Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy for Girardi, but his contract can wait

Joe Girardi should be congratulated on guiding the Yanks to their first AL East title since 2006. He got off to a good start this year in reshaping the team--the Jeter/Damon line-up switch was downright brilliant. But it's too early to even talk about rewarding him with a contract extension. He presided over the first playoff-less Yankee season in 15 years in 2008.

While the team has made the playoffs this year, he still needs to prove he can make the right managerial moves in the key situations. I want to see him pull off a couple of moves that directly lead to postseason wins. For example, if there are runners are first and second with no outs and Jeter coming up, will he ask Jeter to bunt. (PS, Michael Kay, we know you don't like the notion of Jeter bunting, but he's going to keep doing it so let's move on, please!). Will be bring Mo into the game with two runners on and one out in the 8th inning or will he trust Hughes to get out of the inning, given how amazing the kid has pitched as Mo's set-up guy? Andy why should the manager be rewarded with a contract extension ahead of time when their team's Hall of Fame closer and gritty clubhouse/leader had to wait until the offseason?

Plus, Girardi has been slow to get in his players' faces even they deserve it or need in the most. By his own admission, he didn't jump on Robby Cano last year when his lackadaisical play embarrassed the team. And he only gave Joba the firm talking to he needed after weeks of watching Joba scuffle. I've always liked Girardi ever since his playing days with the Yanks, especially how he went out of his way to groom Posada even though he was clearly going to lose his job. I want to see him succeed, but let's table the contract extension talk until after the playoffs (and longer if the Yanks don't win it all).

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