Girardi Press Conference Notes

RAB Winter Meetings Chat
Darek Braunecker has left the building

All 30 managers meet with reporters at designated times during the winter meetings, and this afternoon Joe Girardi sat down with a horde of media this afternoon to talk about the state of the team. The managers go two at a time, so Jim Leyland was on the other side of the room doing his presser simultaneously. I’m not joking when I say there were half-a-dozen reporters around Leyland and about two dozen around Girardi. It was the New York media circus at its finest.

Here are the highlights from the presser, with audio to follow…

  • Andy Pettitte is leaning towards retirement, and it’s the first time they’ve heard that from him. Girardi plans to call Pettitte after the meetings.
  • “Everything you want” said Girardi about Cliff Lee, who he simply gushed about. He talked about his command, his repertoire, his playoff performances, his left-handedness, the whole nine. You can tell they love him and really want him.
  • As far as what happens if they fail to sign Lee, Girardi simply said “We have explored options.”
  • Girardi has spoken to A.J. Burnett quite a bit during the offseason, and the righty was the first to reach out to new pitching coach Larry Rothschild after he was hired. They’re going to go to town on A.J.’s mechanics, but Girardi cautioned that it won’t necessarily be a complete overhaul or something that’s easy to see with the naked eye.
  • Although he said “not right now” when asked about moving Joba Chamberlain back to the rotation, you can tell there’s no chance of it. Girardi just used the wrong words there. He added that Joba and David Robertson are fine candidates for the setup job should they not bring anyone in.
  • Joe talked about his transition from a full-time catcher to a backup, joking that he couldn’t figure out why they didn’t move him to designated hitter. He’s talked to Jorge Posada about the switch, but the team has also told Jorge to prepare as if he’s going to catch, and why wouldn’t they?
  • The Yankees love them some Jesus Montero, and they feel he made “big strides” last year. That said, the kid will have to win a job in Spring Training. Nothing will be handed to him.
  • Girardi also gushed about how the team’s minor league pitching depth, going out of his way to praise Manny Banuelos and talk about being “exciting about the progress of [Andrew] Brackman.”

The audio file is uploading, so give us a few minutes and we’ll have the full interview up on the site. Check out some more choice quotes on our Twitter feed.

Here’s the audio…

RAB Winter Meetings Chat
Darek Braunecker has left the building
  • AndrewYF

    So nice to have a manager who not even just knows the teams’ prominent minor leaguers’ names, but actually follows their development.

  • jim p

    On Joba.

    Lee does not have amazing velocity. He locates his fastball consistently. This is what Mussina did with his 88er in his 20 season win.

    Winning starters locate their fastball. Always, regardless of speed.

    We see Joba has not yet learned to do that. So, not a starter. Hughes learned in the bullpen in ’09 how to do that. That’s why he became a starter in 2010.

    If Jobs learns to locate the FB consistently, he will be a starter, as he also has other pitches. But first things first.

    • Jerome S

      He can locate it consistently. Right on the barrel of the bat.

      But seriously, he locates it pretty well (obviously not Lee well or Moose well but he’s no AJ Burnett at least). Joba has been the victim of some major bad luck this past year, that’s all.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    I can’t wait for the catching ‘competition.’

    • Chris

      Just like the 5th starter last year, it won’t be a competition. It will be Montero’s unless he gets injured, comes to camp overweight, or doesn’t work during ST. His actual performance on the field in ST will have virtually no impact on whether he starts the season in the majors or not.

      • radnom

        His actual performance on the field in ST will have virtually no impact on whether he starts the season in the majors or not.

        Actually I could totally see him starting the season off in AAA if he doesn’t look ready after ST – contingent on signing someone like Russell Martin. If its just him and Cervelli than yeah, of course.

        • MikeD

          Agreed. Catcher is the only position on the field (including pitchers) that are judged differently. They had Posada in AAA for three seasons, and then broke him into the Majors over two years. They went too slow in both areas, and that lost time may cost Posada a shot at the Hall. Yet, it does make me question if they really are serious about giving the single most important defensive position on the field to a kid who is just 21 and is still learning his craft. Posada was ahead of Montero defensively when he came out of AAA and still servered behind Girardi at first.

          I’d love to see Martin on the team, just as long as it’s not at the expense of Montero’s development.

          • king of fruitless hypotheticals

            I think Martin would AID Montero’s development…if they aren’t bringing Montero in as a back up, pinch hitter, later inning replacement, day-after-night, etc., then let him play every day in EXST and AAA to build more reps and more experience and then come up to the show later.

            Isn’t there something about May/June supertwo status as well?

  • pat

    I’m hoping Jesus shows up in shape this year. Last year there were reports he was a little bit doughy, and this year he hasn’t even played winter ball because of his leg abscess. I hope the team has someone staying on top of the kid.

    • Not Tank the Frank

      He’s coming in with the opportunity to be the starting catcher for the New York Yankees. The Yankees themselves have a lot invested in him. Something tells me he’ll be ready to go one way or another.

  • S

    Sounds like Girardi blew his load in this meeting

  • Ted Nelson

    What leads you to say “you can tell there’s no chance of it” regarding Joba in the rotation?

    • Joe Pawlikowski

      Every time the Yankees are asked, they say he won’t be in the rotation.

      • Ted Nelson

        I meant what specifically about what Girardi said in his press conference.

    • bonestock94

      Cashman and Eiland were clearer about him not starting.

      • Ted Nelson

        I doubt anything *has* changed, but since Eiland is no longer employed by the organization and Pettitte is leaning towards retirement… it’s certainly possible. Or possible that Girardi’s opinion is different from that of Cashman and Eiland. I was just wondering if there was anything in the press conference that made it clear Joba is not starting. Basically wondering what the reasoning behind Mike’s statement was.

        • Ted Nelson

          “I was just wondering if there was anything in the press conference that made it clear Joba is not starting.”

          I should say: “never starting for the Yankees again” or something. Clearly Girardi specifically said not now.

          • Jd

            Would anyone be surprised if joba a had a great year

            • marty l

              yeah, joba and most yankee fans.