Tuesday, November 3, 2015
GIRARDI: MANAGER OF THE YEAR?
It was recently brought up to me whether Joe Girardi deserved to be in the running, or even win the AL Manager of the Year. While there are surely plenty of Yankees fans who are rolling their eyes and thinking absolutely not, and others who flat out think he is a terrible manager, if you look at what the Yankees accomplished this past season, there is an argument that YES, he should be the AL Manager of the Year.
Let's start from the beginning; In a poll of 88 ESPN experts, only four chose the Yankees to win the AL East, which next to the one vote for the Rays, was the second fewest of any team. Of their 15 'top experts' not one picked the Yankees to win and only one, Buster Olney, picked the Yankees to win the second AL Wild Card slot. So there's that...
The Yankees played some great ball this summer, but slumped down the stretch, and finished with an 87-75 record, good for second in the East and a Wild Card berth. That in itself is a moderately successful season based on the predictions of most analysts who didn't give them a chance in hell.
As for Girardi, he, just like all managers, is only able to work with the 25 men on his roster at a given point. He doesn't sign players and he doesn't cause them to slump or get hot. His job is to manage the club he is given. And manage he did pretty well.
He didn't sign Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year deal and cause him to hit .257 with just seven home runs and 33 RBI over 452 at-bats and slump big time the last two months of the season. He didn't cause Brett Gardner's poor season. He didn't cause CC Sabathia to decline as he got older and his body struggled to support his 300 pound frame. He didn't hit the foul ball off Mark Teixeira's leg in August. He didn't cause Tex, Sabathia, Carlos Beltran, Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Andrew Miller, Chase Whitley and Jacob Lindgren to all miss significant time due to injury.
He sure as hell what not the one who decided that Stephen Drew was going to be their second baseman nearly all season. He was only able to use what he had...and did!
But he managed to have his team come out and win more ball games then they lost as the skipper of the sixth oldest team in the league according to statista.com. Check it out HERE.
His roster, as we all know, was a very veteran roster to put it mildly. The Opening Day lineup had just one player, next to starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who was under 30 years old. That was Didi Gregorius. Typically that is not a good thing!
Girardi saw some young kids come up and produce for the big club in spots when it was needed. Greg Bird did a fantastic job over the last two months. Luis Severino pitched very well in his first big league action.
Slade Heathcott made an impressive MLB debut and batted .400 over 17 games (and he too got injured). He utilized some of his new, young talent well. He even eventually utilized Rob Refsnyder reasonably well down the stretch in September against lefties, with Dustin Ackley playing against righties. He also used Chris Young well against lefties and Young helped the Yankees win quite a few ball games.
Now, did he do everything right? Of course not. Which manager did? I'll wait while you find that answer...
Any luck yet?
While an argument can be made that he made mistakes and didn't utilize his roster correctly, he did many more things that were positive rather than negative. Remember that a Manager is only able to work with what he is given.
So does Joe Girardi deserve to be considered for Manager of the Year? I say YES. He and the Yankees did very well, all things considered. I've always liked Girardi, although I've criticized him, just like we all have, but believe he really is a good skipper. Managing a ball club is not an easy job but Joe does a pretty damn good job if you ask me.
What do you think? Let me know @DManLucia
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