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October 25, 2007

Why The Yankees Should Hire Joe Girardi

As I have previously written, with Joe Girardi you get the tactical-edge seeking of Billy Martin, the ensured preparedness of Buck Showalter, and, the politically correct demeanor of Joe Torre - all rolled into one. There's really not much more that you can ask a manager to have, in my opinion, in terms of skills and talent.

Don Mattingly has some assets to consider, as well, of course. He's been well schooled in the game. His work ethic is off-the-charts. He's respected in the Yankees clubhouse as well as around the game. And, he's a living Yankees icon.

However, there's one thing to consider that separates Mattingly and Girardi, now, in terms of which one the Yankees should have run their team in 2008.

Outside of this opportunity with the Yankees, no other current major league team would currently consider Don Mattingly as someone who they would want to manage their team. It's not a knock on Donnie - it's just a fact that (probably) every other team in baseball would not consider him ready, at this point, to be a viable candidate to lead their club.

To be candid, the reason why the Yankees are considering Don Mattingly now is because he's "Don Mattingly" and he has "Yankees" running through his veins.

Joe Girardi, on the other hand, has been sought out by other franchises, in the past, to see if he would be interested in managing their team. And, there's great reason to believe that, should he be available, clubs will continue to have a strong interest in having Girardi lead their team.

Brass tacks, today, Joe Girardi is an "A+/A-" managerial prospect at this junction whereas Don Mattingly is a "C+/B-" managerial prospect in the eyes of organizations other than the Yankees.

Think of it this way: Joe Girardi is "Joba Chamberlain" and Don Mattingly is "Tyler Clippard." Sure, in the end, maybe Clippard turns out to have a better career as a pitcher than Chamberlain - you never know in baseball. But, right now, in terms of rolling the dice, and picking one hurler over the other, you're going to choose Chamberlain based on the demonstrations of his talents to date.

This is why the Yankees should choose Joe Girardi now to be their next manager. It's no slap at Mattingly - it's just that Joe is further along in terms of his skipper "attractiveness" (for lack of a better team) than Donnie - among objective baseball circles outside of Yankeeland.

Maybe this all changes in one or two years? Maybe it doesn't? But, for now, it's a fact - many teams recognize Girardi as having the potential to be a great manager and only the Yankees consider Mattingly as someone who could be their next manager.

At some point, the Yankees have to look at this and ask themselves "Who do I want to run my business, the valedictorian who was voted most likely to succeed, or, the dude next-door that I've known for the last 18 years, who's not afraid of hard work, and who has always been a buddy?"

It's a tough question because, in the end, it's a call that's between your head and your heart. Translated to the Yankees, their heart probably tells them "Mattingly" whereas their head should tell them "Girardi."

Follow your head, Yankees, and hire Joe Girardi.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at October 25, 2007 07:47 PM

Comments

Steve, I couldn't agree more.

And as much as alienating Mattingly would be bad for the team right now, given what the Torre fallout was, it's just how it's gotta be. Mattingly might be disappointed but I hope he's honest and intelligent enough to understand why he might not be the best choice right now. Hopefully 1-2 years from now he'll be able to get over the disappointment and once again be a part of the greatest alumni club in baseball history.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 25, 2007 09:10 PM

Girardi has the highest chance of being the manager that gives the Yankees the best chance to win in 2008. It's really that simple.

Posted by: j [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 25, 2007 09:59 PM

I agree with the premise that Girardi is the more prepared and the better choice to manage the Yanks right now, but I disagree with your assertion that no team would be interested in Mattingly. There have been managers far less qualified who have interviewed with other clubs and even gotten hired (Ron Washington, Ozzie Guillen, Bob Geren, Manny Acta and probably the best example, Alan Trammel). All of those guys had very little if any previous managerial experience. They all were qualified for different reasons though. Washington has a great baseball knowledge, Guillen is a spark plug, Geren knew the organization, Acta has worked with some of the best (like Frank Robinson) while Trammel was nothing more than an even less qualified version of Mattingly. Hell even Willie Randolph had never been more than a coach. Point is, there are a lot of different reasons why managerial candidates are attractive to clubs. The very fact that Mattingly was such a cerebral player and that he has spent even a few years around guys like Torre would qualify him at least as a possible candidate elsewhere. I think everyone just knew what Donnie's intentions were. He always had his eyes set on the Yanks managerial job. He wasn't the kind of guy who would go wherever he could get a job.

That said, Girardi is obviously more qualified. Catchers make great managers (hello Torre and Scioscia). He's also an incredibly bright guy (Northwestern grad), has a working relationship with the veterans, has worked with kids in Florida, can handle the media, etc. Like you said, Steve, Girardi is really everything the Yankees could want in a manager. But it's just such bad timing because Donnie came back for a reason and to not hire him now means to never hire him.

Posted by: Jaggie [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 25, 2007 10:02 PM

Interesting news from the NY Post. Essentially it says that the managerial decision is Cashman's.
http://tinyurl.com/ynvvkv

I don't know if I buy it, but, if that's true, that probably means Girardi.

I preferred Girardi and first, but today, I started moving toward Mattingly. Now, I'd be satisfied with either.

Posted by: jonm [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 25, 2007 10:50 PM

Outside of this opportunity with the Yankees, no other current major league team would currently consider Don Mattingly as someone who they would want to manage their team. It's not a knock on Donnie - it's just a fact that (probably) every other team in baseball would not consider him ready, at this point, to be a viable candidate to lead their club.
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Steve, you have no way of knowing that unless you're a mind-reader or have an inside source at every big-league club in baseball. You have no idea if there are teams who consider him a viable candidate as manager.

Saying Mattingly is only being considered because of his name is an insult to him. Is that why people wanted Willie and he got the Mets job? He had zero experience before being hired. Neither did Girardi, for that matter. Many first-time managers are hired.

Calling Girardi Chamberlain and Mattingly Clippard is a poor analogy, as far as I'm concerned. Everything you say about Mattingly's ability to manage is an assumption. We've been able to see both Clippard and Chamberlain pitch at the same level and there's no doubting who has the superior stuff. You're saying Joe is a better manager without knowing a single thing Mattingly intends to do.

You say "only the Yankees consider Mattingly as someone who could be their next manager," which, again, you don't know, and since there are so few openings anyway the statement is meaningless.

The way Girardi is being overrated really makes me laugh. He has one year under his belt managing a Marlins team that was never expected to win, didn't win, played in front of no one, and existed with no pressure. His team was young, but talented. When he gets to the Yankees, he won't be slapped on the back for finishing .500. Yankee fans everywhere are painting the picture of Joe as some sort of guru, but I guarantee they don't know anything about his baseball philosophy from watching his Marlins games -- because they didn't. Joe's prowess is a myth that grows by the day.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 12:23 AM

"Steve, you have no way of knowing that unless you're a mind-reader or have an inside source at every big-league club in baseball. You have no idea if there are teams who consider him a viable candidate as manager."


Oh please. You more than once made the claim that MOST people give the credit to Don Zimmer for winning the World Series and after people asked you to back up the statement there was silence. Did you perhaps exaggerate there for effect?

I'll bet Steve's a lot closer to accuracy in his statement than that was.

Has anyone heard of Mattingly being considered for any somewhat important (or any at all) position by another team?

Posted by: RICH [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 05:54 AM

~~~Steve, you have no way of knowing that unless you're a mind-reader or have an inside source at every big-league club in baseball. You have no idea if there are teams who consider him a viable candidate as manager.~~~

RICH sort of beat me to it, but, to this day, have we ever heard a team ask the Yankees for permission to interview Don? No. And, have we ever heard his name mentioned in the media as being someone that could land an open job? No.

We heard it about Pena, Lee Mazz, Wille, and others - but, never Donnie. Never, ever.

And, that's why I wrote what I did.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 08:38 AM

I don't find you argument persuasive, Steve, even given the fact that Mattingly has not been offered any other jobs.

1. Mattingly was out of baseball for eight years and, in effect, has only been a possible managerial candidate for maybe the last year.
2. During that lay-off, there was a clear move toward younger GMs. These younger GMs most likely don't know Mattingly.
3. Networking matters in baseball. Mattingly as a lifetime Yankee has a much smaller social network than Girardi. It's not as if Stump Merrill is the GM of the Pirates and could use his position to hire Mattingly.
4. Many of the people in Mattingly's small social network are still with the Yankees. If Stick Michael had been with another team, he's the type of guy who could hire Mattingly. Even then, no one would have wanted to do that until last year (a year when there have been few job openings).

Posted by: jonm [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 10:11 AM

~~~Mattingly was out of baseball for eight years and, in effect, has only been a possible managerial candidate for maybe the last year.~~~

Yes, and, that's why no one is beating down his door trying to hire him as a MGR - except the Yankees. And, that was my point.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 11:01 AM

You're not giving the other GM's, whether new or long established, enough credit to think outside the box.

Of the present 3 applicants I'd prefer Mattingly not be named the new manager because it's my opinion that if his name was Craig Biggio he wouldn't be considered for the position. I also don't think any of the 3 applicants will be a disaster so if Mattingly's chosen I hope it's for reasons a fan can't see.

Here's a question for everyone who's pushing for Mattingly:

How good was he as a bench coach? What did he do in that position that would make me feel confident he has a chance to be a good manager?

People like to credit Zimmer for being a good bench coach so we know at least at one point in time Torre would take advice from his next in line. What did Mattingly bring to the table?

I don't hold it against him that he wasn't noticeably good since others weren't visibly beneficial in that role yet have become decent managers but what improvements did he bring to the team as bench coach?

Posted by: RICH [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 11:10 AM

Steve,
And my point was that Mattingly has an unusually small baseball network. This fact says nothing about his qualifications to be an effective manager.

Posted by: jonm [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 11:54 AM

People like to credit Zimmer for being a good bench coach so we know at least at one point in time Torre would take advice from his next in line.
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I don't credit Zimmer with anything. When I look at Zimmer, I see a guy who had a .508 winning percentage as a manager. And, if you take out the Fisk-Rice-Lynn-Evans Red Sox teams, his winning percentage goes down to .461. Of course, he never finished in first with those Red Sox teams and he instead managed them to one of the worst collapses in baseball history.

And this is the guy who is supposed to be the brilliant tactician behind the old Yankee dynasty?
Come on.

On a personal level, I happened to see Zimmer speak at a small banquet in 1979. You couldn't imagine a dumber-acting guy.

Posted by: jonm [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 11:59 AM

~~~my point was that Mattingly has an unusually small baseball network. This fact says nothing about his qualifications to be an effective manager. ~~~

If you're that hot of a prospect, there's no need for a network, as people will beat a path towards you, IMHO.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 01:04 PM

If you're that hot of a prospect, there's no need for a network, as people will beat a path towards you
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I don't agree. Buzz is not necessarily generated by objective rational information.

Take John Farrell, the current most buzz-worthy candidate. He was Director of Player Personnel for the Indians for five years and Red Sox' pitching coach this year. What exactly there makes him a hot MANAGERIAL candidate?

What's behind the buzz is that both Boston and Cleveland had very good seasons. The "buzz," however, can't give any specific explanation concerning how John Farrell contributed to the good fortunes of both teams this year.

Let's say that both Boston and Cleveland had had a few unlucky breaks this year and that both had failed to make the playoffs. Would John Farrell still be considered a hot managerial candidate?

Probably, Farrell is hot now because a friend like Mark Shapiro dropped his name and that name became interesting to others because of his association with two teams that happened to play well this year.

Posted by: jonm [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 01:42 PM

Oh please. You more than once made the claim that MOST people give the credit to Don Zimmer for winning the World Series and after people asked you to back up the statement there was silence. Did you perhaps exaggerate there for effect?
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I was never silent on the issue of Don Zimmer getting credit FROM MANY PEOPLE because it's a known fact -- fans have been saying it for years. I'm sorry I can't abbreviate EIGHT YEARS of comments in one precious link. If you want to hear how people credit Zimmer, do a Google search and you will be enlightened.

I guess you miss the irony of later stating "People like to credit Zimmer for being a good bench coach..." Well done.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 03:03 PM

RICH sort of beat me to it, but, to this day, have we ever heard a team ask the Yankees for permission to interview Don? No. And, have we ever heard his name mentioned in the media as being someone that could land an open job? No.
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You didn't just say that Donnie has never been offered another job. You stated, definitively, that "no other current major league team would currently consider Don Mattingly as someone who they would want to manage their team" and "it's just a fact that (probably) every other team in baseball would not consider him ready, at this point, to be a viable candidate to lead their club."

And again -- you don't know that. It's like a "draft guru" saying before the draft, "No team will take this guy higher than the tenth spot." Well, how does he know? He's not in the room with these teams and it's pure speculation. No one can say FOR SURE what other teams are thinking unless they are in their strategy meetings with them. You're not and this is your ASSUMPTION.

Change the above to be preceded by "In my opinion," and I have absolutely no problem with it.

I just don't think you can state something as a fact when you don't know it's a fact. Your opinion that no one is considering Donnie? Fine. But you don't know for sure.

That's all I objected to.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 03:09 PM

Oh please. You more than once made the claim that MOST people give the credit to Don Zimmer for winning the World Series and after people asked you to back up the statement there was silence. Did you perhaps exaggerate there for effect?
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By the way, RICH, I never gave credit to Zimmer for winning the WS. I never even mentioned the World Series.

What I wrote was this:

"Be upset if you want to, but get over it [Torre not being extended] for Christ's sake. This team was on the way up when Torre got here; he didn't construct the '96-'01 team by himself. Most people think he won with Buck's team anyway, and give most of the credit to Don Zimmer."

It was all in a response to people who said the team was in dramatically bad shape before Joe got here, which is untrue.

And I say again: if you never heard someone say he won with Buck's team or mention that Joe couldn't win without Zim and that his managerial decisions were full of blunders once Zim was gone, then you haven't been paying attention.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 03:18 PM

"Most people think he won with Buck's team anyway, and give most of the credit to Don Zimmer"

"I just don't think you can state something as a fact when you don't know it's a fact."

I'll drop it because I enjoy reading your comments and I'm most likely fixating on semantics but I still want to hear where most people give most of the credit to Don Zimmer.

It sounds like your opinion to me, not a fact as you originally wrote it.

Posted by: RICH [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 03:43 PM