LADY AT THE BAT: Joe Girardi: New Manager of The Yankees?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Joe Girardi: New Manager of The Yankees?

The Yankees stumble into Interleague Play this weekend with an 18-21 record, 9.5 games behind division-leading Boston. Many people, including the players themselves, hope that playing a big series with the Mets can be a jump start to turning their season around. Maybe it will. Then people can stop talking about Joe Girardi taking over as manager.

Girardi, last year's NL Manager of The Year, is usually the first name that surfaces when talk heats up about firing Joe Torre. He's familiar with the Yankees, having played there for several years and having served as bench coach under Joe Torre for one season. Currently, he's a part-time color-commentator on YES Network Yankee game broadcasts. Rumor has it that Girardi turned down several managerial jobs for this season because he wanted to wait for the Yankee job to open up.

This is all well and good, but I'm almost willing to bet that Joe Girardi will not be hired as interim manager if Joe Torre gets fired this year (and he's not, for reasons I'll explain below). Though he did serve as Yankee bench coach, Girardi is still only a few years removed from being a player.* There are still several guys on the Yankee team who were his teammates less than five years ago, and with whom he is still friends with. In any case, fired managers are usually replaced with someone with a temperament the opposite of their own. Girardi is too much like Torre. I'd put my money on Third Base Coach Larry Bowa.

The other factor in this is the 44 year-old hall-of-famer who's starting for the Class-A Tampa Yankees tonight. Roger Clemens has gone on record, saying he would not have signed with the Yankees if Joe Torre had been replaced. After all that the Yankees did to get Clemens back, including "lowering their standards" to give him the family clause, I can't see how they'd turn around now and replace Joe Torre with anyone. So, it looks like, at least for the rest of this season, Girardi will be staying in the YES booth and Torre will remain on the bench. Way to go, Rocket.

The Lady
*Edit: Though he did serve as bench coach, Girardi is still only a few years removed from being a Yankee player.