The New York Yankees checked off their first goal of the offseason on Wednesday, retaining manager Joe Girardi until 2017.
The skipper signed a four year contract worth $16 million, http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/9797911/joe-girardi-returns-new-york-yankees-manager
Despite missing the playoffs twice in six seasons at the helm of the Yankees, Girardi has led the team to a World Series championship in 2009, an ALCS appearance in three of four years and three division titles. His .580 winning percentage since 2008 is the best in baseball.
After speculation that Girardi would entertain offers from his hometown Chicago Cubs, the Yankees gave him and offer that he apparently couldn’t refuse.
That’s a good thing. Girardi is still the best fit for this team, especially as it goes through its first major transition period in a long time. The lack of adequate alternatives (Dusty Baker, Tony Pena, Charlie Manuel, Manny Acta; yeah, no thanks).
Girardi’s greatest strengths as a manager includes being numbers savvy (he’s got an engineering degree from Northwestern, you know), managing the bullpen (his predecessor’s greatest flaw), and getting the most out of replacement players, as we saw this year as the Yankees somehow won 85 games without half a roster that hit 245 home runs last season.
The Yankees are going to be a much different team than in the past years. With Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte retired and Hiroki Kuroda and Robinson Cano possibly gone to free agency, the prospects for 2014 don’t look too great next year at the moment, but of course that could easily change.
Regardless of who is on the roster next year, you can count on Girardi to keep this team competitive. Even with the greatest closer ever gone, he will find a way to put together a solid bullpen like he does every year, this time possibly led by David Robertson. If he has the right personnel on offense, he’ll find a way to get this team to hit enough.
The Yankees have proved to be resilient over the past couple of years, and Joe Girardi is a big reason for that. Even when things look bad, he’s been able to push the right buttons and get this team to win. Maintaining him was the Yankees’ first objective and now that’s done, and that’s a good thing for thing. Total no-brainer.