Blame Girardi

No question about it, if the Yankees are assigning blame for their horrendous 2008 season, manager Joe Girardi should be assigned a solid portion of the blame.  In fact, if these were the heydays of George M. Steinbrenner, Girardi might be fired.

With virtually the same roster plus Xavier Nady, a more seasoned Joba Chamberlain, and a more experienced bullpen, Joe Girardi had the same roster as last season and then some.  Granted, the team suffered two terrible injuries in Chien-Ming Wang and Jorge Posada, but the team played a lackluster campain in 2008.

Girardi over-managed, particularly early in the season by over-resting the veterans, often taking them out when weilding a hot bat.  About two weeks ago, I got frustrated by the simple fact that Girardi used four pitchers in ONE INNING during a game.  That is completely uncalled for and unnecessary.  I understand the potential value of matching up relievers with hitters, but four in one inning is too much.

Girardi looked like a rookie this year… and well… he is.  He had one season with the Marlins with no expectations and pretty good results, but that’s it.  He was supposed to be a change from the relaxed Joe Torre.  He came in and ran the players in spring training.  But he wasn’t – he isn’t – different from Torre. The fire that he displayed in Florida hasn’t been there this season.  He’s worked hard and has plenty of gray hair to show for that, but the players haven’t played.  They haven’t looked motivated, they’ve been going through the motions and THAT is the manager’s chief job.  You shouldn’t have to motivate 30 year old men to play a game for millions of dollars, but that’s ultimately what managing is on the Yankees.  Joe Torre was excellent at managing people and Girardi, a player and coach under Torre, should learn from the older Joe in this regard.

Forget matchups – trust your players to get the job done from either side of the plate or the rubber – and keep these guys interested.  Make them understand that they’re playing for something.  That’s where Girardi has failed this year.  Maybe it takes a veteran to understand that and maybe that’s what the Yankees need.  They don’t need a “Yes” man or even a YES (Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network) man. They need some outsider, someone with fire, someone to challenge conventions and the recent, comfortable, way things have been done in the Bronx.  This year was a failure and it’s largely Girardi’s fault for not motivating the players and not being a manager of people.  2009 should determine Girardi’s future as Yankee manager.


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