Yankees Joe Girardi and the hobgoblins of little minds

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

Down, but Not Out

I wrote a perhaps overly-caustic commentary about Mitchell a few weeks ago. Some readers disagreed with my language, but not the point that Mitchell was under performing. Bryan would have been given many more opportunities if this were April or May.

But not in August. Two days after the article, Joe had Mitchell sent down. He was recently recalled but will find a similarly short leash unless he performs. And that goes for all the players, when you play for Joe Girardi in the late season.

However, Joe will also consistently handle players differently based on their talent level. Ever pragmatic, Girardi understands that it takes talent to win tournaments. While the team might be cavalier with a Bryan Mitchell, they will much more round-headed with a player such as Aroldis Chapman.

That man has had the definition of an up and down season. Through it all, however, Girardi stuck with him. And that’s because Joe didn’t know if Chapman would be injured for the year or traded; he didn’t know if the team was going to be playoff bound, or in rebuilding mode.

But he knew that Chapman at his best can be a difference maker in the playoffs.

A Righteous Brother

And so he only demoted him when Chapman himself came to the realization that he was not, um, himself. We all saw Chappie’s uncharacteristic emotional reactions on the mound as he gave up big hits, and big games.

Aroldis, now, has got that loving feeling again and looks very comfy in the closers role. His talent level at his position is still tops in the game, far greater than Mitchell’s at his.

Now, would Chapman be better for the Yankees, on the mound and in the clubhouse, playing for a manager he trusts, or one that demoted him in early June or questioned him in the press? Is it possible that there is a small part of Chapman that will fight more for the team, and manager, who fought for him?

Don’t bother answering: Joe Girardi already knows.