Girardi In, A-Rod out
Having played baseball yesterday I know how important every decision
off the field can be. See, when I say I “played” baseball yesterday I
mean I was in for one batter (two whole pitches) at first base and then
I rolled my ankle. It felt like something was slipping out of the joint
when I first did it and then the same sensation returned when I tried
to put weight on it again. I had to have the other team’s first base
coach and batter help me off the field. My day was done with only a
swollen ankle and a bruised ego to show for it.
I had played for well over a decade when I was younger and had never
suffered an injury that took me out of a game. That was because I took
care of myself off the field a heck of a lot better then I do now.
Sure, I run some and go to the gym but I pay scant attention to my
baseball shape. This tale of personal athletic woe is meant to
illustrate what is happening to one of baseball’s most storied
Joe Girardi, 2006 winner of the NL Manager of the Year award and ex-Yankee catcher, has been signed on as the new manager. This move was suggested by yours truly
as the best move the Yankees could have made - well, other then showing
some respect to Joe Torre and give him what he’s worth. See, Girardi is
a great guy and a great manager but only a couple of guys (Tony LaRussa
and Bobby Cox) are in Torre’s league. Mr. Torre is a legend because
he’s a proven winner and is almost universally respected by everyone.
Men want to play for him because he is the best.
Girardi may very well be a legendary coach in the making but I think
it is a little premature ordering him a monument to go into the Yankees
new ballpark. This was strike one against the Yankees.
Strike two was letting A-Rod go. No talk about legends is complete
without a mention of A-Rod because he is knocking at that door. He has
the numbers to warrant more then a handful of MVP awards (he played for
bad teams that prevented his due share of MVP awards) and is on a pace
to smash Bonds’ not-so-Kosher home run record. A-Rod is a Gold Glove
shortstop playing third base with an awesome arm and a still great
glove (who knows, he might win his first one this year at third).
The Yankees have lost the best player and manager in baseball all
within the span of a couple weeks. And there are others (including:
Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera) who may think twice about playing for
a team that may very well be headed to organizationally rolling an
ankle. Who really wants to be on the first Yankees’ team that doesn’t
make the playoffs after the vaunted Joe Torre era? Not many.
And I think that is a pivotal point. A lot of players were drawn to
the Yankees because they seemed to offer a chance to play in the
playoffs every year. Who thinks that the Yankees are going to be able
to lure in that talent any more? That talent could end up going to the
Red Sox who just won their second World Series in four years. Who
knows, maybe even A-Rod will end up batting in between Big Papi and
Manny. It’s not out of the realm of possibility because the Red Sox do
need a shortstop (Julio Lugo? Come on.) and A-Rod would fit.
Of course I’m hoping that A-Rod comes a lot further West.
Specifically to my little home team that plays in Los Angeles via
Anaheim. A-Rod coming to the Angels would make perfect sense from our
organization’s perspective. We’re going to offload some useless
contracts like Shea Hillenbrand’s and we probably aren’t going to
resign Bartolo Colon and his infrequently brilliant arm either. This
will free up some money to go after A-Rod but not that much when you
factor in raises that will be needed to keep our other players.
All-in-all, if we are to snag A-Rod we are going to need to up our
budget to around $150 million a year.
Is it worth it? I think so. It will give us a bat that would totally
transform our whole lineup. We haven’t had that guy in the middle of
our lineup who could instantly change a game with one swing. If we are
able to add A-Rod and a good DH to the mix we will be the team to beat
out West. Who knows, if we’re able to sign A-Rod and, oh, I don’t know,
Barry Bonds as DH (he would be a lot cheaper because most clubs won’t
come knocking on his door due to the whole steroids thing) we would
have a good chance at taking the whole thing next year.
Our young guys now have a year of seasoning in the Bigs and we have
a crop of good young starters in our rotation. Still, we have a long
way to go because portions of our roster are aging and have diminishing
numbers. Garret Anderson had a great second half but was that a fluke
or a harbinger of what is to come? Guerrero is getting older and
whenever he runs it looks painful. We’re also going to have to have a
catcher that is worthwhile. The two we trusted last year, Napoli and
Mathis, weren’t all that good. Sure, they’re young, but get real. Maybe
we could roll the dice with them if we get A-Rod or otherwise
drastically improve our offense’s slugging ability.
The offseason is still young and we’re a couple months away until
things start sorting themselves out. This particular season before the
season is going to be especially interesting since big things are
actually going to happen. Who’s going to get A-Rod? Where will Bonds
go? Which big name pitchers are going to stick around (Clemens and
Johnson), change teams (any of ‘em), or be healthy (Prior and Colon)?
It’s going to be exciting for us baseball wonks and worth the extra
effort needed to keep up with it all. BigT
_uacct = "UA-2507471-1";