Joe Girardi has been the manager of the Yankees since the 2008 season when he took over for Hall of Famer Joe Torre. Girardi missed the playoffs in his first year but rebounded to win the World Series in 2009. He guided the Yankees to the playoffs from 2010-2012 but before missing the playoffs last season. Other than Torre, Girardi is already the longest tenured manager since Ralph Houk was manager from 1966-1973. After a frustrating season in 2013, and a sluggish start to 2014, we may be looking at the end of the Joe Girardi Era.
First of all, I don’t think a move will be made before the end of the season. At least not in regards to the manager. However, the hitting coach, Kevin Long or the third base coach, Robby Thompson, might be sent packing before the All-Star break if the offense doesn’t improve. The Yankees signed him to a four year $16 million deal only last October. The Yankees would probably be loathe to eat that much salary. That doesn’t mean his seat is getting warmer each day his lineup struggles to score runs.
Girardi does several things very well as manager. He uses the bullpen more effectively than nearly any manager in the game. In fact, he handles the entire staff with a golden touch that his Hall of Famer predecessor severely lacked. He also has shown through his heavy use of advanced statistics, a knack for choosing the correct match-up and late game substitutions. However, he also does many of his managerial duties very poorly. He can be a slave to the binder containing his advanced metrics, forgoing seemingly clear and basic baseball decisions in favor of bizarre tendencies. He has also had a lot of trouble in dealing with aging stars. Jorge Posada‘s final season was a disaster that was made worse by Girardi’s benching on national television twice.
However, the biggest complaint I have about Girardi at the current moment, is the fact that he does not seem to be getting his players ready to play everyday. Over the last year, the team has come out flat over and over and over again. The team has no fire or passion. Girardi is not inspiring his team to take the field and dominate on the course to a win. The are often listless and seemingly unconcerned with the outcome of the game. Now, I am not saying the Bombers are not playing hard or don’t want to win. It just seems like Girardi’s act has run its course. It seems like the team has lost the intensity and passion they once had. A change in command, might be just the thing to get some bounce back in the Yankees’ legs.