Credit: Jim McIsaac, Getty Images
I will start off by saying I have great respect for the Yankees beat writers on NJ.com. It’s one of the primary sites I peruse, particularly since the departure of Mark Feinsand from The New York Daily News.
Wednesday morning, Randy Miller wrote a column entitled ‘Odds For Yankees Manager Candidates if Joe Girardi Doesn’t Return in 2018’.
Personally, I wish the Steinbrenner family would break tradition and just re-sign both Girardi and GM Brian Cashman right now rather than wait until after the season to talk. No one likes lame duck status. Actually, the Yankees should fire Randy Levine and promote Cashman to President of Baseball Operations but that’s another story.
Miller’s favorites to succeed Girardi should he either chose to leave by his own volition or if he is politely shown the door are Fredi Gonzalez, currently third base coach for the Miami Marlins, and Clint Hurdle, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both guys are listed with 10 to 1 odds. No offense to either but I am not enthused. Miller cites Gonzalez’s managerial experience (10 years managing the Marlins and the Atlanta Braves) and history of working with younger players. To me, he’s just a manager that has been fired twice. Admittedly, I was on the “Clueless Joe” train when Joe Torre was hired as Yankees manager and we saw how that one turned out. Still, I am just not a big Gonzalez fan.
Hurdle is a small market manager. He failed in Colorado. Although he’s doing a much better job in Pittsburgh and is a respected baseball mind, he’s not my idea of true Yankees manager. Miller cites his main attribute as being a players manager. That’s nice. He is not the guy I want running baseball’s most storied franchise.
My favorite managers are Don Mattingly, manager of the Miami Marlins, and Terry “Tito” Francona, manager of the AL Champion Cleveland Indians. Mattingly is listed at 40 to 1 odds. Donnie Baseball was my favorite player so sentimentally that might be why he is my favorite manager. I’ll admit that he didn’t get the job done in Los Angeles but I feel that he has continued to improve as a manager every year. Francona is not listed on Miller’s list of candidates but given his success with (and love for) the Cleveland Indians, he’ll never leave.
The others on Miller’s list are San Francisco Giants bench coach Ron Wotus (15 to 1). No managing experience does not work for me even if he is Bruce Bochy’s right hand man.
DeMarlo Hale, Toronto Blue Jays bench coach (20 to 1). I think he deserves a managing opportunity but with no management experience, I’d prefer for him to get it elsewhere. Plus, I can’t get past his history with the Red Sox even if I did give Francona a free pass.
Ron Gardenhire, Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach (35 to 1). Nice guy. No.
Manny Acta, Seattle Mariners third base coach (50 to 1). Two-time managerial loser. No, thank you.
Joe McEwing, Chicago White Sox third base coach (75 to 1). No managerial experience for the former New York Met. Pass.
Willie Randolph, unemployed-MLB (100 to 1). Love the former Yankee but there’s got to be a reason he is never on short lists during manager searches. Plus, he hasn’t managed for nearly a decade.
Rob Thomson, Yankees bench coach (150 to 1). The lack of managerial experience is troublesome but he does know the players, organization and city. I could be talked into this one but it would still not be my preference.
Tony Pena, Yankees first base coach (250 to 1). He hasn’t managed in a dozen years and when he did, he failed. If Girardi does leave, I probably want to see a clean slate for manager and coaches.
Jim Leyland (1000 to 1) and Tony LaRussa (5000 to 1). Great managers in their day but I’ll pass on Octagenarians-to-be patrolling the Yankees dugout.
Joe Torre, MLB Chief Baseball Officer (10,000 to 1). Great job, limited travel, Hall of Fame, dinner with the family, etc. Haha, we know this one is not happening!
I cannot say that I am a big believer in Girardi. He has his faults but there really isn’t a better guy available to manage the Yankees. With Girardi, you know the team will be prepared. He knows how to work with young players and I think he listens to his coaches. The Steinbrenner family should get a new deal done and end the speculation. Girardi wants to stay in New York and I think the feeling is mutual.
If he fails on the next contract with the Baby Bombers, then fire his ass!!!
In baseball action, the Yankees didn’t play a real game on Wednesday (yeah, like the other games in March are real!). They played an exhibition game against Team Canada.
Luis Severino gave up 2 runs in the first inning as the Yanks quickly fell behind the Canadians, eh. But home runs by Matt Holliday, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks helped power the Yankees to a 10-4 victory.
The Yankees return to “real” games that do not matter today against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium in Kissimmee, Florida. Michael Pineda takes the hill for the away team (not to be confused with the dudes in the red shirts on the old Star Trek TV series).
Have a great Thursday!