If there was a way to describe New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, the best phrase that can be used is that he is boringly efficient. While he may not inspire many baseball players, he will illustrate what ownership looks for in a manager: someone who puts his players on the field and puts them in a position to do well. On Valentines Day, Joe Girardi made his 10th State of the Yankees address. When he has done these in the past, they are typically thirty minutes in which nothing of value comes from it. Most of the time he will giggle at his own wisecracks and say little. When it is all set and done, he will have accomplished his main goal: to provide nothing of value.
While his style isn’t entertaining, which probably is not majorly important to many people, but it does count when your team has not made the playoffs for the last few seasons. To put it in another way, if you want to be either Bill Belichick or Greg Popovich in baseball spikes, you better be winning.
This leads to one major question for the Yankees as they head into the 2017 season and hopefully won’t become a distraction: Could the 2017 season be the final year for Joe Girardi in the Bronx?
He is 52 years old and is in the final year of his four-year, $16 million contract. While it doesn’t seem likely to happen, but there is a possible chance that the State of the Yankees address that is given prior to the start of 2018 spring training, could be given by someone other than Joe Girardi. There is no clear indication from Yankees General manager Brian Cashman or ownership that they are unhappy with Giradi’s performance, despite the fact that the Yankees have not made the playoffs since 2015.
To show how different ownership has changed, if George Steinbrenner was still in charge, Joe Girardi would have been out blamed and probably fired. On the other hand, Hal Steinbrenner is more of the opposite of his father. The highest profiled firing that has happened since Hal has started running the team was when they fired hitting coach Kevin Long in 2014. It should be noted that one of Hal’s goal in 2017 is for the Yankees to go below the luxury tax or be around it by the time the 2017 season comes to an end.
This is one of Hal’s goals because then the Yankees could have a ton of free space for the free agency class of 2018 as there is a feeling that players like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper will be a few of the free agents after the 2017 season. However, the Yankees are coming into the 2017 season with a lot of hope that between their young players like Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Greg Bird with the help of veterans can form the next uber team.
While that is all nice, there’s the thought as to what happens if they continue to regress. Since they won over 100 games in 2009, they have failed to win as many as 95 games in a season. Also, they have won roughly 85 games since 2013. Since there are no members left from the core four, Alex Rodriguez, or even Mark Teixeira still around, there is far less remembrance of the championship years.
While the Yankees ownership doesn’t want to spend a lot of money prior to the 2018 offseason , but still wanting to sell tickets and the Yankees don’t perform well on the field, could the Yankees end up bringing in a new manager who shows emotions. While all of that was said, it seems unlikely to see Girardi walk away from the 162- game grind. One reason for him to return beyond 2017 is the fact that he makes $4 million. But it should be noted that he has made enough money over his career, which includes $21 million he made during his playing days.
It should be noted that he still loves to compete, but there are thoughts that it can take a major toll on his health. Unfortunately, he often appears to lose a significant amount of weight as the season moves into the point where the stakes are very high. On the flip side, it has become more and more clear that he isn’t a fan of talking to the media the two times a day he is required to by MLB. He comes off more of a numbers type of guy and less of a words guy.
While I understand the fact that he is a lame-duck manager in 2017, due to the circumstances I don’t see any way that he doesn’t return in 2018. The Yankees are not expected to blow the roof off in the 2017 season, but they don’t look like a team that will continue to fall apart. I have a sense feeling that the Yankees will end up in the ballpark of 83-88 wins in the 2017 season, which should all but guarantee that Joe Girardi returns in 2018. It may only be a one or two year deal, but I feel a lot needs to go wrong for him not to return.