Monday, November 9, 2009

Now's the time to talk Girardi extension

Now that the World Series is over, the first thing on Brian Cashman's to do list should be to start talking to Joe Girardi about a possible extension. News that Joe Torre and the Dodgers are talking about a contract extension should bode well for Girardi's future with the Yanks. If Torre can get a contract extension despite not getting LA past five games with the Phillies for two consecutive years, than Girardi should get another two years on top of his 2010 contract for managing the Yanks to the World Series and stepping out of Torre's shadow.

I've been critical of Girardi during the playoffs. I didn't like the way he overmanaged his bullpen and thought it made the American League Championship Series a lot tougher to win than it should have been for his team. But he was absolutely right to have faith in Damaso Marte, who got key outs in the World Series. And he adjusted well to the ongoing struggles of Phil Hughes in the World Series, putting him on a short leash (that he hung himself with) before he gave way to Joba Chamberlain.

He made a lot of smart decisions in the regular season too, namely extra days off for his starting rotation that allowed CC Sabathia and company to pitch on short rest (although I think the constant juggling did hurt Joba more than it helped). Most importantly, he showed he could adapt his management style after struggling during his first year, engaging more with the media despite constant criticism and allowing the new guys to be who they are and not demanding they fit into the Yanks rigid corporate structure.

Girardi is going to have some tough chores in 2010. He must figure out a way to keep an aging team fresh. He must decide on and groom a proper set-up man for Mariano Rivera so Mo doesn't have to pitch 2 innings at a time in key games. But he's definitely earned the right to make those decisions, even if we all second guess him on them.

Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the photo.

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