There are plenty of things to blame for the New York Yankees skid, but one of the biggest culprits is manager Joe Girardi and his love for the veterans.
While that is definitely a potential winning strategy, Girardi has taken it a little too far. He’s become so confident in his veterans that it is ultimately costing them this season.
Girardi is great at many things, but one of the qualities that irks me is his undying confidence in veterans. A player is hitting less than .100 on the season and isn’t the best fielder? He’s had a great career so put him out there anyway! We’ve seen it a lot this season and even in the past.
This particular season, it is coming back to bite them.
The Yankees have third baseman Chase Headley, outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner and they had Chris Carter for a time. These veterans have all gone through pretty significant slumps this season and Girardi continued to put them in prime spots in the lineup.
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Miguel Andujar was called up to serve as a designated hitter. After one game, where he went 3-for-4, he was sent back down and Headley still got the starting spot. Brett Gardner went through a massive slump in the month of April and instead of giving some young studs a chance, Girardi puts him in the starting lineup every day.
Chris Carter is finally the most obvious example of Girardi’s #TeamVeteran mentality. With Austin Romine and even Rob Refsnyder serving as solid first basemen replacements, Girardi still turned to Carter for the starting duties.
Girardi would rather have an empty hole in the lineup than give his veterans a rest. Sure, they had some moments of greatness at the plate and on the field. But sometimes these veterans proved to be a hindrance rather than a help for the Yankees.
It was like the Yankees were putting out an incomplete lineup because Girardi couldn’t bear to take out his veterans.
We are going to see more of that this season, I presume. Clint Frazier has been incredible since his call-up but will likely be sent down due to Gardner and Ellsbury clogging up the outfield.
As much as we love and respect the veterans on the Yankees, it’s time to admit that they might be hurting instead of helping. While they bring that leadership quality to the clubhouse, they’re not playing their role on the field.
Gardner is batting .256 with a .346 OBP. Ellsbury is only batting slightly better with an even lower OBP. Headley is just horrific, already with 82 strikeouts on the season. And let’s not even return to the Carter era.
Girardi is being fair by giving them chances. However, how many chances do they get before they get benched in favor of a young prospect swinging a hot bat?
Baseball isn’t about feelings. It’s about putting those players in the lineup that will give your team the best chance to win the game. And the Yankees might have cost themselves some victories in the first half by keeping these slumping veterans in the lineup day in and day out.
I get it. Girardi doesn’t want to offend these guys by sending nine and ten-year veterans to ride the pine. But by keeping them in, Girardi is essentially putting the pressure on everyone else to perform to make up for their slack.
I’m a huge fan of the Yankees’ veterans. But I feel they aren’t performing, they need to be taken out of the lineup. If they were taken out sooner, who knows what would have happened?
If Girardi continues this trend, the Yankees will struggle. If they want to compete, Girardi will have to change his ways.
Its simple; the Yankees need players who will produce. If players aren’t producing, they need a break. Hopefully Girardi will learn that before the Yankees completely sink this season.