As the Yankees moved through the playoffs, many of us wondered whether a World Series win would mean a contract extension for Joe Girardi. They got the win, but it appears the team is content to let Girardi manage 2010 as a lame duck. Joel Sherman has the details, which are few. Instead of rewarding Girardi for a job well done, the Yanks will take their normal tack of letting a contract expire before negotiating a new one. It seems like a reasonable enough stance.
Brian Cashman has made it clear that this is how the Yankees will operate. Before the 2007 season he had a chance to rework deals for Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada, but declined to do so until after the season. While that decision might have cost the team several million dollars — both Posada and Rivera played hardball after having great seasons — it appears they’ll continue to apply the policy across the board.
While football teams prefer to avoid having a lame duck coach, baseball teams don’t seem to averse to it. Joe Torre signed four contracts after his first one with the Yankees, and two of them came after the old deal expired. In other words, the Yankees had two lame duck seasons under Torre, 1999 and 2001. His teams did just fine those seasons. He signed extensions for the 1997 and 2004 seasons, a year before his contract was to expire, and the teams did just fine then, too (though both seasons ended on sour notes).
After winning the World Series in his second season at the helm, it seems that missing the playoffs in 2010 is the only result that could lead to a new manager in 2011. Even then, with the World Series championship under his belt, perhaps the Yankees will be a bit more forgiving with Girardi if his team fails to make the playoffs next year. In any case, they’re leaving that option open, no matter what the team does. Even so, save for some unforeseen event unrelated to the team’s play (e.g., Girardi insulting the owner, as he did in Florida), I don’t see anyone else managing the Yankees for the next few years.
Joe Girardi has his good points and his bad, and although many of us were puzzled by some of his moves, I still think he’s a good manager. While we as fans tend to focus on the manager’s tactical moves, a manager is responsible for more than just that. He must hold together a team of 25 personalities over a six-month season and month-long playoff process. From all appearances, Girardi has done that well. As Alex Rodriguez said after the team won the World Series, “You have 25 guys who bought into Joe Girardi’s system.”