Yankee manager Joe Girardi met with the media yesterday for his season ending press conference. So, allow me to react to some of the things he said (all quotes from the afore-linked Feinsand piece).
On the season: “We all know what the goal is here. We didn’t reach our goal, that’s the bottom line. Did we have some good things happen? Yeah. But collectively, we didn’t reach our goal. We go into spring training every year – we go into the winter every year – and the expectation is to win the World Series. If you don’t reach that, it’s considered not getting your job done.”
I get this. He’s toeing the company line, as does just about everyone at this point. But like our own Matt Warden wrote at RAB, maybe we need to stop with the whole “World Series or failure!” idea. Yes, that’s the ultimate goal and the Yankees are definitely capable of achieving it every year, but we must remember that it’s not a failure to not win the World Series.
On the team’s biggest offseason need: “The one need that we’re going to have to address again is our rotation, there’s no doubt about it. You have two guys that are free agents, you have another guy that can opt-out, so that’s the one thing that we’re going to have to address. Similar to what we had to do for this year. It probably all starts with CC and then you go from there.”
When we talk about the 2012 rotation and the possible additions thereto, we talk about three guys: CC Sabathia, C.J. Wilson, and Japanese starter Yu Darvish. I’m definitely on the “Bring CC Back” bandwagon, and I’ve flip-flopped a lot over Wilson. If push came to shove with the now-Rangers’ lefty, I wouldn’t mind having him on the Yankees. He’s a good pitcher and doesn’t have a lot of wear on his arm. However, I would not want him for more than three or four years. If it came down to picking between Wilson and Darvish, I would take Darvish. While he carries a bit more risk, I think he’s got much more upside and the years are on his side. And while his posting fee may be exorbitant, it does not count against the luxury tax for the Yankees, and they would not have to surrender any draft picks. That’s the really simple version.
On Phil Hughes: “We consider him a starter, we do, but he’s got to get back to the form he had in 2010 to continue to stay in our rotation. That’s something he’ll work very hard at this winter.”
On A.J. Burnett: “He’s a work in progress. He’s having to change as he gets older. He’s lost a mile or two, and that changes the pitches you’re going to get away with. We saw him pitch very well against Detroit. He’s made adjustments, and he’s tried to make adjustments, and hte adjustment he made from august to September really helped him. I hope it continues to help him as we move forward. But as you get older as a pitcher, you’re not immune to adjustments. You have to make them. It might change your curveball a little bit, it might change your changeup a little bit. He’s trying to make those adjustments.
I really don’t know what they’re going to do with Hughes and Burnett. I think both have just enough rope left to try and make something of 2012. The way the Yankee rotation could shape up, though, they may just need to be there to soak up innings. I’d like to say that they should give Burnett until mid-season to prove himself as a starter, but I don’t think that’s realistic. And if I were a betting man, I’d say that 2012 will be Hughes’ last shot as a starter. If he can’t stay serviceable for the whole time, I think we’ll see him transitioned to the bullpen.
(Sidebar: I really wish they would just use this restart period to try Joba Chamberlain as a starter again. It’s the perfect opportunity to do so. I know it’s not going to happen, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed.)
On Nick Swisher‘s October struggles and how they play into his option: “I think when we sit down as a group we talk about everything. You don’t just take a two-week period or a month or two months; you look at everything. He’s been an on-base guy for us, he’s driven in runs, he’s hit home runs for us, I think he plays a better right field than people give him credit for, too. But as you look at your players and you try to improve your club and that’s something we always try to do, you have to take everything into account.”
The fact that so many people are writing Swish off because of a bad stretch in the ALDS (and his other playoff performances) is unsettling to me. Go look at what Nick Swisher did this year (and the two years before that…and every year save for 2008) and tell me why the Yankees shouldn’t pick his option up. Yeah, there’s a bit of a hole in his game when it comes to contact and he’s not the best base runner, but he does literally everything else well. He has a great eye, he hits for great power, and he plays good defense in right field. His playoff sample is not only small (147 PAs) but it’s also spread out across multiple years and multiple teams. Trying to draw any meaningful conclusion from that sample is irresponsible and misguided. Nick Swisher is the best option for the Yankees in right field in 2012.
Obviously, I’m annoyed that Girardi had to have this press conference now instead of after the World Series. But, it’s nice to be looking forward to 2012 already. Baseball definitely has the most exciting offseason of the four major sports in the U.S. and I think we’ll have plenty to discuss this time around.
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