Trading Joe Girardi

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It has happened before, but that doesn’t mean it was a wise decision. After the 2002 season, the Seattle Mariners essentially traded manager Lou Piniella to the Devil Rays for Randy Winn and Antonio Perez. Previously, the A’s traded their manager, Chuck Tanner, for Manny Sanguillen*. I’m not sure exactly why a team would trade a player for a manager, but I’m sure they have their reasons. What I find ridiculous is that a team would trade a 20-year-old top prospect for a manager. Yet the possibility of such a swap has dominated headlines this morning.

*Thanks to Big League Stew for the instant info.

Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Marlins and White Sox discussed a trade that would have sent Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen to the Marlins. It’s no secret that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has long coveted Guillen, who was the third base coach on the Marlins 2003 World Champion team. Who would the Marlins send to Chicago in this scenario? De Luca ends up burying the lede in the seventh paragraph (emphasis mine):

According to major-league sources, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was intent on making Guillen his next manager. Talks, sources say, progressed to the point that there was discussion of executing a trade that would send Guillen, who has a year left on his contract, to the Marlins for 20-year-old outfielder Mike Stanton, who hit 22 home runs and knocked in 59 runs in just 100 games as a rookie this season.

Yes, that’s the Mike Stanton who is one of five players in MLB history to have an ISO of .245 or greater with 375 or more PA at age 20 or younger. (Others: Ted Williams, Alex Rodriguez, Mel Ott, Frank Robinson.) It’s the same Mike Stanton who was Baseball America’s No. 3 overall prospect entering the 2010 season. It’s certainly not the Mike Stanton who had two stints with the Yankees. If Loria actually put this on the table — I don’t even want to think about what it would mean if Loria offered it and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf rejected it.

Chances are the story isn’t totally accurate. As Patriot said on Twitter, “If credible, that should be the lead of the article, not Ozzie/Kenny soap opera.” I agree. If there was a real, known offer of Stanton for Guillen, that should have moved right to the top — we can see evidence of this in every subsequent blog post, since they’ve all led with the compensation rather than the drama. Still, it does raise interesting questions. Sky Kalkman asks perhaps the most interesting one: “Who would you trade Joe Girardi for?” But since that covers a large range of players, I’d rephrase it to, “Who is the worst player you’d accept for Girardi?”

A young player or prospect is optimal, since you’d get the most out of him. But most owners and GMs aren’t as crazy as Loria, so I doubt any of them would trade a good prospect or young player for a manager. I would, however, trade Girardi for a Randy Winn, circa 2002, type player. He was 28 that year and has just produced the best wOBA of his career, .360. He could play all three outfield positions as well. He didn’t quite live up to the .360 standard in Seattle, but he still provided them with decent production (114 and 110 wRC+). That would mean someone like Andres Torres. If you’re looking for an infielder it would look more like Casey McGehee, Omar Infante, or Mike Napoli.

Is a player like that — one who produced good numbers in 2010 at a relatively older age — a good trade-off for a manager? I’d say yes. I like Girardi as a manager, but the Yankees fan find someone with comparable on-field skills who can manage the men on the team. It’s essentially a trade of intangibles for tangibles — or at least the hope of tangibles. It’s a tough call, but give me the production and let the front office find a different guy to lead the team.

The theme for the comments is obvious. 1) Would you trade Girardi for the players mentioned above? 2) Who is the type of player for whom you’d trade Girardi.

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  • bexarama

    Girardi for Felix, straight up.

    Nah, I’d accept Napoli for Girardi. Infante, probably not.

    • Bryan L


      • bexarama

        Maybe I overrate Napoli. I wouldn’t take Infante for him, though.

  • Not Tank the Frank

    The list of players is too long. I’d pay for his flight to Florida for Mike Stanton that’s for sure.

  • Ross in Jersey

    Why would anyone trade a player for a manager? I wouldn’t trade Fransisco Cervelli for a new manager.

    • Avi

      I would trade Cervelli for a bag of balls.

      • Jon in CUO

        BREAKING NEWS: Newly-hired Yankees G.M. Avi was fired today after trading Francisco Cervelli, a young, cost-controlled asset who has played like one of the best backup catchers in Major League Baseball since his call-up in 2009, for literally nothing more than a bag of baseballs.

        • Mister Delaware

          (Before anyone freaks out, this statement is pretty true. Cervelli is 34th out of 61 catchers (over 250 PAs) in wOBA over the last 2 seasons.)

        • JobaWockeeZ

          Except he’s really not a back up.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            But that’s not Cervelli’s fault, it’s Posada’s fault.

            • Jon in CUO

              This. You can’t blame Cervelli for possibly less-than-optimal roster construction and our starting catcher’s injury/aging problems.

              It sucks seeing him come up in a big spot when we’re used to seeing so many other superstar hitters, but the Cervelli hatred is totally misplaced and typical of the worst Yankee fan stereotypes.

              • Mister Delaware

                Its not really a Yankee thing, its universal. 90% (fact) of internet sports commenters have only “awesome” and “suck” buckets, nothing in between.

  • bonestock94

    Girardi for any productive piece would be fine by me. I have nothing against him, but I’ve always felt like manager’s roles are way overstated. Although it is interesting when teams explode when they get a new manager, like the ’09 dbacks or the ’10 orioles.

  • Hughesus Christo

    I’d trade him for a BP arm, since Girardi’s mystical bullpen management skills are his only asset.

    One-tool manager!

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      One-tool blog poster!

      • Dirty Pena

        You give Hughesus far, far too much credit.

  • YanksFan

    A Smoak-type bat?

    • Mike Axisa

      Bastard. You beat me too it.

      • YanksFan

        Sorry. I’m surprised it wasn’t the first response.

      • thurdonpaul

        Mike, you must be getting old and slow :)

        • Joe West’s Music Career

          Let’s sign Mike to a huge contract, but limit his blogging time, and prepare him for an eventual transition to webmaster.

          He is, after all, a legacy blogger.

    • Jenny

      Wuh? I don’t get it?

  • http://BlueshirtBanter JM3RR27

    Maybe they just shouldn’t have re-signed Girardi?

    • Zack

      At least offer him arbitration, nice to get some picks in return…

  • Rob

    Who is the alternative manager though? The last time they looked at Mattingly and Hillman. Hard to see how they could have done better.

    • Brien Jackson

      I think you’re missing the point.

    • Hughesus Christo

      Why do people act like there’s some mythological set of quests a manager must tackle before he is worthy of managing the Yankees? What did Joe Girardi do? Get fired by the Marlins? What did Joe Torre do? Neither of those guys was in high demand. I wouldn’t care who they hired, but I would kind of hope he wasn’t one of the active players’ backup for several seasons…

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I wouldn’t care who they hired, but I would kind of hope he wasn’t one of the active players’ backup for several seasons…

        Who the hell cares if Girardi was Posada’s backup a decade ago?

        I’ll answer the question for you: nobody but you.

        • Mister Delaware

          Sooo … you’re saying its Luis Sojo or bust? Sold.

          • the tenth inning stretch

            I actually think I’d like that.

            • Mister Delaware

              He actually got dumped out of our minors before this year started.

      • Poopy Pants

        Wasn’t Girardi Manager of the Year before coming to the Yankees?

  • Clay Bellinger

    I literally had to read this article twice on MLBTR this morning to make sure I was seeing clearly. I like Girardi and I’m glad to see him back, but I’d trade the entire coaching staff for Stanton.

    As for a guy like McGehee, I think I might do that too. Having a good manager is nice and can defnitely make a difference, but I think that could on-field production is hard to find and can have a larger impact.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I’d trade Girardi, Peña, Cashman, Trost, Levine… shit, every single senior executive we have to get Mike Stanton.

      We can go out and rehire a new GM and new manager tomorrow. We can’t get our hands on Mike Stanton for another 6ish years.

      I’m sure whatever step backwards we’d take by dumping Girardi and Cashman and giving their jobs to less experienced alternatives (like, say, Trey Hillman and Damon Oppenheimer) will be offset by how much more awesome our team would be with Mike Stanton penciled into RF/LF for the next decade.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        2 – Stanton
        3 – Teix
        4 – A-Rod
        5 – Cano
        6 – Montero

        *head explodes*

    • Rev

      How about Gardner, Chamberlain and Nova for Stanton?

  • Avi

    Can we throw in Cashman?
    Girardi and Cashman for Stanton.
    I think the worst Stanton will be is Adam Dunn with the possibility for much more.

  • UncleArgyle

    I’d trade Girardi and Nardi Contreras for Zack Grienke and a Pitching Coach to be named later.

  • Clayton K

    Girardi for Melky + IPK

    Get it done Cash!!!

  • Thomas

    I definitely take any of the players mentioned above for Girardi (or any manager). Even though those players would likely be backups for the Yankees (except Stanton, of course), a good backup is worth more than a manager.

  • Mister Delaware

    I’d trade Girardi for Mike Stanton even if that meant Stanton would become player-manager.

    • TD

      How about Girardi for Ian Desmond and move Jeter to manager?? ;)

  • theyankeewarrior

    Girardi for someone with fire, guts, grit, heart, and moxie. This team has NONE!!!! NONE!!!!

    Trade the manager! DFA Burnett! CC to the pen. Trade Joba and Gardner for Grienke. Sign Crawford, Werth, Lee and V-Mart.

    2011 champs.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    I’d do a 2 WAR player or more for Girardi.

    • Mister Delaware

      There are a ton of sub 2.0 WAR qualifiers I’d trade Girardi for as well. Quentin, Theriot, Kemp, Escobar, Bartlett, Aybar, Aramis, Pena, Loney, Desmond, Hill, Andrus, Kendrick, Suzuki, Fowler … probably atleast 1/3 of the guys I didn’t list … its only a manager.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        Quetin yes.
        Theriot ehh. Looks liek a bench player on this team.
        Kemp hells to the yes.
        Escobar probably.
        Bartlett yes.
        Aybar no.
        Aramis yes.
        Calros Pena? Yes.
        James Loney yes.
        Ian Desmond maybe.
        Andrus hell yes.
        Kendrick no.
        Suzuki hell yes.

        Oh and we’re not even mentioning prospects. I probably take any top 100 prospect in exchance. Maybe 2 if they are in the 70-100 range.

        • Mister Delaware

          All of those guys (excepting Kemp) are probably bench / platoon players on this team but they’d still have more value than a manager.

          Aybar > Nunez/Pena
          Girardi = Some other manager

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            All of those guys (excepting Kemp) are probably bench / platoon players on this team but they’d still have more value than a manager.

            Or, rather, they’d have more value than the difference between the manager that we have and the one we’d sign the following day to replace him, whomever that is.

            Whether you think Girardi is a good manager, a bad manager, or something in between, I think most of us would agree that the difference between any one manager and any other manager is generally smaller than the difference between most 2ish WAR players and the replacement players they’d be pushing off the 25-man roster and back into AAA if you added them onto your team for virtually nothing.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          I’ll play:

          Quentin YES
          Theriot NO
          Kemp YES
          Escobar YES
          Bartlett NO
          Aybar NO
          Aramis NO (contract/decline)
          Carlos Pena NO (see above, plus, nowhere to play him)
          James Loney YES (figure the logistics out later)
          Ian Desmond YES (he’s a very good young SS, lots to like)
          Andrus YES
          Kendrick NO
          Suzuki YES

          • Mister Delaware

            I retract Aramis, I thought he was an FA so I was giving him no contract rather than $14MM or whatever his option is. The rest I stand by. Give me Miley and one of the NO middle IFs above over Girardi and Pena/Nunez any day.

      • Bernard

        I’d prefer Espinosa to Desmond…

  • Adam

    Can the Yanks trade the rights to Dante Girardi for Stanton?

  • Joe West’s Music Career

    Girardi, Randy Levine, Hank Steinbrenner, and cash considerations for Casey Kelly.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Not enough. We have to throw in Montero and the Killer B’s to make this a serious proposal.

      • Thomas

        There are only two players I’d consider trading Kelly for a healthy Westmoreland and a healthy Pedroia. Even, then it would be questionable.

        • Bernard

          Don’t forget Jim Rice, even now he could lead the league in PFQ (pitcher fear quotient)

  • http://deleted Richard Deegan

    Any decent prospect.
    BTW, unless I missed my Alzheimer’s meds today, Gil Hodges was traded to Senators (now Rangers) to be their manager, and four years later the Mets had to trade to get him back to manage.

  • Mister Delaware

    Ernie Harwell was once acquired for a player. I think I’d even take on the Wells albatross if it meant no more John Sterling. THA-AAA-AAA BLUE JAYS LOSE!

    • JGS

      Only if Suzyn and Flaherty go with him. That Wells contract is really bad.

  • vinny-b

    I wouldn’t trade Girardi for any prospect. Not even Casey Kelly

    • JobaWockeeZ

      If this is serious why not? Even if prospects are fickle if you get a top 50 prospect you can trade them to get a proven player if you don’t want to keep them.

      If I could trade Girardi for Kelly I very well do it. One so we can see ESPN do a 360 and say Kelly sucks and two so the Sox can’t have him.

      • Mister Delaware

        C’mon dude. Written sarcasm can be tough but “Casey Kelly” is a dead giveaway every time.

        • JobaWockeeZ

          Yeah but the seocnd point could be sarcasm where the first point isn’t.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I’d trade Girardi for Kelly, then trade Kelly to the White Sox for Ozzie Guillen, Gordon Beckham, Tyler Flowers, Dayan Viciedo, and John Danks, and then I’d turn around and trade Ozzie to the Marlins for Mike Stanton, Logan Morrison, and Chad James.

  • steve (different one)

    I would trade Girardi, Hal Steinbrenner, Teixeira, Cano, Montero, Mariano, and Kevin Long for Edwin Jackson.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Dan, is that you?

    • the tenth inning stretch

      K-Long is probably the one guy on our staff I wouldn’t trade.

  • Hall and Nokes

    Since everyone always likes to talk about how every manager sucks, I ask you: who do you think is the best manager in baseball and why? Bonus points if someone out there is actually willing to rank the managers, or maybe the 15-20 most experienced ones.

    • Thomas

      Ob Ob Ob-viously Mike Scoiscia Face.

    • Jerome S


      • Jerome S

        But I bet that they’re a Cardinals blog where they’re saying, “La Russa sucks. Why can’t we get Girardi?”

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      I think cox was because his team, especially after maddux/glavine/smoltz moved on, always found a way to be competitive and most of the time i found myself going who the hell is on the braves?!

  • the tenth inning stretch

    Not really a ranking, but I think my top 7 (not in order) would be Gardenhire, Maddon, Scioscia, La Russa, Showalter, Bochy, Girardi.

    • Brian

      I think the fact people are talking about getting rid of Girardi is quite funny. He hasn’t had a ton of time with the Yanks and the organization is exactly the same as it was 10 yrs ago as they are transitioning from the core 4 to younger players and building their farm system. To me Girardi’s fate will be deciding in these next 3 yrs as the team gets younger. If they continue to win and compete for the WS then he will stay, if they decline he will be gone and everyone here will get their wish.

      • Jerome S

        Exactly. We didn’t win the WS, but neither did 28 other teams. They’re not (all) firing they’re managers. We just have to remain competitive. If 2008 happens again, or God forbid a losing season, then Girardi’s head will be on the block.

    • Mister Delaware

      With the overriding point about managers being you could end up with anyone in your next group of 7 and there wouldn’t be much of a difference. As long as a manager doesn’t totally suck, he’s fine.

  • steve (different one)

    On a serious note, I wouldn’t trade Girardi for any of those average prospects. Sure, in theory the players will prob be worth more WAR, but those guys aren’t scarce. The yankees can get players of that caliber AND keep their manager. Obviously for Stanton, I’d drive him to FLA myself, but that’s a different story. The Yankees can’t just go out and get a Mike Stanton. Trading your manager for a mediocre player prob sends a negative message to any propective hires that offsets any marginal wins the player offers. I am not in love with Girardi, but a move like that just doesn’t strike me as being worth it.

    • Mister Delaware

      Pretty sure MLB managers and managerial candidates are well aware of their disposability.

      • steve (different one)

        How often are they traded?

  • Brad

    I’d trade him for a box of Wheaties to be named later.

    • Brad

      Actually, I just wanted to use that line…

  • Poopy Pants

    I’d trade Girardi for Hanley Ramirez, then make Jeter a player/manager and trade him for Matt Cain.