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Thinking About Joe Girardi

We've been talking about potential replacements for Torre, and it seems that Girardi and Mattingly are in a dead heat.
 I emailed Craig over at our sister-site Fishstripes to ask him some questions about his impressions of JG.

Here's what he had to say:

1) How well do you think Girardi handles his rotation? His relievers?

Girardi tends to let the starters go long in the game and workout out of their own jams. He is not quick with the hook. At the start of season he will use all of his relievers but eventually will settle on the ones he trust the most and then he will stick them. The others are used in mop up duty in blowouts. This strategy was a poor one for the Marlins who had so many rookie starters and relievers. They ended extending their innings to levels that they had never pitched before and it may have been a contributer to the Marlins pitching injuries this season. For a veteran team like the Yankees, it may work well.

2) What are your impressions of Girardi as a talent evaluator? With the Yankees' resources, JG could have nearly any player he wants- what sort of players does he favor (fast, good defense, hit for power, hit for average, bat control)?

With the Marlins he had to play what was given to him, so flexibility with the player talent wasn't an option. The Marlins have more power than speed, so he had to go with that. I really don't know how he would put a team together if given a choice.
But I do know this: he plays small ball, almost to a fault. He bunted with everyone in the lineup with the exception of Cabrera. My guess is that he would like more speed in the lineup than the Marlins offered. He made very few late inning defensive changes.

3) Did you agree with the way JG put together his lineup?

Seeing how initially no one knew what to expect from the hitters and the lineup was as much a guess as anything. Once the lineup was set it pretty much remained that way for the rest of the season. He is believer in hitting the players where he feels they are comfortable in the lineup. And very few changes are made after that. You should be able to fill out your scorecard on the ride to the park.

4) Much has been made about JG's clash with the Marlins' brass, and we know all about the meddling Steinbrenner gene (apparently it's on the y chromosome). Do you think that was a one time thing that spun out of control, or could you see it happening again in NY?

It could happen again depending on how the Yankees are structured. Girardi wanted autonomy in the player decisions. Where he ran into to trouble in Florida was he dismissive of the GM office's input and towards the middle of the season he more or less quit talking to them. The Marlins are structured to be a GM centric team, not manager centric when it comes to personnel decisions, so him wanting to run everything himself didn't go over very well. If the Yankees are manager centric team, he will do okay. If not, there could be some clashes. Of course, it always possible the year in Florida was a learning experience for him about dealing with the front office. Since he was a part of the Yankee organization, surely some meddling from the Steinbrenners wouldn't be much of a surprise to him and would be expected.

5) Is there anything else we should know as we move forward with the managerial search?

Girardi is an authoritarian and has strict team rules or at least he did while in Florida. This wasn't problem for the Marlins rookies who were just happy to be there. However, it did rub some of the veterans the wrong way. But if the players buy into his system, they do seem to like him as a manager. At this point in his career he isn't very good with on the field strategy but that could change as he gets more experience. Also managing in the AL will help since there aren't as many double switches and the league uses the DH.