The 2014 Yankees campaign has been a pretty painful one to watch, as injuries wrecked the starting rotation, the expensive lineup went silent, and Derek Jeter ended his 20-year career with a pretty disappointing year. Manager Joe Girardi had to carefully watch everything that had to do with the 2014 Yankees from February workouts in spring training up through the slow crawl to the finish line at the end of September, a painful amount of 2014 Yankees baseball to watch. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that he's not happy.
ESPN's Andrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews reported today that clubhouse sources spoke to them about a team meeting Girardi held prior to the home final. During the meeting, Girardi let loose his frustrations throughout the year and took the team to task:
According to clubhouse sources who were present for the critique, and backed up by interviews with more than a half-dozen players, most of whom spoke to ESPNNewYork.com off-the-record for fear of angering the manager, Girardi chided some players for being overweight, and others for not being "hungry" enough.
Making matters a little awkward was that the tirade took place right before the Yankees' players had planned to present Jeter with some presents prior to his Yankee Stadium finale. The sources told ESPN that Girardi took a break from criticizing them to let them make the presentation, then returned to it once it was over. Girardi confirmed that a meeting took place but he denied that part. Nonetheless, the takeaway was that Girardi was peeved by the Yankees this year and let them know.
Girardi wasn't exactly pleased to hear that the meeting had been leaked to the media, either. It's a little alarming that sources, including over six players, talked to reporters about it and seems to speak volumes about Girardi's problems with this team. Brett Gardner was one of the players who didn't speak to reporters about the meeting, and his response to queries about it was just about right:
"My take was that was a team meeting and I'm not going to talk to you about it," Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said.
Question the timing of Girardi's meeting in regards to the players' presentation to Jeter all you want (one source even complained that it should have happened at the end of spring training), but the fact that this story escaped the clubhouse reflects poorly on the players. It's hard to say that they didn't deserve a talking-to after a much-ballyhooed offense finished near the bottom of the league in runs scored. Training and conditioning should never be a problem with people who get paid millions of dollars to play baseball for a living. I don't blame the reporters for asking questions about the meeting, but the clubhouse sources shouldn't leak that out. Sigh.
Just another day in the lives of the 2014 Yankees. At least it's almost over.