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.
Update: Here’s the audio…