The Yankees have rattled off seven straight wins (as of this writing) and are currently only a game ahead of the surging (and pesky) Baltimore Orioles. But, the fact still remains that the Yankees lost a 10-game lead in the AL East and played some of their worst baseball for more than a month. That started the predictions of a new manager if the Yankees somehow missed the postseason.Joe Girardi was never the sexy pick when he became the manager in back in 2008. Throughout his managerial career he’s been known to micro-manage his bullpen, and play the splits religiously. He isn’t progressive like Joe Maddon, who plays on gut feelings and deploys the ever-popular shift against every play who’s a dead-pull hitter (not just the home run threats). Many feel that Girardi’s style plays well in New York because it’s a conservative-type that doesn’t stray to far from what the Yankees are built for: Home runs.
So with that, you’re the general manager, and you just fired Joe Girardi, who’s your next manager?
If Joe Girardi is fired, then I’d want the Yanks to hire Terry Francona. Just hear me out on this.
Francona was a great manager for Boston (arguably the team’s best ever) and one of only a handful of people within the Red Sox organization that I respect. He knew how to get the most out of his players and produced (two titles over a four-year span is nothing to scoff at). He strikes me as a Torre-type — good with the media and knows how to deal with egos. Plus, he got a raw deal in Boston (to say the least) and would love nothing more than to shove it up that organization’s collective rear-end by leading the Yanks to glory.
Not only would he help the team win, but his hire would be a shot at Red Sox nation. Imagine the look on Sully’s face when he wakes up and sees the guy who managed the team that helped end The Curse wearing pinstripes on the front page of The Boston Globe. Picture Tawmmy From Quinzee, already 13 beers deep, stumbling into Fenway for a Yanks/Sox game and see Tito rocking a road grey while delivering the fackin’ lineup cahd. To be a fly on the wall of some Masshole’s shanty as Francona is cruisin’ down the Canyon of Heroes hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy.
Hank and Hal, if you guys are reading, you must make this happen.
First of all, let me say that, other than his tendency to make in-game, binder-driven moves that drive me nuts, Joe Girardi is a great manager for the Yankees. However, if he were to get fired, my first phone calls would be either to Terry Francona or Joe Maddon. Maddon is one of the few managers in baseball who utilizes all of the metrics available to him – we know all about his shifts – but it actually goes a lot deeper than that. The constant reshuffling of the lineup (while it may be strange), is actually his way of getting the most offensive production out of his team.While this tactic might not work precisely with the Yankees, it’s worth noting that Maddon is willing to employ all available stats and figures to his disposal, as well as some proverbial “gut” managing. He’s also a player-favorite, and his clubhouses always seem to give off a very chill vibe, which would be nice in the pressure cooker that can be NY. He’d be my first call.
If you couldn’t pry away Maddon from Tampa Bay, I’d actually give Tito a call next. He’s got that Joe Torre essence to him – a hands-off, player-friendly manager. Remember, outside of last September’s epic collapse (if you think he, or Bobby Valentine, for that matter, have anything to do with the Boston mess, you haven’t been paying attention), Tito was a fantastic manager for the Red Sox. If anyone has listened to him on the ESPN broadcasts (or watched a game during his tenure), you know he did a great job in a tough market – a nice way to transition into NY.
Now before every Yankee fan wants to chase me down for saying this, I don’t know if there would be a better manager than Terry Francona. He led the Red Sox to two World Series, both in which they won. He’s a smart manager with a great career and I feel he’d be able to handle New York if he could handle Boston. Now how realistic is it that Tito ever goes back to managing? Well, that remains to be seen as he likes his job as a commentator. He’s not biased towards the Red Sox whenever they are on and he’s really someone I think the Yankees could consider if Girardi’s time is ever up.
My second option would be Jim Leyland. This is Leyland’s last year with Detroit and if they fail to make the postseason, who knows what Dave Dombrowski will do. If Leyland were an option, he’s another solid manager who not only knows his players well, but knows the game well.
Interesting question. I can’t imagine the Yankees would can Girardi after this season even if they fail to reach the postseason or go deep into October considering the multiple injuries the team has sustained and his salary. But, if the Yankees don’t reach the promised land this season or next, when Girardi’s contract is finished, there is another former Yankee I think could take over in the Bronx. Don Mattingly would be an ideal fit as he would have three years of managerial experience (his contract also ends in 2013) under his belt in a big market. This of course assumes he doesn’t win it all with the Los Angeles Dodgers before then. Mattingly is a true competitor, knows the pressures in the Bronx from his playing days as well as his experience as a bench coach for Joe Torre. Whenever Girardi is let go or not extended, it would be a great time to get Donnie Baseball back in Pinstripes.
While I agree with the consensus view that Girardi effectively saved his job with how the team has played lately, if he were removed, I’d like to give another former catcher and opportunity. How about Mike Scoscia? He’s fiery and his small-ball/defensive skill set as a manager make no sense for the Yankees, but I’ve always wanted to know how he’d do in New York. He won a World Series title back in 2002, and also took home the AL Manager of the Year award twice (2002, 2009). The Angels picked a good one, as he’s currently the longest-tenured manager in the Major Leagues and is the first manager to reach the playoffs in six of his first ten years, so the guy definitely has the winning pedigree.
Like I said, I don’t know how well the defensive/small ball approach would work in the Bronx, but if he could infuse that into an already home run-happy lineup … unstoppable.