Girardi’s Managing Style
Joe Girardi has definitely learned to relax more since his 1st year as Yankees manager when the Yankees missed the playoffs. He was way too uptight, testy with the media, and had to many rules. That attitude got him canned in Florida despite winning manager of the year, although you can blame that more on the craziness of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria than Girardi. Entering his 5th season as Yankees manager he has improved greatly in these areas. He still constantly tweaks with player rotations during the season , which can get irritable. However, due to the age of the team he is managing he doesn’t have much choice.
Girardi has a great bench and should utilize it. He has to utilize it because he has guys on his team that need days off. Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter definitely need lots of rest during the year so they are fresh and healthy for the stretch run. Eric Chavez and Eduardo Nunez are great options off the bench to replace them. In the outfield Andruw Jones is a great 4th outfielder and you are not loosing a whole lot when he is in the lineup. Joe Torre did not have the bench towards the end of his tenure that he did at the beginning so he did not use it often. Girardi has a great one so why not utilize it? It is a 162 game season and you can’t just put the same lineup out every game. In the bullpen Girardi is a by the book or in his case by the binder manager. He will very rarely go against what the matchups in his binder say. I think he does need to go with his gut more often and what he his eyes tell him about what the pitcher is doing. However, I think managing the bullpen is probably his greatest strength as a manager. He will never pitch a guy until his arm falls off like Torre did. Torre pretty much killed the careers of Scott Proctor, Tanyon Sturtze, Paul Quantrill, and Tom Gordon by pitching them until their arm’s almost fell off. Girardi will never pitch a guy more then 2 days in a row. It is good that he has such a deep bullpen that it is easy for him to do that. Girardi is willing to trust everybody in his bullpen while Torre only trusted a selective few. This not to suggest Girardi is in Torre’s league as a manger don’t get me wrong, but it is one thing he did better. There is nothing wrong with Girardi’s in season competition. It should keep everybody on edge and make everybody raise their game. If players do not raise their game when challenged by another player then it is on them and not on the manager.
I am a bigger Girardi fan than a lot of fans are. People do not realize that managing the Yankees is a difficult job and not anybody can do it. Sure you are handed an extremely talented team last year but managing the egos, media, fans, and expectations can be really stressful. You try being the person to tell Derek Jeter he needs the day off or the one to bench Jorge Posada last season. I think Girardi does a really good job. Sure I and pretty much everybody else would like to see him make more decisions based off feel for the game but nobody is perfect. It will be intriguing to see how Girardi continues to evolve as a manager.