Yanks praising Girardi’s leadership

Yanks move into first with nondescript win
2009 Draft: BA's Mock Draft v2.0

The mold for a good manager is cut from many a cloth. For 12 seasons starting sixty years ago, the Yankees had a cantankerous old man at their helm. For 12 seasons starting in 1996, they had a master of calm leading the charge. In between, they had strategic geniuses, feisty former players, the calm wisdom of Yogi Berra and everyone in between heading the team.

This year, we have seen Joe Girardi grow into the mold. A few weeks ago, as the Yankees were struggling their way out of April, it seemed as though Girardi was on the hot seat. Now that the Yanks have gone 15-5 over their last 20 and find themselves in first place by themselves, everyone loves Joe.

Take, for example, this George A. King III column. Since King is relying on quotes and stories from the Yankees themselves, we can’t go too wrong with it. In it, he talks to Mark Teixeira about playing for Girardi. The Yanks’ first baseman seemingly loves Girardi.

“The good thing about Joe is that he is consistent. He expects a lot out of us but you look at him and you can’t tell if we won or lost,” Teixeira said. “Your leader needs to show confidence. The manager can’t be upset after every loss. He can’t be angry all the time.”

Later on, Teixeira added a bit of hyperbole. “Out of all the managers I have had, he is the best I have had by far,” he said to King.

Now, that’s high praise considering how Teixeira’s last two managers were Mike Scioscia and Bobby Cox, both highly respected in their own rights. Of course, Teixeira could just be saying what anyone would say of his or her employer. Of course, I love my boss! Who doesn’t?

In a way though, what Teixeira says about Girardi is something we Yankee fans saw in Joe Torre for 12 seasons. The Yankees would win, and the Yankees would lose. They would top all of baseball three years running, and lose in the first round of the playoffs three years running. When they would lose, though, Torre remained mostly unflappable. Some criticized it, but the players responded well to his stoicism.

The job in the Bronx isn’t Girardi’s first. He had a tumultuous one-year term in Miami heading the Marlins. However, he earned his stripes, so to speak, while serving as Torre’s bench coach, and perhaps he’s finding his way now as a similar type of manager.

In the end, it’s never easy to discern how much credit a manager deserves for a team’s success. Clearly, Joe Girardi’s team isn’t perfect. After all, he couldn’t trust another reliever last night and used Al Aceves to relieve Andy Pettitte in the 6th and then serve as the bridge and set-up man to Mariano Rivera. That’s not Girardi’s fault though; he plays the cards that are dealt to him.

When the dust settles in October, we’ll have a better sense of how Girardi handles a team with the potential go all the way. Right now, as the Yanks sit in first place at the end of May he looks good. Let’s see where the chips fall in four or five months.

Yanks move into first with nondescript win
2009 Draft: BA's Mock Draft v2.0
  • Bob Stone

    Joe Girardi is doing well in a tough environment. The problem with managing is that there are so many more highly visible negative decisions/acts a manager can commit than positive ones. I think that Joe has done a great job of minimizing mistakes or questionable calls. He has had the player’s confidence and support, both through losing and winning streaks alike. He has managed a team with talent, injuries and holes (especially in the pen). And . . over the past two years, I think he has managed the pitching staff, especially the bull pen, better than Torre (and I love Torre). All in all, he has done the job.

  • anonymous

    I for the most part like Girardi. He is competent and hungry for the job. There are alot of managers who are neither.

  • JeffG

    I find it a little odd that a manager’s worth is so tied to W’s or L’s… that often seems more a product of the team the GM constructs. Obviously, a manager guides the team, but you can guide a shitty team pretty well and still not find yourself at the top of a division.
    Was he a bad manager last year and a good manager this year? To me, it’s more to do with the rotation, the guy at first, and a production from younger more athletic pieces. Joe hasn’t really managed that differently. He implements a similar type of in game strategy just with different pieces.

  • jonathan

    I like Girardi, and I really like that the players are starting to get behind him and buy into his style of play. We have see a very different yankee team this year…though the starting pitching and the pen have had there ups and downs the yankees offense has been very dynamic. We have been sac-ing people, running when we are on base, and generally playing small ball to get us rolling in stiuation where we could really get beat by a good pitcher. I like it, the offence seems focused on keeping the pressure on and getting guys into scoring position.
    The pitching anf the pen have been so in consistant thats its not a surprise that he has made the wrong calls, we had expectation of coke,marte,veras coming into the season and they havent panned out.

  • steve (different one)

    credit Girardi for recognizing his shortcomings from last season and working hard to improve on them.

    that really bodes well for his potential to manage this team for a long time. it implies that he he doesn’t just have one way of doing things and he’d going to do it his way no matter what.

    the Coughlin comparisons were a “convenient” touchstone for the media in the off-season, but Girardi really did look hard at what Coughlin did. he made a ton of notes of things he needed to do better, and then set about making tangible changes.

    if last season was the “down payment” for a long period of success under Girardi, i can live with that.

    people sometimes forget that just b/c Torre won it all in his first season in NY, that he hadn’t done squat in his first 15 seasons as a manager.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      Granted I was only 14, but when the Yankees hired Torre I thought it was a horrible decision (based on his track record). Girardi was the type of manager I was looking for then (someone young, up and coming, without a lot of baggage).

      It really does seem that Joe G learned a bunch from his Marlins’ time, and applied it to last year, and then learned a ton from last year, and is applying it this year. That is something exceedingly positive, that he is constantly trying reevaluating and improve.

  • JP

    The comment about the use of Aceves is interesting.

    I would love to see managers revert to this method of using relievers.

    I think it would lead to much smoother management of the pitching staff if you trained multiple pitchers to be able to go 2 or 3 innings. Yeah, you wouldn’t be able to use them as often, but you could adjust, say, in important games, and play the matchup game and shuffle in multiple pitchers if you needed to.

    But the reverse doesn’t seem to work. If every pitcher is 3-4 outs max, you can’t one night ask one to get 9-10 outs without seriously messing things up.

    • Nick

      I agree. There is nothing wrong with how Aceves was used last night.

      I believe it was mentioned after game 1 or 2 by either Ben, Joe, or Mike that going to a reliever is a bit of a crapshoot… there is a chance that the reliever is off that day, and the more times you go to the pen, the more chances you have of calling on a reliever who doesn’t have it that day.

      • LiveFromNewYork

        Thank Mo we have someone who can come in with bases loaded, only allow one run and go multiple innings. I am glad we have a long man like Ace.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I like Girardi. I stopped reading Pete Abe’s column last year because of his relentless criticism of Girardi.

    I like that he’s on the steps at games and rarely sits down. I like that he’s thinking and strategizing even when it’s overthinking a situation.

    His field management as Yankees catcher was superb. I was really excited when he became the manager.

    I hope that by the end of the season the only thing he’s changing is his number. To 28.

    • Rich

      So you’d be OK with losing 9 out of 10 games as long as Girardi was standing on the steps? You’re more concerned with appearances than I am.

  • Mattingly’s Love Child

    I for one was critical of Joe a few weeks ago (despite being very much in favor of him last year). It was very easy to be, as everything was seeming to be going wrong. One of my primary complaints was that he didn’t seem to be managing the bullpen with the same expertise as last year. I’m still questioning some decisions, but in general, he knows his team better than I. Most of the relief pitchers were pitching fairly crappy for quite a stretch there, so even if he was making the right decisions, they came out wrong.

    I agree with JP that I liked the use of Aceves last night. He’s a starter by trade, so if you can take advantage of his length and have him go 2-3 innings every couple of days, it is the equivalent of having a starter go 8 innings every couple of days. Joe has shown a willingness to think outside the box on lots of things, so maybe this could be one other thing!

  • DocBooch

    I guess Tex would have had a different opinion if he came over last year. Girardi did not handle losses well last year at all.

    That being said, I respect his opinion. He didn’t have to say he’s the best he’s had. Tex is very adept with reporters, if he said it, I think he meant it. ARod on the other hand, will just tell you what you want to hear.

  • Lawrence

    Its silly that after one 20 game stretch, everyone is talking about how he is inexperienced and his job is in danger, and everyone is doubting him. Then after another 30 game stretch, all of a sudden he’s a great leader and has all the intangibles. Lots of things happened in the 1st 20 games that were out of his control… Arod was out, Wang imploded, a few others things.

    Although I do somewhat believe what the players are saying, its not surprising that replacing Torre with a young ambitious guy like him would have this effect. I loved Torre, but as a general matter I really feel like once someone has been in a job for so long, they sort of lose that fire that makes them work as hard as they did when they were in their first few years. It’s not surprising that Girardi has been an improvement in that sense. Although a good 30 game stretch is not proof…

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    “Of course, Teixeira could just be saying what anyone would say of his or her employer. Of course, I love my boss! Who doesn’t?”

    Absolutely, 100% true.

    But to be fair to Girardi, if it was in reverse and the players were complaining about him, then that would be big news and everyone would automatically believe it. So we should either take the players at their word or not, but at least be consistent about it.