Joe Girardi was introduced as the new Yankee manager yesterday while reports have it that Joe Torre has agreed to a three-year deal with the Dodgers. Presumably, Torre would bring Don Mattingly and Larry Bowa to L.A. with him. Lee Maz might jern them too.
Behind the pay wall at ESPN, Keith Law addresses Girardi's handling of young arms:
By turning the club over to a much younger manager in Joe Girardi and giving him a three-year deal, the Yankees have created a situation in which the manager's incentives more closely reflect the long-term goals of the club, which revolve around young pitchers.
If Joe Torre had agreed to stay, would he have been willing to balance the long-term needs of the club against his own desire to win in the current year? The Yankees apparently didn't think so. There's a bit of concern when you're trying to rebuild your roster around young players and your manager has a one- or two-year window until retirement.
Girardi didn't want to fill his 2006 Florida Marlins rotation with rookies but was overruled by the front office, a move that worked to his benefit. He coaxed excellent years out of Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez, a good (and well-behaved) year out of Scott Olsen, and a little value out of Ricky Nolasco before he wore down in the second half.
In 2007, however, Johnson, Sanchez, and Nolasco combined for 37 innings because of arm injuries. Although that's not enough to label Girardi as an abuser of young arms, it's not an indicator in his favor, either.
I got the impression this year that Girardi, after leaving the Marlins, simply decided that when he managed again, he would manage the Yankees. He could have managed some other team in 2007, but instead he took a part-time job as a TV broadcaster for the Yankees. This accomplished two things. It kept him mostly unemployed, and it exposed his acumen to anybody in New York -- or Tampa, Fla. -- who happened to be watching the Yankees on TV.
While all this talk about the three managerial candidates was going on, I kept asking myself, "How could they even think of hiring anybody but Girardi? He's clearly the best man for the job. He's the smartest, he's the youngest, and he's been the most successful."
My guess is that general manager Brian Cashman agreed with me all the while, and that the entire "process" was mostly for show.
Depending on what the Yankees do this winter, next season might be sort of a down year for the organization as they try to sort out their young pitchers. But if the Steinbrothers are patient with Girardi, I believe he'll be the franchise's greatest manager since Casey Stengel.