Notes from Girardi’s end-of-season press conference

What Went Right: Derek Jeter
What Went Wrong: Derek Jeter's ankle
(Seth Wenig / AP Photo)

The Yankees were swept out of the ALCS by the Tigers almost a week ago, but it wasn’t until today that Joe Girardi conducted every manager’s annual end-of-season press conference. He said the team has yet to look back and evaluate the 2012 campaign just because everyone takes a few days off to be with their families and kinda get away from baseball immediately after the season ends. They’ll obviously evaluate the club top to bottom in the coming weeks. Here are the important notes from the press conference…

On Alex Rodriguez

  • “These were things that we evaluated a lot before we made our decisions,” said Girardi when asked about benching A-Rod in the postseason. “I don’t go back and second guess myself.”
  • Girardi has not yet spoken to Alex (or any other player for that matter) about their relationship, but said “that will take place … it just hasn’t yet.” He isn’t worried about things being strained but acknowledged that actions have consequences and he will deal with them if need be.
  • Girardi said he believes A-Rod was healthy in the postseason and was just struggling, particularly against righties.
  • “Can Alex be a very good player again? Absolutely, I don’t have any question in my mind,” said the skipper. He praised A-Rod’s baseball smarts and said he expects him to be his everyday third baseman next season.
  • Chad Jennings has Girardi’s full quotes about A-Rod if you aren’t sick of hearing about it yet.

On the playoffs…

  • “Yes it was somewhat puzzling,” said Girardi on the offense’s struggles. He attributed Robinson Cano‘s disappearing act to being pitched well and just falling into a poorly-timed slump. He did acknowledge that Robbie was frustrated, which likely compounded the problem.
  • Girardi said he doesn’t think the team’s unfavorable postseason schedule contributed to their lack of hitting, ditto all the tough games they had to play down the stretch in September. He basically said he doesn’t believe his team was worn out after a month of playoff-type games.
  • “I hope not,” said Girardi when asked if he may have he lost the trust of some players by sitting them in the postseason. “I was making moves trying to win ballgames … I’ve been honest with our players and I will continue to do that, and I will do my best for this organization to win every game.”
  • Girardi attributed the dull Yankee Stadium atmosphere in the postseason to a lack of scoring on the team’s part, nothing more. “I think our fans are very passionate about the Yankees (because) we see it even on the road.”

On injuries…

  • “(It has) not taken place,” said Girardi when asked if CC Sabathia has gone to visit Dr. James Andrews about his elbow. He is encouraged by his ace left-hander’s performance in September and the ALDS and he expects to have him in Spring Training. “We’re always concerned that it’s maybe something more than you think it is … I don’t like people going to see doctors (but) sometimes people have to be evaluated to make sure everything is okay.”
  • “We expect him to be back and playing for us next year on Opening Day,” said Girardi about Derek Jeter and his fractured ankle. He added that there are always concerns following a surgery, including Jeter pushing his rehab too hard and having some kind of setback.
  • Mariano Rivera did throw sooner than expected this year but Girardi never did ask him if he will definitely return next season. “I don’t think you push a rehab like he pushed it unless you have some interest in coming back,” he said.
  • There were no undisclosed or “hidden” injuries this year, so to speak. Russell Martin‘s hands are banged up but that is typical catcher stuff and isn’t a long-term concern.
  • Both hitting coach Kevin Long (elbow) and third base coach Rob Thomson (hip) will have surgery this offseason, if you care.

On free agents and the team moving forward, etc…

  • “There’s a lot of hunger and fire in him,” said Girardi about Andy Pettitte, but he doesn’t know if the veteran southpaw will return next year. He expects him to discuss things with his family before making a decision.
  • He mentioned briefly that like Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda is among the players who will make a decision about his future and playing beyond this year.
  • Girardi said he was unsure about Ichiro Suzuki coming back next year but he knows the veteran outfielder enjoyed his time in New York. He also praised Ichiro for making adjustments like playing left field and batting towards the bottom of the order.
  • “I think this kid has something to offer us,” said the manager about Eduardo Nunez while also acknowledging that his role for next year is undetermined because other parts of the club are unsettled. “There is talent there, there is speed, there is excitement, he has a lot to offer.”
  • “There’s a lot of players we have to decide what we’re going to do with, but I believe when Spring Training starts next year, we’ll be a championship club,” said Girardi, acknowledging that the team has a lot of players with open contract situations.
  • He also spoke about the Yankees getting power from non-traditional power sources (specifically catcher, second base, and center field) and their ability of the offense to absorb the loss of a homerun hitter (i.e. Nick Swisher) if that happens this winter.
  • Girardi acknowledged that the team has a busy offseason coming but doesn’t expect the chaos to be a problem. “Sometimes quiet is a bad thing,” he joked.

On the status of him and his coaches…

  • “No. The pressure you see I put on myself,” said Girardi when asked about the pressure of entering a contract year. He doesn’t expect the team to talk about a new deal until his current one expires and he doesn’t anticipate asking for an extension before then either.
  • Girardi expects the entire coaching staff to return next year but again pointed out that the team has not yet discussed everything.

Miscellaneous…

  • Girardi praised his role players for stepping up into more prominent roles than expected this year, mentioning Raul Ibanez, David Phelps, and Cody Eppley by name.
  • When asked about Cano’s general lack of hustle down the line to first base, Girardi said he “will address with every player to play hard.”
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What Went Right: Derek Jeter
What Went Wrong: Derek Jeter's ankle
  • Hyshai

    Since when is left field a “non-traditional” power source?

    • Mike HC

      Since Gardner started playing there

  • Rich in NJ

    I suspect that they will find an aging, cheaper OF to replace Swisher.

    On balance, I would like more AVG and less HR at traditional and non-traditional power positions.

  • Yank the Frank

    I still haven’t gotten over the playoffs, I can’t watch any other baseball. The beauty of being a Yankee fan is that you know next year we’ll be back.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      You can say that again.

    • Rich in NJ

      Next year, yes. 2014 could be a lot tougher.

    • JLC 776

      You missed a really fun NLCS then.

      Hell, watching the NLCS and seeing the Cardinals disappear offensively made me feel MUCH better about the Yankees.

      And hell yeah, we’ll be back!

  • Cris Pengiucci

    On injuries…


    • … hitting coach Kevin Long … will have surgery this offseason

    There you have it. The reason why Kevin Long couldn’t help the team’s offense in the post season. His own injuries. Fire the trainers/medical support personnel.

    • 0 for infinity and beyond

      In all seriousness, how bad of a job has the medical staff done for the Yankees this year?

  • Athenian

    Poor Joe, sounds just as delusional as Hank/Hal, Cashman, et al about this team.

    Love the non answer about Cano not hustling by stating that “he will talk to all players”. That tells you right there, Robbie is getting his 10 yr Albert Pujols contract and he is above the rules.

    • 0 for infinity and beyond

      I think that’s more of a manager not throwing his players under the bus. I think Joe’s recognizes it’s a problem but he’ll never sya anything bad about his players to the media. Look at the trouble Bobby Valentine caused in Boston by doing that.

      • jjyank

        Exactly. Ripping Cano in public serves no purpose.

        • 0 for infinity and beyond

          Unless you’re looking to be Valentine’d right out of town

        • Cris Pengiucci

          He could have been more generic and stated that he will discuss many issues with each of his players, as appropriate.

          • 0 for infinity and beyond

            Nah, because then the next question would have been “which palyers need to be spoken to about hustling and which don’t?”

          • jjyank

            Meh. That’s not too far off from what he actually said, he just named the issue. And to be fair, he probably only named the issue because it was the subject of a question he was asked. I don’t have a problem with how he answered it.

            • 0 for infinity and beyond

              Only way it could have been better was if he went and bitch slapped a heckler mid-sentence.

              • jjyank

                Girardi is probably the last manager in the MLB that I would want to heckle. Dude could probably tear my head off in about 2 seconds.

                • 0 for infinity and beyond

                  Yeah, he’s jacked!

    • Steve (different one)

      Either that or Joe is trying to diffuse the situation and take the heat off his player. Which is what every manager would do. Except for Bobby V of course.

      • 0 for infinity and beyond

        And Ozzie…

  • Eddard

    “I think this kid has something to offer us,” said the manager about Eduardo Nunez while also acknowledging that his role for next year is undetermined because other parts of the club are unsettled. “There is talent there, there is speed, there is excitement, he has a lot to offer.”

    Why is his role undetermined? Because they’re going to trade him! There’s speed, excitement, youth and that’s why he’ll be traded by Christmas. If they can get rid of Alex they can move either Jeter or Cano to 3rd and put Nuney at starting SS where he belongs.

    • 0 for infinity and beyond

      Role is undetermined because his role is undetermined. If an offer comes along that makes the Yankees better he is gone, if he’s the best utility available out of spring training he’ll be that, if he’s not he’ll be in the minors. Very few players have a written in stone roll on a team. CC is your ace, Jeter is your SS and bats 1st… A young, unproven kid with options and questions is UNDETERMINED at this time.

    • jjyank

      It’s undetermined because the Yankees have Jeter, A-Rod, and Cano at the other positions Nunez could potentially play. Pretty simple stuff here, even for EddardWorld.

    • Davud

      Jeter is a middling defensive at best, but even with a cast on his foot he is a better SS than Nuney.

      But then, I didn’t factor in the “excitement” factor.

      Perhaps more cutting-edge sabremetric analysis does indeed quantify & factor in this heretofore intangible quality with hard statistical evidence of its benefits on a baseball diamond, so in Nunez’s case this would not merely mitigate the somewhat negative impact of the 200 errors (give or take) per year Nunez would make as the everyday SS but in fact on balance make him an MVP candidate.

      I’m not merely convinced now of your recommendation, but excitedly so, and probably not in the most appropriate manner.

  • http://none Max

    “Girardi attributed the dull Yankee Stadium atmosphere in the postseason to a lack of scoring on the team’s part, nothing more. ”

    I was at game 1 where Ichiro hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth, then Ibanez tied it with a two run shot of his own. The stadium was electric. People were banging on the walls, jumping up and down – just straight up insanity. That is until the Yankee staff brought in extra personnel to, I-kid-you-not, “quiet the crowd.” They kicked people out for banging on the walls, told people to get back in their chairs, and overall just “calm down.” I was furious, and disgusted that in the bottom of the ninth inning of a playoff game, Yankee staff actually told people to sit down and stop cheering. I blame the new Yankee stadium, not the fans.

    • 0 for infinity and beyond

      I remember an interview about the 96 team and they said the crowd was so amped in the ninth inning of game 6 that home plate was shaking. Those days are long gone with the security you see now.

      • 0 for infinity and beyond

        I think it was Girardi….

    • Captain

      I was at that game as did not notice any of that going on. You’ve never been able to bang on walls/bleachers so I don’t see how that was something new. Nor have I ever seen staff brought in to “calm down” the crowd in the 50+ games at the new stadium I’ve been to.

  • tipsie

    Understanding that most think Swisher is gone, my wishlist for the offseason is one new “toy”. Ichiro doesn’t count. Doesn’t matter if Granderson / ARod stay or go; one new / probably younger / talented position player.

    Free agent or trade. Just want a slight change in lineup dynamic.

    • 0 for infinity and beyond

      NUNEZ!!!! :)

      • tipsie

        Doesn’t count, Cash

        • 0 for infinity and beyond

          Nunez but the outfielder, not the infielder :)

    • Sly Robbie

      In that vein, of adding a player to change the dynamic, I am intrigued by Michael Bourne. 29 years old, in stride now with his prime years still ahead of him. He brings a lifetime .272 average, in recent seasons delivers OBP north of .345 and scores 90+ runs per seasons, is a gold-glove caliber CF with awesome range and great arm.

      Bourne’s minuses are that he does not hit HR’s, and he’s prone to striking out often. And he has Scott Boras as an agent.

      Realistically, Yankees sign him for 4-5 seasons @ $10 – $12 million per. At that price, Bourne represents a great savings over Nick Swisher and Curtis. Yankees stick him in a corner OF spot for one season, or however long it takes to part ways with Granderson. After that you have a dependable and affordable CF for at least 3 seasons. I’d be comfortable with an OF of Gardy, Grandy, and Bourne. That OF coverage and

      /Robbie

  • LarryM., Fl.

    If Joe is protecting Cano then he should be kicking his a$$ behind closed doors. Because it appears that the issue was not addressed during the season. Cano continued through the year without a hint of hustle out of the batters box on most balls put in play. What concerns is the fact that Joe may have addressed it during the season to no avail.

    Everyone has noticed it in the media both in print, TV and radio.

    • 0 for infinity and beyond

      I’m very shicked that the “Cano needs Larry Bowa to push him” argument. I keep waiting for it but haven’t heard it. If millions of dollars and getting to play baseball for a living aren’t enough to make a guy hustle then it really doesn’t matter who is coaching him.

      • Captain

        yet this lack of hustle has hurt him as a player how exactly? sure you want him hustling down the line on every ball in play, even soft grounders to infielders but doing that would only satisfy writers and fans, it doesn’t seem like his teammates or coaches have an issue with that.

        • gc

          I guess it’s only OK to run half-heartedly when Paul O’Neill did it. Which he did more than a few times as a Yankee. I can remember times when he barely made it half-way to first base on a ground ball, all but conceding the fact that he was going to be thrown out before it actually happened. The fact that he was “showing his emotion” and frustration made it much more comforting to some fans, something Cano just doesn’t do. Not that he has no emotions or doesn’t care, only that his personality seems to be not to wear those emotions on his sleeve during the regular routine of a ballgame.

          • bpdelia

            nah. he should run. there is no defense for it. throughout his career he has turned doubles to singles. we can criticized aspects of a player while still acknowledging the good things. Rodriguez and jeter run hard. I’m not appalled and furious but its annoying and indefensible. yes he should run hard on grounders and more importantly he should run hard on flyballs until they clear the fence. there have been NUMEROUS instances of Canon jogging only to have the ball hit the fence and bound away. these are balls that should be doubles and triples that have turned into either a lost base or an out

      • Thunder Road Runner

        +1!

  • mm

    Here’s a request for next season: eliminate God Bless America. How different is it than jihadists wanting Allah (actually, Muslims do worship the same god, just a different messenger)to bless their fight against their political enemies. Religion in any form has no business in our politics and certainly not in a baseball game. I always sit when it’s playing.