The Yankees and, in particular, Brian Cashman, unilaterally fired their manager of ten years the other day. It was classless and inexcusable, and it puts a damper not only on the 2017 season but the storied nature of the organization as a whole.
The Yankees 2017 season did not end well. But with the exception of one widely covered faux pas by Joe Girardi in the ALDS, for which he was later redeemed by his players, the Yankees season, good and bad, rests solely with the 25 players who took the field, day in and day out, for 175 games this year.
Yankees: It’s the how and not the why
It’s not so much the Yankees wanted to part ways with Girardi, although we could spend hours discussing the merits of their decision. Instead, it all about the manner of how they executed their judgment.
Girardi gave the organization ten years of service. He was paid handsomely for his efforts, signing a four-extension in 2013 worth $16 million. So, that’s a wash between giving and taking. But if ever forget that baseball is a business, there is always a glaring episode like this one, reminding us why there’s no crying in baseball.
Girardi hemmed and hawed his way through the latter days of the season and the playoffs, telling the media he and his family would sit down after the season to make a “family” decision. In the end, from Girardi’s perspective, there was no doubt he decided to return to the Yankees as seen in an emotional press conference video.
And here’s ESPN’s take on the breaking news of that day:
Instead, Brian Cashman, who himself has a job on the line with an expiring contract, with the tacit approval of Yankees managing partner, Hal Steinbrenner, chose to forge ahead by dismissing Girardi when other scenarios achieving the same result were available.
Why not, for instance, let Girardi know the organization wanted to move in that proverbial “different direction” teams conveniently use when they have no other reason to justify their decision to do so. And say, we both agree it’s time for a change in a dual communication to the media. Girardi, after all these years as both a player and manager, would have played along and the “taste” of his dismissal would have been entirely different.
The reaction came quickly to the firing of Girardi, and let’s be sure with the wording because he was fired, from several former and current Yankees players, including this excerpt from Johnny Damon:
And from David Robertson, who Tweeted: “Thank you, Joe. My career wouldn’t have been the same without you,” said Robertson. “It was a privilege.”
Say what you want about Girardi. Some former players, like Mark Teixeria, who is now a FOX analyst, believes Girardi was let go because he was “too intense”:
Yeah, maybe. But when you represent the New York Yankees, “intense” is part of the package you sign up to. How else do you account for a team seeking their twenty-seventh world championship?
Yankees focus shifts to Cashman
In any event, the team has embarked on a different path for the 2018 season. And the first, and most crucial decision perhaps, the organization will make is the appointment of a new field leader.
And if I were Hal Steinbrenner, I would wait out any announcement regarding Cashman’s contract situation until the man who let Girardi go comes up with a qualified replacement, even if it means that Cashman works without a contract until he rebuilds what he has destroyed.
Because all eyes are on Cashman now. Yankees fans are restless as they should be. Do tell us Brian, who is the man better than Joe Girardi to pilot the team in 2018.