There are reasons to quibble with Joe Girardi’s management of the Yankees. His insistence on following a binder of statistics instead of using his eyes is annoying. His tight-lipped press conferences are more combative than informative. His silly decision to change his number to 28 from 27, days after the Yankees won the World Series. But the fact remains; he is the perfect manager for this team.
It’s easy to forget exactly how difficult a job Joe Girardi inherited when he took over the helm of the Yankees. Not only did he have to replace a legend in the dugout, he also had to contend with the outsized expectations of a fan base that had grown to expect championships every year.
Girardi handled that transition seamlessly and unlike his predecessor, he had the confidence to rely on youth. Ask yourself, where would guys like David Robertson, Brett Gardner and Phil Hughes be right now if Joe Torre had been the manager? Girardi turned them into major contributors and has also shown an admirable ability to focus on the big picture in a town that gets too bogged down in day-to-day thinking.
Besides bringing back Girardi for what he has accomplished, it was a smart move because of what lies ahead. Derek Jeter should be back, but his role at the top of the lineup is in question. Jorge Posada needs to be nudged to more of a DH role. The “Core Four” will be phased out over the next few seasons and there is no better person to handle that than Girardi since he played, coached and managed all of them.
Fans on sports radio this week seemed less than thrilled about Girardi’s return. Their angst ignores one vital fact- the guy can win. Girardi has won a championship and he put the Yankees two wins away from playing for another one this season. Having him around for the next three years is good news for the Yankees and their fans.