Monday, March 5, 2012

Joe Girardi trying to keep the mystery alive

Joe Girardi must be really bored this spring because he seems to be going out of his way to try to make things interesting. It’s not working, but that’s probably a good thing.

The New York Yankees’ roster is essentially set so that will make for just a long month of players getting ready for the regular season. Sure, Girardi has some decisions to make, but these are the kind of decisions that only draw a lot of attention because it’s the Yankees. How many people care who is the fifth starter or the back-up catcher on the other big-league teams?

The Yankees manager is doing his best to keep the intrigue alive. He first said that no one but CC Sabathia was guaranteed a spot in the starting rotation. While that may technically be true as none of the other starters has CC’s pedigree or paycheck, the reality is that there is only one spot truly open. After a surprisingly strong rookie season, the Yankees are going to give Ivan Nova every opportunity to keep his job. The Yankees did not give up their top prospect to put Michael Pineda in their bullpen. And they did not loosen up the purse strings for Hideki Kuroda to not be a part of their rotation (Girardi quickly backed off and said Kuroda has a starting job).

Girardi also publicly contradicted General Manager Brian Cashman, who conceded that the Yankees did not play as hard as they would have in late September 2011 if they were still competing for a postseason spot. This is classic Girardi, not the part about going against his boss, but his sensitivity about anything even perceived as criticism. The Yankees manager will argue that he did everything he could to win those last games against the Tampa Bay Rays, even though he clearly didn’t. If he cared about winning those games, we would have seen Mariano Rivera closing things out and the Rays would have been going home instead of the Boston Red Sox. I’m not knocking Girardi, even though he would consider such comments criticism. Of course, he did the right thing in keeping Mo out of a game that didn’t mean anything to the Yankees. If only Girardi would admit it instead of being so stubborn.

But none of Girardi’s comments are going to shake things up in Yankees’ camp. A quiet spring is just what the Yankees need to get ready for baseball, even if it makes for a boring four more weeks in Florida. 

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