And it doesn't matter because the Yankees still lack starting pitching.
In 3 seasons at the helm, Joe Girardi has proven himself to have strengths and weaknesses. This is true of any manager; this is not a 'Fire Joe Girardi' post (yet).
When it comes to game management, I believe Girardi's great strength is his bullpen workload management- we learned last fall that Girardi receives a daily, color-coded report on each of his relievers' recent workload. This means that if Joba Chamberlain has pitched 3 of the last 4 games, you can bet against seeing him on the mound, no matter how pressure packed the game is. I think this is great, especially since it is such a marked contrast to our previous manager, who seemed to pick up the phone for Scott Proctor in the 7th inning even on off days. For Girardi, it's not about the role, it's about staying rested and effective.
But this is Girardi's weakness, too. If he sees too many red stars on his card before the game, it means we're due for Sergio Mitre sighting- and if the starter is out after 5 inning, it means a long Mitre experience. It's this devotion to his system that leaves you feeling like he punts on a lot of games. Toward the end of last season, I thought there were 4 or 5 winnable games that our manager simply did not try to win- then I learned about his rest program, and it made more sense (though I still disagreed with the approach).
The Yankees already had a great bullpen. If the Soriano signing is going to mean anything, Girardi has to change his strategy, especially since we expect 2 of the 5 rotation spots to be manned by average to fringe starters. There are going to be as many or more innings for the bullpen to pitch this season as in any season Joe G has spent at the helm.
Either the card system has to be relaxed to allow the best relievers to pitch multiple innings (it drives me nuts how often David Robertson seemed to be dealing but only faced 2 batters), or Joe G needs to carry an extra reliever, and not a long man- last year's pen plus Soriano.
CC, AJ, Phil, Nova, Mitre- 5
Posada, Montero, Martin, Tex, Cano, Jeter, Arod, Pena, Swisher, Granderson, Gardner, Greg Golson- 12
Mo, Soriano, Joba, D-Rob, Feliciano, Logan, Hector Noesi-8
It might be crowded in the pen, but this bullpen could pitch 3+ innings a game 3 out of 5 games