When the Yankees and Joe Torre parted ways a few weeks ago,
I figured Don Mattingly would be the next Yankee manager. I felt “Donnie Baseball” would be given the
job because he was Torre’s most recent bench coach, and because Mattingly would
be a very popular choice — something I thought would influence the Yankees
since they received a very negative backlash when they let the popular Torre
Well, as we know now, Hank Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman
didn’t succumb to “the most popular choice” but instead, picked the man they
felt would best be able to lead a revamped Yankee team with a new
In picking Joe Girardi as manager, and telling their most
potent offensive player, “see ya”, the Yankees sent a loud message to the “Yankee
Universe”. The message that was sent was, pitching is going to be the top
weapon of the 2008 New York Yankees.
The Yankees selected their former catcher as manager,
because they wanted an experienced man to handle a staff that may feature the
young arms of Job Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and Ian Kennedy. In my opinion,
this is why Girardi got the job over Mattingly.
In Thursday’s press conference, Girardi said, “Pitching wins
championships” and hinted he and Brian Cashman will focus on building a very solid
starting staff and pen to help bring world championship #27 to this storied
If you’re a Yankee fan, you really can’t argue with the
direction Girardi is planning to lead the Yankees in. The ALDS failures of
2005, 2006, and 2007 had nothing to do with clutch hitting, managerial
decisions, or bugs. The Yankees failed to advance in the playoffs because Randy
Johnson and Chien-Ming Wang could not get the job done in the first round.
Simply put, the Yankees have been very short on quality pitching since the late
90’s and early 2000’s.
Steinbrenner, Cashman, and Girardi all know this, and that’s
why I feel you will see the Yankees build a team around solid pitching, and
focus less on offense.
Soon, I can almost guarantee that you will hear rumors that
the Yankees are in hot pursuit of
ace, Johan Santana. The Yankee brain
trust desperately wants to secure an ace for the upcoming season, and they will
target the Twins talented lefty who will be a free agent at the end of next
season. It will cost the Yankees a Melky
Cabrera, a Hughes or Wang, and maybe a prospect, but it’s a trade that will
enormously help the Yanks reach their goal of having a super staff.
While we can all hope that Chamberlain, Hughes, and Kennedy
can contribute greatly in next year’s rotation, we all must realize that
plugging in three kids in a rotation is very risky if your goal is to win a
The Yankees need another experienced and quality starter to
join Andy Pettitte and anchor this young rotation. Santana should be that guy,
and the Yankees will probably pull out all the stops to acquire him.
As we know from his playing days and his experience as a
Yankee bench coach, Girardi is a very well-prepared individual. I’m certain the new Yankee manager has
already given Steinbrenner and Cashman some examples in how this team can
improve and reach their ultimate goal.
In the next few months, I expect the Yankees to make a
flurry of moves, and most of them will involve improving their pitching. Steinbrenner, Cashman, and Girardi all have
the same plan. Now we will see if they can implement it successfully and ready this team for