The Yankees announced that they have reached an agreement to bring back Joe Girardi as manager. The deal is said to be worth $16 million over the next four seasons, with incentive bonuses built into the contract.
There had been speculation that Girardi may pursue other opportunities, such as the vacancy with his hometown Chicago Cubs. The Yankees had Girardi under contract through October 31st and stated they intended to move quickly on retaining their manager. I was a bit surprised that Joe didn’t hold out to at least hear offers from the Cubs, and maybe the Nationals, to create a bit of contract leverage for his services. Nonetheless, the Yankees clearly wanted Girardi to return and they wasted no time in resolving this issue.
Girardi’s short, but successful, stop with the Florida Marlins proved he could coach any baseball team, despite the payroll. The Marlins had the lowest payroll in all of baseball in 2006 and yet Girardi kept his squad in the wild card hunt on his way to earning 2006 National League Manager of the Year. Jeffrey Loria did not see eye-to-eye with Girardi and let him go following a successful first managerial season. He quickly became a hot name for all managerial openings but chose to go into broadcasting for YES before replacing Joe Torre a year later.
I constantly hear grumblings from Yankee fans that they hoped Don Mattingly would be the next manager of this team, in the event that he is let go by the Dodgers. Most of that is caused by the love affair many fans have with Mattingly’s from his playing days, but sometimes it is best to keep emotions out of rash decisions. I can’t sit here and act like I have always thought of Girardi as a top-tier manager myself, but it is hard to argue against his very successful track record. The Yankees have the best record in all of baseball since his hiring in 2008, capped off by a World Series Championship in 2009.
The argument can be made that he tends to over manage ballgames, and has earned the nickname “Binder Joe” for constantly searching through his binder of stats to find the best match-ups. This is the new age of baseball, managers going with their “gut feeling” is a thing of the past, like it or not, and Girardi is keen on creating his preferred situational match-ups. He may go a bit over the top at times, but he does seem to be right more often than not.
In my opinion, this was a no brainer to bring Girardi back. He has proven he can handle the most pressure packed managerial position in all of baseball, which is something few can say. That being said, this is the Yankees, and only winning championships can assure Girardi is around to complete all 4 years of this contract.
*On a side note, this now means the Yankees have both Joe Girardi and AROD under contract through the 2017 season, in case you were wondering.