New York Yankees skipper Joe Girardi is still not given the appreciation he deserves in his ninth season calling shots in the Bronx.Joe Girardi receives an enormous level of scrutiny every day. Managing for nearly a decade with the New York Yankees, he is often called an “over manager” and is referred to as “clueless Joe.”
The truth of the matter is that Girardi is the opposite of clueless. In fact, he has kept the Yanks from tearing things apart a handful of times.
Yankees fans have become spoiled with winning, and winning a lot. Anything short of it is pinned on the manager, certain players, and the front office. They often lose sight of how Girardi stacks up with the best Yankee managers of all-time and the best managers in baseball today.
Let’s face it: skippers usually do not have long stints in the Bronx. Whether it was George Steinbrenner and his will to win, a lack of demanded success, or both, it takes a lot to remain in with the Yankees. A spot at the helm of a team whose owners and fans demand excellence is no easy task.
Most fans do not have the perception that Girardi has seized the task at hand. He ranks sixth among Yankee skippers in both longevity and wins. He has won 759 games with the club and possesses a winning percentage of .564.
Some claim that the 2009 World Series Championship is his saving grace. While it certainly helped, he has more than made do with the rosters that have been handed to him.
287 wins between 2010-2012 was an expectation with the stud-filled personnel that was handed down. However, the stretch of 2013-present has represented baseball managing at its best.
In both 2013 and 2014, the New York Yankees had no business being above .500. They had injury-prone, makeshift rosters with no true starting pitching. Through Girardi’s great ability to manage a bullpen and properly rest his aging players, he was able to “micromanage” his team to 85 and 84 win seasons, respectively.
Even take last year as a direct example. Without the unexpected outbursts from the likes of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, the Yankees were nothing. They were hampered by injury, like 2013 and 2014, and did not have one standout ace in their staff. Girardi was able to piece together wins with his bullpen that even lost closer Andrew Miller for a period of time.
So the Yankees lost the AL Wild Card Game. Does it really make sense to put any blame whatsoever on the skipper? Were the Yankees supposed to be there?
The direct answer is no.
Joe Girardi’s greatest talent is extracting every ounce of solid baseball a team can possibly provide. If you are a Yankee fan, you should comfortably go to sleep every night knowing that the Yanks will win the close to or exactly the amount of games they can possibly win every season.
Perhaps Girardi’s only true failure in pinstripes was the 2011 postseason when the Yankees lost an ALDS to the Detroit Tigers that they had no business losing. Even then, multiple key pieces faltered on the big stage.
It has always been puzzling why more love is not thrown his way when Manager of the Year votes are cast. He no longer has the “stacked roster” as an aid. Fans no longer have that crutch to latch onto when asked if he is a formidable manager or not.
This year, he fills out the lineup card every day for a team that ranks 25th in baseball in runs and batting average, 17th in ERA, and 26th in innings pitched. Somehow, he has his team six games off the pace in the division nearing the month of June and four games out of a playoff spot. A club that has no reason to be anywhere near .500 is two games below the mark.
He has done it time in and time out. Why should this year prove to be any different?
Joe Girardi will continue to get the most out of his team no matter how the cards drop. For those calling for his job, there is a reason why he keeps it.