Thursday, October 26, 2017

Yankees Right To Move On From Girardi

Yankees batting practice. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees announced on Thursday morning that their manager for the past 10 years, Joe Girardi, will not return to the team in the 2018 season.

The announcement was made by Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Cashman.

"I want to thank Joe for his 10 years of hard work and service to this organization,” said Cashman. “Everything this organization does is done with careful and thorough consideration, and we’ve decided to pursue alternatives for the managerial position.”

“As Hal Steinbrenner and I mentioned to Joe directly this week, he has been a tremendous Yankee on the field and away from it, as a player, coach and manager. He has a tireless work ethic, and put his heart into every game he managed over the last decade. He should take great pride in our accomplishments during his tenure, and I wish Joe and his family nothing but success and happiness in the future."

Girardi, 53, took over in 2008 and he guided the Yankees to a 910-710 (.562) record over 10 seasons as manager.

His 910 regular season wins rank sixth in franchise history, trailing only Joe McCarthy (1,460), Joe Torre (1,173), Casey Stengel (1,149), Miller Huggins (1,067) and Ralph Houk (944).

The high point of Girardi's tenure was the World Series championship in 2009, led by a big playoff from Alex Rodriguez, and it was CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira's first seasons in pinstripes.

The Yankees reached the postseason six times with Girardi at the helm, including three American League East titles, in 2009, 2011, and 2012, and three Wild Card berths, 2010, 2015, and 2017.

The Yankees made the American League Championship series four times under Girardi, in 2009, when they beat the Los Angeles Angels in six games; in 2010, when the Texas Rangers knocked off the defending champion Yankees in six games; 2012, when they were swept by the Detroit Tigers, and this season, when the Houston Astros beat them in seven games.

The Yankees lost in the Division Series once, in 2011, to Detroit in five games. They lost the one-game Wild Card Playoff to Houston in 2015.

Girardi also won three championships with the Yankees as a player (1996, 98-99), and is one of three individuals in franchise history (along with Ralph Houk and Billy Martin) to play for and manage a Yankees World Championship team.

The Yankees made the right move in letting Girardi go now, as they need a fresh voice for a new era, led by Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Luis Severino.

This move is really a year late, as he should have been let go after last season when the team closed the book on the veteran group that had formed by letting A-Rod "retire," Teixeira retired, and they traded Brian McCann in the offseason.

The message was clear: this is a new era in Yankee baseball, so why keep a manager so identified with the last 20 years as a player and manager?

2017 is actually a better time to leave for Girardi, as this is as close as anyone can come to going out on top.

Girardi took a Yankee team that, for once, had no expectations entering the season and took them within one win of the World Series.

If he stuck around for 2018, with the massive expectations they will have, and they pull a flop like the Mets did this year, he is leaving in shame.

Girardi is certainly leaving on better terms than Joe Torre, who went through a two-week saga in 2007 as the Yankees decided whether to keep him or not.

That was a shame because Torre won four World Championships, and took them to the Series six times, in his twelve years at the helm.

Girardi only one that one World Series in 2009 and they never made it back, despite running a payroll north of $200 million per season. That fact can not be discounted in assessing the success of his tenure.

It is also fitting that Girardi will not serve as Yankees manager longer than Torre, who was forced out probably a few years before he should have been. Torre should have had the job as long as he wanted it.

Girardi tipped off that he would accept his fate either way after the Yankees lost Game 7 in Houston Saturday night, as he mentioned the ten years he has managed here and talking to his family.

Being the Yankees manager can be a lot of fun, but it also can be draining. He certainly felt the highs and lows in these playoffs.

Girardi will definitely get another job, with one obvious candidate being the Washington Nationals, who need a guy like him to push them over the top.

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