Feb
12

Notes from Joe Girardi’s start-of-camp press conference

By
(Photo via Mark Feinsand)

(Photo via Mark Feinsand)

Pitchers and catchers reported to Tampa today, and Joe Girardi held his annual start-of-spring press conference this morning. The biggest news concerned (who else?) Alex Rodriguez, who will not join the team in camp and will instead rehab his hip in New York. Other than that, the press conference was pretty standard stuff. Here’s a recap of the session, which was partially streamed on ESPN and covered by the usual suspects: Mark Feinsand, Chad Jennings, Dan Barbarisi, Bryan Hoch, Jack Curry, and others.

On position players and the offense

  • If the season started today, Brett Gardner would be in left field and Curtis Granderson would be in center. The team will discuss flipping the two, but Girardi said “right now there’s no plans to do anything.” If they do decide to make the switch, they’ll try it out early in camp first.
  • Girardi said one of his biggest concerns in camp is finding a right-handed bat to complement their all-lefty outfield as well as the DH spot. Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz appear to be the two leading candidates for the job and will compete in camp.
  • It sounds like Austin Romine is on the outside looking in as far as the catching competition goes, at least right now. “He still has an opportunity here,” said Girardi.
  • “Our offense is going to be different, but I believe we’re going to score runs … We’re going to have to find different ways to score runs,” said the skipper when asked how the team would replace the power lost when Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, and others signed elsewhere.
  • Girardi doesn’t have a set lineup in mind at the moment. I think we all have a general idea of who will bat towards the top of the order, who will bat in the middle, and who will fill out the bottom anyway.

On players coming off injury

  • Girardi said there is some concern about Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera as they come off ankle and knee surgery, respectively. He expects both to be ready for Opening Day, however. The Cap’n ran for the first time yesterday.
  • As for Michael Pineda — who did throw off a full mound today — Girardi said he’s “still in the early stages (of rehab) … we’re happy with the way he’s progressing.” Don’t expect to see the right-hander in a Spring Training game.

Miscellany

  • “I don’t worry about where I’m going to be next year,” said Girardi about his contract, which expires after the season. “I’m worried about the next 162 games and getting to the playoffs and getting to the World Series. That’s my concern. That’s what I worry about.”
  • Girardi, always the optimist, said “this team could win 95 games and get to the World Series (because) there’s a lot of talent in this room … If we play up to our capabilities, I believe we’re a very good team.” He is right, you know.
Categories : Spring Training

102 Comments»

  1. Govin says:

    Interesting stuff, I really hope they do look at switching Gardner and Granderson. Especially since Granderson said he be fine with the move.

  2. Mike HC says:

    Something tells me Girardi is loving this more NL style roster. Manufacturing runs, bunting, weak hitting all defense catchers … Girardi is in his element.

    • Havok9120 says:

      I really don’t think he cares either way. It will be interesting to see if he uses the opportunity to mix and match more. Do something creative. As much as we like to complain about him being so by the book, there were rarely good reasons to go with anything but the standard lineup the last few years. It was too solid a group to do much more than change the batting order. Unfortunately, that will not be the case this year.

    • RetroRob says:

      I think he’d like three-run HRs, but he’ll deal with what he’s got.

  3. Herby says:

    Girardi, always the optimist, said “this team could win 95 games and get to the World Series (because) there’s a lot of talent in this room …

    Joel Sherman is going to be playing 1st base?

    • Mike HC says:

      As the manager, seems odd to cap it at 95 games (he was obviously using last years mark). Why can’t the team improve and win 100 games if everything breaks right?

      • Govin says:

        If he said that the Yankees might win more then 95 games, he would be admitting that he believed that the Yankees had gotten better in the offseason. He didn’t want to look like he was unrealistically optimistic.

        • Mike HC says:

          I guess. The fact that he said this team “could win 95 games … if we play up to our capabilities” does not really seem like a ringing endorsement as the manager of the Yankees. I would have aimed higher.

          But point taken. The new Yankee motto seems to be all about lowering expectations.

          • Govin says:

            True, if you think about the potential of last years team, at one point they were on track to win over a hundred games.
            Before being swept by the Oakland A’s

            • Havok9120 says:

              Yeah, last year’s team was nuts. We racked up a ton of DL and walking wounded time on guys we were really depending on (and, in some cases, their replacements) and STILL won 95. It was a heck of a season.

              • Govin says:

                Last years regular season was crazy fun. The Yankees came so close to having a Redsox type collapse, but they just refused to die.

                • Havok9120 says:

                  Yeah, I would have preferred us to run away with the division, but it was certainly exciting to watch the team overcome that horrendous slump and the injuries. It’s far more exciting now that I can look back on it in hindsight knowing we took the East anyway. :D

          • Havok9120 says:

            It’s not even lowering expectations so much as trying not to have the press and the fanbase label him a starry eyed optimist out of touch with reality, which is something that already happens here when a commenter says 95 wins is within the realm of possibility.

            • jjyank says:

              This, and I just think that it’s both a nice, easy round number, and it was last year’s total. 95 games is likely enough to win the division. Reading the comments above, I think some of you guys are reading too much into the exact number.

            • Barry says:

              No offense, but how is 95 wins outside the realm of possibility? It may not be a lock but it’s not impossible.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        I didn’t think it was odd at all. 95′s a nice number to strive for. Anything above that is a cherry on top of the cherry that’s already there.

        • Mike HC says:

          I’m definitely nit picking. He was just spitballing with reporters. I’m sure he is trying to win as many games as possible. If they get to 95 wins, I doubt he closes up shop for the season.

      • RetroRob says:

        Managers rarely predict 100-win seasons. 95 is what the Yankees did last year and have been basically averaging for fifteen years. It’s a number that says “we have a good team.” That’s my take.

    • Herby says:

      Well, not really my point about how many wins was just saying he was commenting about winning 95 games with the talent in the room, which was primarily reporters.

      • Mike HC says:

        Yea, I knew my comment was not really in direct relation to what you said.

        But your joke did go over my head as well. A delayed “haha” will have to do, ha

  4. Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

    I guess Girardi is trying to be PC about switching Gardner and Granderson and doesn’t want to sound too overzealous about making the move so as to not slight Granderson but it’s really a no brainer decision.

    Granderson is just not up to par in CF and Gardner should easily be well above average if not elite. With a diminished offense, every run saved is more important than ever.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I never expect Girardi to truly play his hand. He knows any little morsel he throws at the press will wind up on the back of the Daily News.

    • TCMiller30 says:

      “Our offense is going to be different, but I believe we’re going to score runs … We’re going to have to find different ways to score runs,”

      He should be thinking of new inventive ways to prevent runs too. Like rearranging the guys on the field so they’re in their best possible positions to prevent runs. That arrangement has BG in center.

    • jjyank says:

      I’m guessing he just wants to wait until he can get Gardner and Granderson in his office and discuss it with them in person. Granderson is a veteran guy, Girardi might just be showing him some respect by telling him in person instead of a phone call or indirectly at a press conference.

  5. Girardi is right in the sense that if there isn’t a major injury or players don’t continue to decline then they could win 95 games, but realistically that isn’t going to happen. Players get hurt, players suck and decline. That’s baseball.

    • Govin says:

      But also players perform beyond expectations. Come on, who would have predicted that Chavez would get over 16 home runs last year, and at one point be the primary third baseman, without getting hurt.

      • Jim Is Bored says:

        Man, I wish we had some more people who think like you around.

        • Govin says:

          Hey thanks Jim,
          I’ve been reading rab comments for a while now and its people like you that make it so enjoyable.

          • jjyank says:

            Stick around then. We need more of that attitude after what has generally been a painful offseason in the comments section.

          • TomH says:

            Oh, now I get it!

            it’s supposed to be “enjoyable”! People want to bask in the warm glow of happy predictions.

            Happy talk, keep talkin’ happy talk,
            Talk about things you’d like to do.
            You got to have a dream,
            If you don’t have a dream,
            How you gonna have a dream come true?

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              If it’s news to you that people generally like enjoyable experiences rather than miserable ones, you must be an absolute joy in real life.

        • Havok9120 says:

          The new crop of peoples is starting to arrive with the start of Training. Hopefully we’ll get another good group of new regulars.

    • LK says:

      Winning 95 games is certainly realistic. I think the probability is under 50%, but it’s not like it would take some hugely unlikely set of events.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Yeah, players only get hurt and suck in baseball… Those are the only possibilities.., wait, what? Players can play well too? No way!?!?

      • Hey it’s easy to play into the I’m in the best shape of my optimism stories that sourround ST. I am happy baseball is here and am looking forward to the season even if I don’t agree with recent Yankee acquisitions nor do I think the Yankees will win the AL East. Still happy it’s here, just because someone is a realist doesn’t mean they are wrong, or right.

        • Havok9120 says:

          That you are describing yourself as a realist and claiming in your opening post that those more optimistic than you aren’t being realistic doesn’t really convey the open-mindedness you’re asking us to have for your opinion. Shockingly this attitude, which some might describe as hypocritical, tends to annoy people.

          Predictions are all well and good, and just about everyone has admitted that the team isn’t as good as last year on paper, but painting optimism as the unrealistic fantasy of fanbois is just as bad as painting pessimism as trolling.

          • Point taken. I didn’t think one comment would cause such an uproar.

            I was just trying to convey that while it is nice that everyone is happy about baseball returning, but I dislike that fact that when it happens people get swept away in unrealistic expectations that the team is going to win 95 games. Sure it is in the realm of possibility that if every thing goes right. (Hafner Youkilis Jeter Rivera being healthy and productive, Kuroda & Hughes repeating their performance last year, Ichiro plays like he did in September all year long, etc.) And you know what? I will happily eat crow and listen to I told you so all next year, and hope it happens. I am just saying the team is considerably worse than last year and has way more question marks going into the season.

            Yeah us as fans shouldn’t go into the season saying “were going to suck” but it is hard to feel good about the team as it is currently constructed, and my personal expectations are lowered because of it. That being said, its not going to stop me for rooting for them, checking RAB every day like I have been the last 5 years, or going to games. Some take it too far with the doomsday scenarios, but taking it to the other extreme as you pointed you is just as bad.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              95 wins is optimistic, but I would hardly call it unrealistic. The Oakland As won 94 games last season and the Baltimore Orioles won 93. I’d love to hear how their rosters were better than the Yankees 2013 roster.

              I would say that 95 is probably towards the high end of reasonable expectations for this team. Healthy seasons from Gardner and Pettitte/Phelps plus A-Rod taking over for Hafner around mid-season would get the Yankees’ ZIPs projection to about 95.

              Not to even consider anything actually going better than expected.

            • Havok9120 says:

              Yeah, I really am sorry for coming down so hard. It was much less a reaction against you than against a sentiment way more pessimistic and all-knowing than you were being. Sorry about that.

              I mean, I’ve barely been on the site this weekend because of Mardi Gras, and I’ve still been called a fanboy, a Pollyanna, a lemming, and a starry eyed optimist. I have no trouble with being bearish on the team but sheesh.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Realism means that things can only go badly?

  6. trr says:

    I’d be thrilled with 95 wins.
    Besides, what else would he say?

  7. Slugger27 says:

    wow, a post without a shoe-horned anti-ichiro line. who woulda thought?

    • LK says:

      Mike has definitely taken a very strong position on Ichiro (but if you never take any strong positions, what good are you opinions anyway?). If Ichiro plays well it will certainly look foolish, but I’m not holding my breath.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        I don’t necessarily think he’ll look foolish. He’ll be wrong, and he’ll admit he’s wrong, and all will be fine.

        • LK says:

          I’m sure all that’s true. I think anytime you show that much certainty and turn out to be wrong, you do end up looking foolish; whether you admit you’re wrong ends up determining whether you *are* foolish. And like I said above, if you don’t ever go out on a limb enough where you might look foolish, you’re pretty thoroughly uninteresting.

          • Slugger27 says:

            i dont have anything wrong with mike being bearish on ichiro. i happen to disagree with him, but its not the point.

            i just get tired of hearing about it in every post, including the non-ichiro ones. you dont like the ichiro deal, we get it.

            • Havok9120 says:

              Yeah, I certainly get that, but I don’t begrudge it. Everyone needs to blow off some steam, and he avoids the comments section, so he can’t make a fool of himself down here like all of us do from time to time. :P

            • LK says:

              I think it’s all in good fun. Mike has a lot of content to provide, being able to toss in a derogatory joke about the new RF is fine by me. I can understand you getting tired of it, but when he’s the only guy they committed 2014 dollars to I can see why Mike thinks it’s a pretty big deal.

              • Herby says:

                My feelings for Ichiro are also along the lines of the way some people here feel about Ortiz or Lackey..the whole, know me by my first name, and the way for the most part he wasn’t even liked by most of his teammates in Seattle for the longest time. The rabid devotion to a slap hitter, and how some get wet spots in their pants over a couple good weeks. I hope he does good for the sake of the team, but I’ll still think he’s on the level of used Charmin.

          • Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

            I don’t think Mike will look foolish if Ichiro does well. Looking at the available data including his age, recent performance decline and the fact that he loses some defensive value playing in a small RF at YS3, the smart money is he’s gonna be at best a league average player and more than likely a little worse.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              If he’s even a league average player, I would say Mike looks bad for making such an incredibly big deal out of his signing all off-season.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            Totally agree there.

            I also guarandamntee right now the Yankees will win 120 games this year. I am absolutely right, and anyone who says otherwise can suck it.

      • RetroRob says:

        He won’t look foolish. He just didn’t like the signing. He’ll be quite happy if Ichiro puts up a 3+ WAR year. I know I will.

        • LK says:

          There’s a difference between not liking the signing and having Mike’s reaction to the signing though (which I think is what the complaint is about). I don’t think there’s anything that wrong with looking foolish – we all do sometimes. If the Yankees catching situation isn’t a black hole this year I’ll certainly look foolish given how much I’ve complained about it.

          • RetroRob says:

            Don’t worry. You won’t look foolish, but it won’t be because of an upside surprise. Catcher will be a black hole. I have more faith that the future HOFer Ichiro might pull at 2012 Jeter and put up a solid season than I do the Stewart/Cervelli combo at catcher.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            By WAR I wouldn’t expect a substantial change vs. Martin. bWAR seems to like Stewart as much as or better than Martin recently in smaller samples. fWAR has him at 1.6 fWAR in 400 career PAs. Cervelli is a positive contributor by both measures as well, getting to about 1 fWAR and 0.7 bWAR in part-time duty in 2010-11.

            Of course, it’s dubious that those WAR measures truly capture C value.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Ichiro is the new Freddy Garcia.

      • LK says:

        Wasn’t Freddy Garcia signed on a minor league deal? Not really a fair comparison.

        • Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

          I think he’s speaking from the point of view that Ichiro seems to be the target of a lot scorn from Yankees fans these days kind of how Freddy Garcia was too even though he still provided value for the investment.

          • LK says:

            Right. But with Garcia, that scorn was clearly not justified because he was competing in camp on a minor league deal. Ichiro has been promised a starting role and got a 2-year deal which includes 2014 dollars. The scorn is far more warranted in this case in my opinion.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              The comparison that I was actually making was that each is the guy Mike spends all off-season whining about. Also the guy that Mike choose to ignore recent success for because it was a small sample, which isn’t always the right thing to do. Certainly you don’t take that small sample at face value, but you investigate it a little further. See what it’s all about. Did the guy finally recover from shoulder surgery and make mostly strong starts all season with a few real stinkers mixed in? Did the guy change his approach and/or mechanics upon arriving on a new team? I spent that entire off-season arguing with Mike that Garcia had been successful since coming all the way back from shoulder surgery for 1.25 seasons, only to be told that he was shot. Ichiro isn’t as obvious a value, but $7.5 million per for two years is not a huge investment. He could easily justify it on the field. Of course he could also easily not justify it, but I’d rather wait and see than decide before hand without taking any time to investigate the upside at all. I certainly don’t discount the possibility that Ichiro’s deal is partially marketing value, and I don’t feel nearly as strongly about the move as Garcia. With Garcia I thought it was obviously a good move. With Ichiro I’m more unsure and waiting to see.

              I think that Garcia was brought in to start, by the way. It was a MiLB deal, but I remember him being actually told he was starting in press reports.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        So Ichiro will rarely last past the second innning in 2014? Fuck. Thanks, Ted.

  8. Vern Sneaker says:

    I don’t get all the Ichiro hate. He made a solid contribution for us last year. I disagree strongly with the contract but as with A-Rod you can’t hate the player for saying okay when management foolishly throws money at you. Ichiro’s not going to lie down on the field, I’m sure he’ll play his butt off and here’s hoping the skills don’t erode any further.

    • hogsmog says:

      I don’t think anyone is hating the player, I think they’re hating the management for foolishly throwing money at him.

    • Slugger27 says:

      i understand not liking the contract. same money involved, and they chose ichiro/cervelli over martin/dickerson. thats hard for me to understand.

      i just dont get why we need to hear about it in every post. its not the first unusual move the yankees made, and it wont be the last.

    • Barry says:

      I’m hoping for the best, I think he’s still hungry at least. Lots of players with less in the tank than Ichiro have surprised us before.

  9. dkidd says:

    russell martin = mike stanley
    chris stewart = joe girardi
    kevin youkilis = wade boggs

    2013 = 1996

  10. BigBlueAL says:

    For as much as Im dreading next off-season and the possibility of losing Cano I dont see why the 2013 Yankees cant win 95 games and the division again. Sure they could “collapse” and only win in the mid-to-high 80′s and miss the playoffs but that was true of the last couple of seasons.

    I didnt like letting Martin/Swish go and some of the non-moves made this off-season because it certainly looks like those moves were made with the 189m 2014 budget in mind which as I mentioned above has me pretty freaked out about what this team will look like in 2014 but for this year Im still hoping for a championship and dont think thats a crazy expectation.

  11. sevrox says:

    I say Ichiro will turn it on next year – the Ageless Asian – his defense AND offense will better Swisher’s numbers. Maintaining Optimistic Buoyancy. Nice site you have here. Frequent lurker and seldom post.

  12. Adam says:

    Blah, blah, Gardy, blah, blah, AR-Rod wont be a distraction, blah, blah

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.