Sunday, September 28, 2014

Is Joe Girardi Trying To Be Fired?

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Story in the World Wide Lemur today that during the post-climax weekend series in Boston, Yankee manager Joe Girardi tore into his team to show his anger and disappointment over their failure to make the playoffs for the second straight year.

And, well, um, sure... but Joe? Where was this fire when the team actually was able to, you know, do anything about that? Where was your own personal fire when you kept running the worst hitting year of Derek Jeter's career in the 2 spot, along with his worst fielding career at shortstop? And why, if you have the full support and respect of your locker room, are we hearing about this almost as quickly as it happens, leaked out in the media and detracting from the MLB-wide canonization of St. Jeter?

The only thing I can think of is that, well, Girardi doesn't really want to be here any more, or has gotten the hint that he's on the way out and wants to leave with some hard-ass street rep. Which is all kinds of pathetic and obvious, really, especially when the biggest problem for the Yanks (beyond, of course, the requirement to play Jeets no matter what) has been out of bounds of managerial work or player conditioning, and that's injuries, especially to the SPs.

Now, I realize that it's nuts to think that any manager wants to be run, let alone from a job like New York... but think about what's looking down the barrel at the 2015 Yankee manager. He's living without Jeter, in the third year without playoffs. That's complete win or else without any kind of air cover at all... and, um, you get to deal with the madness that is 40-year-old Alex Rodriguez, still under contract and coming off the biggest PED suspension ever, with absolutely no one in the fan base wanting to see him back in the pinstripes. Unless, of course, he helps them win.

Your SP staff? Well, there's whatever is left of CC Sabathia; good luck with that. Masahiro Tanaka ran out of gas in a big way, but he's a reasonable bet to have some use in 2015. Less so, Hiroki Kuroda. Brandon McCarthy will regress, Michael Pineda can't stay healthy, and there isn't an obvious Next Kid or FA to make things all better. The bullpen has that curious issue of big budget teams, which is that it isn't nearly as good as it should be, because building a quality bullpen is much more about your minor league system than the guys that start the year.

As for the everyday lineup... well, it makes the pitching situation look happy. 1B Mark Teixeira is basically Ryan Howard now; a terrible contract for less and less offensive return. 2B is currently manned by Stephen Drew, which is to say that it's an open hole. SS, you know about. 3B is Chase Headley, assuming A-Rod doesn't take the job back, and while he's been better in NY than San Diego, he's not exactly a world beater over there. The outfield is Jacoby Ellsbury (good, but not getting better), Brett Gardner (the poor man's Ellsbury), Martin Prado (better as a utility knife than a FT RF, especially with a team that's not getting enough out of 1B/3B, and a bunch of guys that don't move the needle. At least they are getting something out of C Brian McCann, but that guy gets on base less than 29% of the time, and isn't hitting enough HRs to make for a real SLG mark. There are a lot of big names here, but not a lot of big production.

So this is what it is: a team with 80 to 85 win talent that isn't getting better, in a division where the Orioles just slug you to death, the Rays keep reloading in winning trade after winning trade, the Jays are actually over .500 for once, and the Red Sox seem to save up all of their competence for WS winning years. It's not exactly the dream job you might think, especially with other franchises catching up on the money for FAs.

So, if you are wondering why Girardi just crapped all over Jeet's Final Days... well, maybe because he's seeing his coming as well. And if you are going out, might as well go out swinging.

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