Beyond Joe

Whether or not he deserves all the blame for the debacle that is the Yankees 2007 season, I think it’s clear that there’s a good chance Joe Torre isn’t coming back next year. Barring a miraculous turn-around, this Yankees team is going to go down in history as the most expensive .500 (if that!) team in the history of the sport. But who will and who should replace him? Here’s a run-down of possible successors:

Joe Girardi
Pros: The former Yanks catcher and current YES broadcaster is probably the leading candidate for the job. He was the National League Manager of the Year in his first and only season on the bench. During his playing days, he was generally regarded as an intelligent student of the game who kept detailed scouting reports. He knows the organization, has experience with the New York media and is well-respected by the players in the clubhouse.

Cons: Why did he get fired after one year of excellent managing? There are rumors that Girardi is stubborn and controlling and will not listen to higher-ups. Florida management was reportedly upset with the way he used Josh Johnson in the days leading up to a serious arm injury.

Don Mattingly
Pros: He is beloved in New York by fans, the media and his players. Like Girardi, he knows the organization and what he’s getting himself into.

Cons: This is his first year as Yankees bench coach. Joe Torre isn’t making very many smart  decisions. Ergo, Mattingly is either giving him bad advice or is not getting in the way of Torre being Torre.

Ozzie Guillen
Pros: There’s a chance that Ozzie will be available if the ChiSox continue their free-fall. Guillen is the antithesis of Torre, and that might exactly be what the sleeping Bombers need. During the 2005 season, Ozzie managed his pitching staff expertly, using his best pitchers in high-leverage situations, taking chances. He is blustery and candid. A great quote. The New York media would undoubtedly take to him. Bonus: He has a healthy dislike for Jay Mariotti. 

Cons: Well, he says a lot of stupid offensive sh*t, so his act might get old quick in New York. He also has a way of alienating players, even good ones (eg. Magglio Ordonez). If things are going badly, he might do something rash like bat his best hitter 8th or something like that. One thing he’s probably not very likely to do well is to put out a fire.

Bobby Valentine
Pros: Reminds me of a cross between Tony Danza and Alan Thicke, who used to star in back-to-back shows on ABC. His Mets teams were very successful for the most part. He would likely shake things up a bit.

Cons: He is an egomaniac who is constantly micromanaging. He has a fetish for unknown crappy players like Timo Perez and Benny Agbayani. Bobby V is a divisive figure.

Of these four I choose Ozzie Guillen. It’s time for a huge change and Ozzie for two years will do wonders.  The thing I am most concerned about regarding a manager is how he’ll manage his pitchers. Joe Girardi doesn’t inspire confidence in me after his performance last year with Johnson and Willis. Guillen, for whatever reason, has been good with his pitchers. But beyond that, Guillen will waken the fire dormant within our souls. He will say crazy stuff, he’ll scapegoat A-Rod (please let him still be on the roster) at times, he’ll laugh at Moose’s demands for a personal catcher, and he’ll last two years in New York. But we need those two years to change the feeling in the air.

30 comments… add one
  • How about turning Jeter into a player-coach?

    jp-sf June 28, 2007, 5:42 pm
  • Not sure he has the personality range:)

    Regular_Brad. June 28, 2007, 5:48 pm
  • Why did he get fired after one year in Florida? Heres why.
    On Sunday, Aug. 6, Loria and Girardi had words after two borderline pitches were called balls in the midst of a six-run Dodgers rally. Loria, who was sitting near the team dugout, yelled at the umpire, and then got into a discussion with Girardi when Girardi asked him to stop.
    “Then Girardi said, ‘Just stay out of it. I’m the manager.'” a source told the Palm Beach Post. “And Loria said, ‘Well, I’m the owner,’ or words to that effect. ‘If you don’t like what I’m telling you, you’re fired.'” Another source told the newspaper Girardi’s reply to Loria included profanities, which irked the owner even more.

    TJ June 28, 2007, 5:53 pm
  • Girardi is a true “baseball guy” but his small-ball strategies cost runs and are obsolete. Pass.
    Guillen is a joke. All the negatives that come with Girardi’s strategic weaknesses plus disgraceful comportment. I think we’ve learned from Joe that you don’t need to be a total jerk to be a success. I’m sure there are ways to change course without throwing those lessons out the window.

    YF June 28, 2007, 6:15 pm
  • Not that my opinon carries any weight, but to me, it would be weird for Girardi to manage equals. I mean, Florida was young and ready to be managed. The Yankees are players he actually played with. Players that he has spent time as friends with, and I think there has to be a very clear line between friends and boss; I really don’t think Girardi has it in him to tell Mariano, Jeter, A-Rod, or Posada how to go about their business, or get in their face if need be. Girardi would make a great manager for players who need direction and support, but not for a group of his very close friends. The line is too blurry.
    Again, it’s the old power trip between friends when one moves on and the other isn’t. It causes resentment over discipline, power, and delegation of opinion and power.
    Just my thoughts on the issue. Go get Bobby V. and let him do his thing. Too many problems the other options.

    Regular_Brad. June 28, 2007, 6:27 pm
  • sorry, repeated “power” there, but I think you guys got it!

    Regular_Brad. June 28, 2007, 6:28 pm
  • in response to what Brad said, were player managers ever considered good managers? I don’t know anything about this, and don’t have a memory of a player managing a team while I was a fan.

    Nick-YF June 28, 2007, 6:33 pm
  • How much would it cost to re-animate Joe McCarthy?

    SF June 28, 2007, 6:33 pm
  • joe torre actually began his managerial career as a player-manager for the mets in 1977. that didn’t work so well–but john mcgraw couldn’t have made that squad a winner.

    YF June 28, 2007, 6:51 pm
  • Nobody loves Donnie Baseball more then me, but this answer is crystal clear, Joe Girardi. Simple as that.

    John - YF (Trisk) June 28, 2007, 7:11 pm
  • I made this point in the other thread, but:
    Scott Olsen, Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez: ALL overworked in Florida last season. This season: Sanchez/Johnson: Major DL time, surgery for Sanchez, and Olsen hasn’t been nearly as effective.
    If it was Dusty Baker’s fault in Chicago, then those were Girardi’s fault in Florida. That should give you pause about Joe, OR make us all re-think the whole Dusty Baker is a terrible manager thing. One or the other.

    QuoSF June 28, 2007, 7:28 pm
  • Quo: Sanchez had a history of arm troubles, I find it hard to pin that on Girardi. Previously he had hurt his elbow, as opposed to his shoulder, but arm parts are all connected, right? For the record:
    It’s the second major surgery for Sanchez, 23, in five seasons. He missed all of 2003 in the Red Sox minor league system after undergoing nerve-transposition surgery on his throwing elbow.

    SF June 28, 2007, 8:09 pm
  • but this answer is crystal clear
    Yes, it is. A Jose and Ozzie Canseco tandem!

    SF June 28, 2007, 8:11 pm
  • Fine, SF, but what about Johnson and Olsen? Especially Johnson, who came back out after what, a 2-3 hour rain delay in one game?
    I’m just saying, if YFs want someone who’ll be careful with their young pitching (Hughes/Chamberlain), then Girardi probably isn’t the first guy to look at.

    QuoSF June 28, 2007, 8:29 pm
  • Are any YFs secretly afraid that Donnie Baseball is cursed and they won’t win another WS until the year after he leaves the organization? That would seem reason enough not to want him managing. Rationally having a hitting coach as a manager is usually as successful as using a pitching coach (where have you gone Joe Kerrigan).

    Honkball June 28, 2007, 9:57 pm
  • “Of these four I choose Ozzie Guillen.”
    Not counting a solution to the Iraq clusterf*ck and Franka Potente on my lap, I can think of few things I’d like better than Ozzie Guillen managing the Yankees. June 29, 2007, 2:30 am
  • Joe Torre’s strength, in my opinion, was never his game managing. It was his serving as a buffer against King George and his handling of personalities. That, in the late 90s, was what the team needed most and it served them well. I still think they need that, but none of the guys mentioned will provide that… Bobby V and Ozzie because of their personalities, Joe b/c of his tiff with Loria, and Donnie because he just doesn’t have the experience. For a long time I was pulling for Willie Randolph or Joe Girardi to get the job. I have to think that Joe learned something from his stint in Florida and would be the best fit for NY. His handling of the media is worrisome, but the Yankees seem to seldom use the kind of young pitchers that he may or may not have damaged last season. I love the stability of the Torre years and I think turbulent times are ahead.

    Chris June 29, 2007, 8:55 am
  • I’m totally with Zulu on this one. I also choose Ozzie Guillen for the Yanks.

    Paul SF June 29, 2007, 10:37 am
  • Guillen is underrated.

    Nick-YF June 29, 2007, 10:39 am
  • If so, he might be the most highly publicized underrated World Series-winning manager I’ve ever seen. ;-)

    Paul SF June 29, 2007, 11:01 am
  • I am with YF on Guillen. He’s a sideshow that makes himself the center ring show. On the other hand, if he’d be bad for NY, then maybe I am not with YF.
    There are also managers who aren’t very good at their job who have had successes, whether getting to ALCS’, or World Series’, or even winning World Series’. Bob Brenly in particular was a World Series winning manager who, in my opinion, did everything he could to sabotage his team’s chances yet still ended up with a ring. Guillen’s ring is not evidence that he would be any good in New York.

    SF June 29, 2007, 11:58 am
  • But Guillen’s use of his pitching staff was excellent in 2005. Frankly, it was reminiscent of Torre’s use of his pitching back when Zimmer was the bench coach and Torre wasn’t afraid to put his best pitchers (as opposed to Proctor or Viscaino) in high leverage situations. During that play-off run, Guillen was excellent.
    His personality is grating and I get that he is less dignified than a Torre, but I also don’t care much about gracefulness from my managers. it’s about winning ultimately. Earl Weaver (and by no means am I comparing him to Ozzie Guillen in terms of strategy-making) was a hothead who often was less than dignified. He brought a lot of attention to himself, but he was good.

    Nick-YF June 29, 2007, 12:12 pm
  • oh,back to the point: I don’t think Guillen and Brenly are comparable cases. I agree that Brenly did his best to limit the DBacks’ chances. But Guillen, at least in ’05, helped his team.

    Nick-YF June 29, 2007, 12:14 pm
  • I don’t know why we’re even discussing this. It’s going to be Don Mattingly, and if it’s not, the Yankees may lose him forever out of spite.

    Anonymous June 29, 2007, 3:06 pm
  • Nick – I just read somewhere that Guillen’s use of his pitching in 2005 might be why everyone’s injured (or pitching very poorly) the last two years. I guess he still won that ring, so it depends on what you’re aiming for..

    Lar June 29, 2007, 3:30 pm
  • anon was me. Sorry.

    Regular_Brad. June 29, 2007, 3:32 pm
  • did anyone else google Franka Potente?
    Yeah, um, me neither…

    jp-sf June 29, 2007, 3:34 pm
  • I googled Franka Potente. I did not regret it.
    One could say that Guillen knows how to manage pitchers. Another person could say that he enjoyed career years from MANY pitchers all at once.
    El Duque (5.24) was the only regular starter with an ERA over 3.87, and he was eventually replaced with Brandon McCarthy (4.17 as a starter). The highest strikeout rate among starters was Contreras with under 7 per 9. Fluky BABIP: Contreras (.267), Garland (.268), Cliff Pollitte (.208! He last pitched this season for the Indians at the AA-level), Neal Cotts (.248), Dustin Hermanson (.246), McCarthy (.258).
    Of their 7 relievers who saw at least 25 innings of work, only one, Shingo Takatsu (5.97), had an ERA over 3.77. They released him in August, and thus was not a part of their bullpen down the stretch or in the playoffs.

    QuoSF June 29, 2007, 4:07 pm
  • Heh – always glad to see new members of the Franka Fan Club (I’ve had a thing for her since Run Lola Run).
    But Quo nails it – Guillen’s reputation is almost entirely built on the fact that his pitchers all pitched out of their minds for one year, though the media chalked it all up to “smartball”. June 29, 2007, 4:52 pm
  • I’ve never read or heard that Guillen’s use of his pitchers led to arm injuries among his pitchers. I thought they had one of the more durable staffs the last three years.
    In any case, Guillen’s work with his pitchers, specifically his embrace of the little-known rookie Bobby Jenks did wonders for their world series run in 2005. During the post-season, Guillen consistently gave Jenks 2-inning saves, stretched out his starters (his best pitchers) to achieve the ultimate goal. It was good managing. Whether he can repeat it with another pitching staff is a good question, but one thing he does have going for him is a certain fearlessness. Can you imagine Torre risking outting in a young unproven reliever (Britton or Ewdwar Ramirez) in big situations? How many managers do that?

    Nick-YF June 29, 2007, 6:03 pm

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