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A Look Back And Ahead for Joe Girardi And The Yankees

Joe Girardi is entering his tenth, and potential final year as skipper of the New York Yankees.

Girardi’s four-year, $16 million contract is set to expire at the end of the regular season, and early in spring training, it’s something he’s come out and said he isn’t worrying about.

“It really doesn’t impact me. I’m going to do my job the same way and what I believe is the right way to do it,’’ Girardi said. “I won’t seek any clarity. They don’t extend managers, as long as I can remember, during the course of a season. So I’ll go do my job and see and whatever happens. Let’s go play it out.”

Girardi’s correct on the notion that the Yankees do not extend contracts for managers during the season. After all, this isn’t the first time he’s dealt with contract talks with the franchise, seeing as he has had his contract renewed twice, once in 2010 then in 2013.

The Yankees as a franchise haven’t extended contracts for anybody during the regular season in recent history either (i.e. Bernie Williams, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter) regardless of prominence.

Yankees and Girardi aren’t focused on future together. Both are focused on making team a playoff threat again.

Some view Girardi’s tenure as questionable, mostly because he replaced a legend in his own right, Joe Torre. Some see that Girardi did little after being handed many of the pieces that had been laid out for the team’s success the previous decade. Fair or unfair, fans have always held coaches and athletes accountable for putting up the same results as their predecessors.

Girardi, though, has never had a losing season in his previous nine years. The closest he came was both in 2014 and 2016, winning 84 games each of those years.

Girardi’s track record (819-639) with the team looks like this:

200889-73Missed Playoffs
2009103-59Won World Series
201095-67Lost In ALCS to Rangers 4-2
201197-65Lost In ALDS to Tigers 3-2
201295-67Lost In ALCS to Tigers 4-0
201385-77Missed Playoffs
201484-78Missed Playoffs
201587-75Lost in WC Game to Astros
201684-78Missed Playoffs

Despite keeping the Yankees’ streak alive for not having a losing record since 1992, fans are not fond of the path the team has taken in recent history. Having missed the playoffs in three of the last four years, and not played in a postseason series since 2012 isn’t going over well with the impatience.

Of course, not all of it is the skipper’s fault. Girardi has had to deal with season long injuries to Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter — at a time both seemingly found the fountain of youth and were big pieces to the team’s success — and a yearlong suspension for Alex Rodriguez. He’s also lost a majority of the team’s  lasting image to retirement or other business options with Rivera, Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Mark Teixeira, Rodriguez and Cano all going on different paths.

The player’s general manager Brian Cashman and the Yankees’ front office brought in have been subpar to say the least (i.e. Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley, Michael Pineda).

The Steinbrenner children, Hal and Hank have shown to have more patience than their father George with the manager situation. It’s also easy to see that Girardi has had to deal with all of the above, and has since been handed aging and mediocre players to carry the load.

Thankfully, the Yankees have realized what they’re doing isn’t the key to success and have since dealt players like Aroldis Chapman, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Andrew Miller for players that many think will lead to brighter days. Girardi thinks so himself, tying this year’s squad to that of the 1996 Yankees team.

Girardi understands the impact of his words, having been part of the 90’s dynasty as a player.

The question that remains to be seen getting answered over the next six months is whether the Yankees plan to make Girardi part of the brighter days.

Most signs point to yes.

The Yankees haven’t come out publicly saying his job is in jeopardy, and Girardi has shown promise to get the most out of young, unproven players.

Girardi won Manager of the Year honors in 2006 while managing the then Florida Marlins — now Miami. The team was in a similar position that year, having no real expectations with a young-caliber roster. Girardi, though, took that team to near .500 record (78-84) before being fired during the offseason.

Family could play a factor for Girardi after the season. He had hinted that he might have left the team after 2013 to go manage the Chicago Cubs — who at the time were the up and coming team — to be closer to home.

His son, Dante, is currently a high school baseball player, and some say is an early prospect. Though it’s a few years away to see what could happen, it’s not entirely out of the question that Girardi could leave the Yankees to coach his son.

There are a few questions left when it comes to Girardi, but one thing is certain. If he can get this year’s team to show promise to that of the late 90’s dynasty, the front office will certainly give him a new contract to keep the hope alive, and bring winning ways back to the Bronx.

About Arthur Dowell

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