Many think New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi will be on the hot seat if his team does not make the playoffs in 2016, as they haven’t experienced a playoff series since 2012.
Some fans think he’s too much by the book and think he has no idea what he’s doing, and some see Girardi as one of the best managers in the sport who has done an incredible job in recent years given the circumstances. Regardless of which side of the debate you’re on, Girardi is one of the best managers in the game of baseball.
He had the tall task of taking over for Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre in 2008, who certainly left Girardi with big shoes to fill. Torre won four World Series in the 11 years he was in New York and brought them to the playoffs every year.
In the 7 years that Girardi has been the skipper, the Yankees have won a World Series, had a winning season in every season, but has missed the postseason in three out of his eight years as manager. His overall record is 735-561 with a .567 winning percentage.
In a ranking by the Boston Globe, Girardi was named the fifth best manager in the MLB and that’s no mistake. Many seem to point a finger at his tendency to overuse pitchers (specifically Dellin Betances last year), but his 2015 season with the Yankees consisted of some of the best work he’s done considering many thought the Yankees would be a fourth place team. They ended up making the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
“I think he is the gold standard of the modern-day manager. He has an Ivy League mind with a Navy SEAL attitude.’’ –Alex Rodriguez
Girardi had a great 2015, yes, but there’s more to being a good manager then the results on the field. In the biggest media market in sports, he says all the right things to the New York media and never steps out of line. He puts his players first, and is willing to put up a fight for the one’s that play for him.
For example, in 2013 Alex Rodriguez was appealing his suspension for PED use. Many opposing pitchers, like Ryan Dempster were not fans of the appeal and took it upon themselves to bring “justice.” Dempster threw three pitches far inside on A-Rod before plunking him on the fourth, and Girardi did not hesitate to defend his third baseman, and show frustration that Dempster was not tossed.
Even when A-Rod returned in 2015 from a year away from the game, Girardi handled it like a magician as there were no incidents in what could have been a sticky situation.
Let’s not forget that No. 28 has dealt with numerous pitching injuries that would have been devastating for other clubs, but his Yankees’ have never had a losing season.
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Say what you want about Girardi, but put yourself in a ballplayers shoes (or cleats). Wouldn’t you want a manager who’s willing to put up a fight in order to defend you not only against an opposing player or umpire, but to the media? Joe Girardi goes beyond a “players manager.”
Some think that Girardi could be in for a rude awakening if the Yankees falter this season, but the Yankees organization think very highly of Girardi and wouldn’t be inclined to fire him, even if the team had a losing season.
The Yankees are set to contend yet again in 2016, with Girardi at the helm, after making the postseason as a Wild Card a year ago. His team spent a solid chunk of the 2015 season in first place, so it’s not insane to think a much improved ball club with one of MLB’s best manager’s will enjoy time atop the American League East.