabrera and Cano were rutterless last year. I think Girardi learned a lesson there, just a little late. Torre always had a bad cop for young players like Bowa or Zimm. You have to remember that Torre did a great job developing young players during his tenure with the Yanks. Mo, Jeter, Wang, Cano, Soriano, Posada etc all were brought along under Joe T. And he was plenty comfortable with young pitchers who could perform. Hughes, Kennedy, Joba all saw critical time under Torre. He was willing to throw guys like Karstens, Claussen, Wright, etc out in crucial games. Pitchers had to earn trust under Joe but he gave them the opportunity. Like I said, I think Girardi will be better this year. I just would have like to see Joe T stay on. If Girardi falters this year isn’t Leyland in the last year of his contract?

  19. Here’s one more Torre point to chew on:

    It’s interesting to me that the annual, metronomic success of his Yankees teams somehow means that, despite his numerous flaws, Joe Torre is a “winner” and that, irrespective of the significant talent around him he was most instrumental in achieving that success, that every team should be lucky to have him, that his positives should outweigh his negatives because his track record of winning speaks for itself…

    …while the annual, metronomic success of his Indians and Red Sox teams somehow means that, despite his numerous flaws, Manny Ramirez is a “loser” and that he was not instrumental in achieving that success but simply a undeserving beneficiary of the significant talent around him, that teams would be foolish to acquire him, that his negatives should outweigh his positives and his track record of winning is a statistical fluke of some sort not worthy of mention.

  20. Eyeadapt says:

    People need to let the past go.
    There wasnt much Girardi could do.Its extremely difficult in any division let alone the AL East to compete with 3/5 of the rotation out for most of the season.I see no reason why Rasner and Ponson got as many starts as they did.

    • whozat says:

      I see no reason why Rasner and Ponson got as many starts as they did.

      Because the 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7 starters all missed significant time to injury?

      • Exactly. Last year, we were so banged up, Torre would have been begging Cashman to go sign Kevin Brown and David Wells.

      • Eyeadapt says:

        Yeeas I know that but they were terrible for a long time and nothing was done via trade to replace them.Cashman got a lefty and a OF but the Yanks really needed was a sp/

        • Trading for a starting pitcher is easier said than done. The Brewers traded for CC but gave up one of the best prospects in the game to do it.

          It didn’t fit our long-term plans.

          • Eyeadapt says:

            It never had to be a pitcher the caliber of CC
            Both Ponson and Rasner had 6+ eras and you’re telling me that they could not find one pitcher that would perform better than them?

            • Thomas says:

              They could have gotten a better player than Ponson/Rasner in a player like Washburn, but do you really want to trade a top prospect in Kennedy for a mediocre pitcher with a bad contract. Trading for a guy like Washburn did not fit the Yankees long term goals.

            • steve (different one) says:

              Both Ponson and Rasner had 6+ eras and you’re telling me that they could not find one pitcher that would perform better than them?

              sure, they could have picked up Paul Byrd and missed the playoffs by 4 games instead of 5.

              Byrd was traded after Joba got hurt.

              once Joba got hurt, i realized the season was likely a lost cause and was ok with thinking about the next year.

        • Thomas says:

          It’s easy to say get a SP, but who was available. They could have gotten players like Silva, Washburn, Batista, Millwood, Padilla, Arroyo, and so on. The only pitchers available had long term contracts and/or required the Yankees to give up legitimate prospects. Also if the Yankees acquired any of those pitchers, none of them really improved their playoff chances tremendously.

          • Thomas says:

            I forgot they also could have gotten a very good pitcher rental in CC, but as TJSC mentioned earlier it would have required our very best young players (i.e. Hughes).

  21. Jay CT says:

    Fuck these quoted fans. They will the first ones on their knees when Girardi wins the title. Its people like that that give the Yankee fans a bad name.

  22. Hobs says:

    How come the LAD underachieved their PYTHAG this past year? But…but…Joe Torre…

  23. REG says:

    Have never liked the fact that Torre was writing this book during the ’07 season when that team underachieved as much as any Yanks team of his tenure. And in regards to A-Rod, much of the key to maximizing his postseason potential is getting him to relax and do as he does the other 162 games of the season. If the relationship with him and the manager wasn’t all it could be, I’d much rather keep the sportscar instead of the guy who can’t properly drive it. Not to say it’s all Torre’s responsibility, but he does have an obligation to get the most out of his players, especially at the rate he was being paid.
    With Girardi, the Yanks went as far as they could with a busted up rotation. Also, there were no arms blown out in the pen like Torre would do annually. All things considered, I think Girardi does a good job of getting the most out of his lineup, and this year will be as good of a test as any.

  24. MattG says:

    So a bunch of guys waiting in line to get a book signed by Joe Torre have a high opinion of him. That is shocking!

    I give Torre tremendous success for coming up with a strategy that really used his personnel, and putting the Yankees in the best position to win. If you look at seasons like 2000 and 2001, the Yankees weren’t world beaters, but Torre gave them an identity, and the team knew that if the lived up to that identity, they had a chance at success. That must make it very easy for a player, to do a job he can do, and not have to worry about much else.

    However, I was one of the first people calling for his head shortly thereafter. Even after the personnel of the team changed, Torre tried to force players into the same roles. When those players struggled, Torre was very quick to decide they couldn’t fill whatever role he gave them, and banished them. I can think of no better example than Jose Contreras, who immediately helped Chicago to a title, after Torre ran him out of town, for being unable to pitch in big games.

    No one in that book line realizes that today’s Joe Torre does nothing more than recite cliches and push buttons. He hasn’t had an original thought since he parted with Don Zimmer, and if you don’t give him 25 guys that succeed in the 25 roles he has for them, you don’t have success (84 win seasons in crappy divisions notwithstanding).

    • Tony says:

      so from 1996 – 2001 he could do the job but shortly thereafter he coundn’t?

      Granted he wasn’t perfect – but no one is

      Torre is a great manager & he did great things – even after 2001

      • steve (different one) says:

        sure, and he also did a ton of mind-bogglingly stupid things after 2001.

      • MattG says:

        That’s right, he became worse at his job. People change. Torre had no ego at all in 1996. In 2009, he is as egomaniacal as they come. And (according to my non-existent psychology degree), it was that ego that led him to force players into the defined roles with which he had success, whether they belonged in those roles or not.

        In other industries, this works quite well. You hire people and put them in roles. If they fail, you replace them. You repeat until you fill all the roles and then you succeed. That’s simplistic, of course, but if all your personnel fill the roles you’re going to be in good shape.

        Obviously, a baseball team can’t work that way–there is a finite pool of talent, and it is hard to find enough players for all your roles. It is also very hard to get rid of players, and you have a limited roster. Some of the roles are also really stupidly overvalued: like the 8th inning setup man. The end result is that the roles need to adapt, and the manager needs to be adaptable and creative.

        If you look, it is easy to see how Torre was open to input early in his career, and very close-minded now. He has changed.

        • Tony says:

          perhaps he did – but I generally agreed with his decisions at the time he was making them

          I guess I really valued the fact that he was able to deal with very different personalities (brown, johnson etc) and I felt that he created an enviroment where players could thrive (basically giving them a cacoon) The players could focus on their roles (playing baseball) and he would deal with the distractions (media)

          In my mind that is the most important job of a manager. If a manager is light on the tech issues (stats etc) then he can hire someone to assist in that area.

          • MattG says:

            I would list Brown and Johnson along with Contreras as some of his greatest failures.

            A lot of the blame goes to those players, but Johnson has been pretty good since leaving NY.

  25. Tony says:

    I’m shocked at the hate for Torre

    • That’s because you’re equating intelligent criticism with hate. You shouldn’t.

      Derek Jeter is a bad defensive shortstop now. It would be in the best interests of the Yankees to find a replacement for him and move him to the outfield. Saying that does not mean I hate Derek Jeter.

      Showing love and admiration for someone does not mean you should never say truthful things about them that are unflattering.

      • Tony says:

        oh come on – you cant be that cold blooded. Jeter has earned the right to be right where he is at SS – not to mention he still brings higher value than any other replacement. How many SS’s are going to hit like him. and he’s not that bad

        • oh come on – you cant be that cold blooded.

          Damn straight I can. This organization is about winning.

          • Tony says:

            Exactly – I am also about winning – but I believe that if you take care of the people who work for you – they will take care of you.

            It just a matter of how you are going to get there. I rather do it with Jeter at short.

            Who would you rather see at short?

            • Who would you rather see at short?

              Somebody who can field his position.

              • Tony says:

                so you value fielding over hitting?

                • No. I value doing thins to improve the team over useless sentimentality and cloying romanticism. I value effectiveness and efficiency over narrative and myth.

                  If I can find somebody who can hit at a league average level and provide plus defense at short, I can move Jeter into LF or CF in the future and thus, keep his plus bat in the lineup but move him to a position of maximum defensive utility and thus, improve the club.

                  If getting a new SS and moving Jeter to the outfield helps us win ballgames (as I suspect it can), I do it. If it doesn’t help, I don’t.

                  If replacing Torre with Girardi helps us win ballgames (as I suspect it did), I do it. If it doesn’t help, I don’t.

                  Nobody’s “earned the right” to keep a position they are no longer the most effective or efficient at; they’re all candidates for upgrade. We’re not handing out “Thanks for Participating” ribbons here, this is a competitive sports business organization.

                • jsbrendog says:

                  Nobody’s “earned the right” to keep a position they are no longer the most effective or efficient at; they’re all candidates for upgrade. We’re not handing out “Thanks for Participating” ribbons here, this is a competitive sports business organization.

                  100% agree.

              • Chris says:

                The problem I have with this argument is that he’s no worse defensively (or at least not significantly worse) than he was 3 or 5 or 7 years ago. He’s never been a good defensive short stop, but he hasn’t started to decline significantly. If his defense wasn’t bad enough to move him off short before now, then it shouldn’t be bad enough to move him off now.

                When you move him to a new position, you lose a lot of value in his bat, so unless you have a replacement that is good defensively AND offensively, then there’s no reason to move Jeter.

                • For the record, this was only brought up because I was illustrating, via hypothetical, that saying that Jeter is a bad defensive shortstop (which he is) and that I’d be willing to move him out of the shortstop hole for a replacement (I would) does not mean that I “hate” Jeter. That, saying truthful statements about a player or manager’s shortcomings does not equal “hate”.

                  I never said the replacement for Jeter has to be Tony Pena Jr. It can be J.J. Hardy, for example. And furthermore, my willingness to move Jeter to the outfield is also predicated on my theory that he’d be an excellent defensive outfielder, thus severely mitigating (or eliminating altogether) any downgrade to his value enacted by moving him down the defensive spectrum

                  Just illustrating that Jeter’s excellence and special place in our hearts for all he’s done doesn’t mean we should be barred from discussing his flaws or contemplating possible team upgrades involving him.

                • MattG says:

                  I really hope he can play CF well. There is no where else that his bat will play anymore–although, I do hold out hope for one more, really big, 2006-like season…

            • Hobs says:

              Hanley Ramirez. Make it happen Cash.

        • steve (different one) says:

          Jeter has earned the right to be right where he is at SS

          and there we have it….you seem to think that Torre, like Jeter, should have been able to keep his job FOREVER based on what he accomplished almost 10 years ago.

          • Macphisto says:

            But who, today, replaces Jeter at SS? I think a move to CF would be prestigious for Jeter. Yankee’s CF is a special spot. But, who are you getting at SS that would precipitate that move? I would rather have Gardner out there this year playing top D than have Jeter move and put any of the available replacements at SS.

          • Tony says:

            Yes I do. He earned the right to leave on his terms.

            I believe in stability & I dont change just for the sake of change. Torre was not doing a bad job. If the Yankees did not want him then they should not have offered him any contract.

            But if you are going to offer a contract then why only go 1 yr?

            When they hired Girardi did they only offer him only 1 yr – no because they actually wanted him.

            With that said Girardi is the manager & he better be given a chance to succeed.

            • steve (different one) says:

              Yes I do. He earned the right to leave on his terms.

              well, that’s absurd.

              we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

              Torre was not doing a bad job.

              in YOUR opinion. in the opinion of those much closer to the situation, he was.

    • Eyeadapt says:

      I’m shocked that you’re shocked.

  26. Nady Nation says:

    I know this is unrelated, but it explains a lot. Good thing we didn’t sign Sheets, eh?

    “MLB.com reports that the Rangers called off a two-year contract agreement with Ben Sheets when they determined that he has a torn flexor tendon in his elbow that may require surgery.”

    Getting the link now…

  27. pat says:

    You’re misreading the conversations if you think people hate joe torre. We all like and respect him and are very thankful for what he did for the team. The truth is the team was moving in a different direction, and after a string of dissapointing playoff collapses it became evident it was time for a change.

  28. Chris says:

    Who’s Michael Dunn?

  29. mos says:

    Oh please. Best ever? Seriously? One Casey Stengel would beg to differ. Hell, even Ralph Houk was better (note, I’m in my early 30s, not 70s, as my name-dropping might imply). :)

    The fact is, Torre was good, but he was handed a golden team, and I don’t think he could have done anything but win. I think his weaknesses were seriously brought into the light in the years following 2001.

    Girardi at least knows how to use a bullpen.

    • Tony says:

      I dont think to many people in the 70′s are reading blogs :)

      We all are probally anywhere from 20 – 39

    • Wait, how was Torre “handed a golden team” where he “couldn’t have done anything but win” and Casey Stengel wasn’t?

      It’s not like Stengel managed a bunch of no-talent bums and willed them to the title. Those Yankee teams were pretty damn stacked as well.

      Ralph Houk, you may have an argument there, but Torre/Stengel/McCarthy/Huggins all had teams much more talented than the rest of the league, by and large…

      • Tony says:

        You can have the most talented team – but that does not mean you will win. A good manager will guide a team to the playoffs. A bad one will screw it up.

      • Old Ranger says:

        In Caseys’ defence, he wasn’t handed a WS type team. He had some good players but, some were on their last legs and some were just in their early 20s yet.
        Casey was a true teacher of the game, he handled the players as though they were his kids…for better or worse. He also was a great student of the game, he once moved Mickey to SS and the pitcher to LF (I think it was LF) just to bring in a pitcher that would get the batter out.
        Casey also won 7 WS in 12 years and 5 in a row…I think that’s right. He never fell a sleep in the dug out either.
        Yes, Houk had a much harder time of it, the good players were getting (or were) old and they really didn’t have anyone to replace them with.

    • MattG says:

      Torre wasn’t handed a golden team. He did a terrific job of putting the ’96 team into roles where they would succeed. And they maintained those roles all year long. It was absolutely brilliant, and plenty of managers would’ve failed miserably.

      Say, by leaving a totally gassed David Cone in to face, er, its started with an S…, while Mariano Rivera is totally ready to go.

      I really liked that Joe Torre. I really hated the Joe Torre that started David Wells on short rest in the WS in ’93, pulled Contreras with a 7-3 lead vs the Red Sox in ’04, and used 7 pitchers a game to lead the team to a 21-29 start in ’07 (among many other countless things).

      • steve (different one) says:

        yeah, i have no problem commending Torre for the job he did in 1996-2001 while simultaneously criticizing for the mistakes he made in 2004.

        everything is not black and white.

        Torre came in as a guy with a lousy record as a manager, and shepherded a talented team to the promised land 4 times.

        it was a great story.

        but in the last few years, he was phoning it in. sorry. he used the same 3 relievers no matter what the score. he refused to play certain guys. and he started to believe that he was the GM, blocking the acquisition of certain players that really could have helped the team.

        his loyalty was an asset in the beginning, but in the end, it became a liability since the guys he were loyal to, were no longer the best players for the job (Bernie cough).

  30. Purenyyankee says:

    Girardi WAS a problem last year. I was excited with him being named the manager. I thought we were getting Billy Martin. Guess what? We got Stump Merrill. This stubborn guy refused to bunt, hit-and-run or change at all. He had NO feel whatsoever for the bullpen. If we don’t win this year, good riddance to him. I don’t even want to see him at Oldtimer’s Day.

    • Tony says:

      thats a bit much – he has big shoes to fill yes – but lets see if he up to it before we walk him to the plank

    • MattG says:

      If only he would’ve made A-Rod bunt more! He should’ve batted him eighth.

      • Purenyyankee says:

        Yeah. You’re as clueless as Stump was last year.

        • steve (different one) says:

          I HAVE NO ARGUMENT SO I WILL CALL YOU NAMES!!!

        • MattG says:

          I know, let’s hit and run on a 3-1 count! That was Torre’s favorite, and while it suited guys like Bernie, it’d totally fuck up most batters.

          Memo to Torre: on 3-1, your batter has a really big advantage, and it is unwise to completely mitigate that by making him swing at anything close.

    • steve (different one) says:

      He had NO feel whatsoever for the bullpen

      wow.

      even the strongest Torre supporters in this thread ackowledge that Girardi was better at managing a bullpen.

      that should probably tell you that you are talking out of your ass.

    • pat says:

      No feel for the bullpen?

      The career years of jose veras and edwar ramirez say hello. As well as the 100 or so comments commending him on his bullpen management.

    • jsbrendog says:

      He had NO feel whatsoever for the bullpen

      this comment totally invalidated anything you had to say. not that it was anything i agree with but this obvious lack of rationality makes anything else, even if it were possibly rational, inadmissable.

    • Old Ranger says:

      Can you name more then one player he could have played hit and run with (which he did do by the way) or bunt or steal bases, when needed? A-Rod was the only one that took a base when we needed it or took the extra base. Damm, that hurt to write.
      Again, if Johnny stays healthy and Brett can hit well enough, Joe will have the team he wants…speed plus power.
      A manager can only manage with the talent of his players, last year it wasn’t that good with the injuries and Jeters bad wrist.

  31. andrew says:

    Also unrelated, the Yankees will play the US WBC team in a exhibition game on March 3rd… I hope that’s televised, could be a fun one to watch.

  32. Macphisto says:

    Off topic, but do you think it might make sense for the Yanks to pull a Jon Lieber with Sheets and sign him at a reduced cost for 2 years with a club option for a third? His price has to fall significantly with surgery.

    • Meh, nah. We’re wedded to CC-Burnett-Wang-Joba for the foreseeable future, and we’ve not lots of other great candidates like Hughes and Kennedy. I was cool with bringing Pettitte on board because he doesn’t stunt anyone’s growth… can’t say the same for Sheets on a multi-year.

      • Macphisto says:

        Really, if you bring him on for two years, $3mm per with a club 2011 option at say $8mm it could be a steal. Most other teams don’t have the resources to pay a guy for a rehab year. You never know what happens with our pitchers in the future. Stock em up.

  33. Purenyyankee says:

    I guess all you geniuses forgot about last year.

    This team is filled with all-stars surrounded with a coaching staff that is scared to call anyone out and discipline any of them!

    GIRARDI NEEDS TO START DOING HIS JOB AND STOP KISSING ASS!

    • Macphisto says:

      Exactly.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

        No he’s right, I DID forget about last year, and now that he has made that incredibly sharp point, I agree with him. If only I’d remembered the 2008 season when thinking about Joe Girardi’s performance.

        (turns in genius card)

      • Macphisto says:

        The wording from pureny is a bit strong but I do think Girardi tip toed around some of the guys on the team last year. Giambi should have been pulled out of the 5 hole. Cano should have been disciplined earlier. There needs to be a bad cop if Girardi doesn’t want that role. You can say what you want about Torre beating on A-Rod but he had one of his best seasons ever under him. They started talking about sending Giambi down to the minors and he turns it around to become comeback player of the year. Someone has to be willing to hand out discipline.

        • Old Ranger says:

          Joe T. wasn’t the one talking about doing that, it was Cashman. Joe T. never was and never will be a disciplinarian. That was Bowa, he did that because he was Canos’ teacher and because he is Bowa. You may never have seen him play, if you had you would know…that is his personality.

    • MattG says:

      Bring back that great disciplinarian, Joe ‘Woodshed’ Torre!

      • Klemy says:

        “Bring back that great disciplinarian, Joe ‘Woodshed’ Torre!”

        Yeah. maybe he’ll have a closed door meeting to tell everyone to get their own coffee instead of having someone else get it for them!

  34. [...] Do you trust Girardi to take the Yanks’ to the series? [...]

  35. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    These fan reactions further prove something I discovered during Torre’s much ballyhooed exit in 2007. Some people are more fans of Joe Torre than they are fans of the Yankees.

    The Yankees stand for certain things, one of them being expecting excellence year in and year out from the team, a team which will spend whatever is necessary to achieve excellence. The goal is to win it all, every year. A team that understands winning means being hated by your rivals, and accepts and embraces that as part of the deal.

    Torre on the other hand, constantly downplayed expectations, criticized fans for being “spoiled” by the late 90′s run, was often more concerned with being popular with his players and the fans than he was in winning games, said “nobody’s going to tell me we didn’t have a successful season” after the 2005 1st round exit. Time and again, when you heard Torre speak and the front office types speak, they clearly weren’t on the same page.

    This is why I hope Torre doesn’t get his number retired, I don’t think he believed in what the team stands for.

  36. [...] Do you trust Girardi to take the Yanks’ to the series? [...]

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