As we enter the last year of Joe Girardi’s current contract, the question begs to be asked if Girardi is the right guy to lead the Baby Bombers into their new era. I have to preface this by saying that I have never been a big fan of Joe Girardi. When Joe Torre left, I wanted Don Mattingly as the manager despite my dislike for guys with no prior managerial experience. I am a Donnie Baseball fan so it is what it is. He’ll always be my favorite for the job even if you can give me countless reasons for why he would not make a good Yankees manager. So, let’s set aside my Mattingly homer-ism. I am still not a fan of Girardi’s.
We have had ten years of Joe Girardi at the helm if you count this year. He has produced one world championship and he’s made five post-season appearances:
- 2015: Lost AL Wild Card game to the Houston Astros
- 2012: Lost ALCS to the Detroit Tigers, 4 games to none
- 2011: Lost ALDS to the Detroit Tigers, 3 games to 2
- 2010: Lost ALCS to the Texas Rangers, 4 games to 2
- 2009: Won World Series over the Philadelphia Phillies, 4 games to 2
The only championship year that Girardi has produced was the year the Yankees spent over $400 million to “buy” CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira.
The only pro that I have for keeping Girardi is the lack of immediate recognizable and available talent to take over. I am not really interested in managers that have been hired and fired multiple times although it did work out with Joe Torre. Regardless, I am ready for a change.
If the Yankees choose not to re-sign Girardi at the end of the year, I would prefer they clear out the coaches too. As a result, I am not in favor of naming Tony Pena or Rob Thomson as Girardi’s replacement.
Due to today’s international flavor in Major League Baseball, I think a bilingual manager would be a very good idea. During the WBC, it was floated that former Yankee Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens is interested in becoming a major league manager. Meulens is currently hitting coach for the San Francisco Giants and he was the head coach for Team Netherlands in the recent World Baseball Classic. He doesn’t meet my criteria of prior managerial experience but I like the connection to the Yankees organization even if he never found success with the big league club.
Sandy Alomar, Jr is another solid candidate. Alomar doesn’t have a connection to the Yankees, but his dad was once the second baseman for the team. He is currently first base coach for the Cleveland Indians and is one of the top current managerial candidates in Major League Baseball.
Another guy I like is the bench coach for the Chicago Cubs, Dave Martinez. I felt that Martinez should have gotten the Tampa Bay Rays job that went to Kevin Cash when Joe Maddon opted out of his contract and went to Chicago. Martinez will be a major league manager in the not-so-distant future.
Not sure why I am rattling off guys with no managerial experience given my disdain but I guess I am too quick to dismiss re-treads too. The lack of managerial experience can be allayed by a strong, experienced bench coach.
Manny Acta, currently the third base coach for the Seattle Mariners, has the managerial experience but he’s already been hired and fired a couple of times. I know, there I go again. Still, he could fall into the ‘third time’s a charm’ category.
I have no idea who the Yankees would hire if Girardi is done but there are guys out there who deserve the opportunity and would be excellent in leading the Baby Bombers to the Promised Land.
I am not really trying to identify who should take over for Girardi with this post but rather take the position that it is time for change. Major League managers do not have a long shelf life. After a certain amount of time, a new voice is needed. The days of managing for 50 years like Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics no longer exist.
Perhaps you are a lover of Joe Girardi. That’s fine. We can have differing opinions. At the end of the day, all we really want is another World Series championship or rather championships. Until it happens, we can debate who is the best guy to lead the team. For me, it’s not the former catcher from Peoria, Illinois.