Following the lead of my fellow Toaster, Jon Weisman, who asked Alex and myself for our thoughts on Joe Torre's managing, I asked Jacob Luft, my editor at SI.com and a longtime Bronx Banter supporter who just so happens to be a Marlins fan, for his take on Joe Girardi's tendencies as a manager. Here are the highlights of our resulting conversation:
Jacob Luft: He likes to bunt . . . a lot. He used to sac bunt with Hanley [Ramirez] at first and Dan Uggla up to bat in the first inning. I used to throw a shoe across the room. Hanley at first, who can fly, gets bunted over by a guy with 30 home run power . . . in the first inning! Bronx Banter: Does he even bunt with middle-of-the order guys? JL: Yes, with everybody. But the guy is good with pitchers; exceptional with pitching. BB: Really? How so? JL: Handling a staff, handling a bullpen . . . excellent. He knows which relievers to go to, gets pitchers in the right mindset. BB: Is he creative with his use of relievers or does he assign roles to guys? JL: Everybody assigns roles these days, but i never had a problem with when he brought guys in. He's also a hard ass, disciplinarian, real drill-sergeant type. BB: I wonder how much that'll change given a team of more established players. JL: It's a weird fit, but possibly a very good one. The [Yankees] do have young pitchers that will benefit a great deal, but he's a take-no-shit kind of guy, which really worked with the '06 Marlins. Fredi Gonzalez came in [in 2007] and it was like a zoo. The other thing with Girardi is he's got a temper. The guy told his owner to fuck off. I ripped him when he left, but after seeing Fredi let the kids go nuts in the clubhouse this year, I miss the guy. Though without all the bunts our offense went ballistic this year. Girardi is also very smart, he's a Northwestern grad, so it's possible he'll learn to change his in-game offensive strategy. BB: His entire staff is college guys save Tony Peña, which shows a preference for smart coaches. Any opinion of Bobby Meacham as a third-base coach? JL: Uh, not really. BB: That's a good thing, you generally only have an opinion of the third-base coach if he keeps sending runners into outs. JL: True.
In other news, the general manager meetings kick off in Orlando, today, so that rumor mill should be a-buzzin'. For the Yankees, they'll be focusing on inking Posada and Rivera and finding a third baseman. Don't be surprised if Brian Cashman turns up a reliever or two in the process. Meanwhile, the Yankees will know by the end of the day on Wednesday if Andy Pettitte is coming back.