Saturday, September 24, 2016

After riding a crest of youth, Girardi turns to the veterans...and everything collapses

It was the best thing that happened all season: The owner agreed to rebuild... The Yankees held a garage sale, promoted kids from Scranton, youth revived the team, and we actually contended for a few weeks. It was beautiful. For one brief, magnificent interlude, we were young and winning.

Then the Yankees returned to style. For me, this devolution took the of Billy "Country Breakfast" Butler. Now, I recognize that I am unfairly targeting my rage upon one player, and that Country Breakfast is simply a symbol of the Yankee rot. He's gone 8 for 21 for us, not bad. But we're 1-6 since Country Breakfast arrived from the scrap heap. One and fukking six. And the moment we plugged County Breakfast into our lineup, we became an old, tiresome, pathetic team. We traveled back in time to the days of Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano, back to Pronk and Overbay, back to the rank awfulness of obese players with morbidly obese contracts. One and six. From the time we brought in County Breakfast, we have deserved every loss we got.

Last night, in the dying embers of a 9-0 blowout, we saw Tyler Austin for the first time since September 15, when he went one for three with a double and a walk. He'd been in a slump, but seemed to be fighting his way out. Then, he vanished. Same with Rob Refsnyder. We haven't seen him since last Sunday in Boston.

Now, I recognize that both have critics - neither set the Yankiverse ablaze, but the beauty of this team was supposed to be that we get to see these kids in an actual pennant race. We could know if they have a future. Well, clearly, Girardi has decided no. He'd rather play Country Breakfast. And you know what? Maybe it's Girardi who needs to go.

For whatever it's worth, I have never on this blog called for Girardi to be fired. Never. There are voices here who do it all the time. Not me. I've been a Girardi guy. I think he's a great leader and clubhouse stabilizer, who doesn't enough credit for the heart that he brings. But he has now gone through three terrible years, and you know what? I think the man is mentally fried.

The great fear Yankee fans should have is that, come winter, the team empties its farm system for veterans, and starts accumulating more Country Breakfasts, which other teams are delighted to let go. We'll absorb old, fat contracts and players five years past their sell-dates. The problem isn't that that they Yankees don't spend enough: It's the players to which we are lashed. It's been bad decisions at various levels - all near the top.

Lately, I guess we were getting a glimpse of whether this young kid, County Breakfast, could hit in a pennant race. Another reason to be excited for the future, eh?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

COUNTRY BREAKFAST HAD AN AWFUL GAME YESTERDAY, HIS WORST YET (GIRARDI TRIED HIM AT 1ST BASE-AND IT WAS NOT GOOD)......BUT BEFORE THAT HE HAS BEEN REAL GOOD AT THE PLATE.....I WANT TO SAY YOU REALLY CAN'T BLAME HIM FOR THE 1-6 STRETCH...... YOU ALL MAY THINK I'M NUTS, BUT I HAVE ALWAYS LIKED HIM AS A HITTER..(HIS LIFETIME AVERAGE IS .290....,290!!!!..THAT'S RIGHT, I SAID .290!!!!)....AND ESPECIALLY AGAINST LEFTIES I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH HIM BEING THE DH...... YOU ARE OVERLOOKING THE FACT THAT THE YANKEES ARE NOT, REPEAT, NOT PAYING THE BULK OF HIS 10 MILLION DOLLAR A YEAR SALARY, THE A's ARE......AND, I WAS SURPRISED AS HELL WHEN I LOOKED IT UP, HE IS ONLY 30 YEARS OLD....(I THOUGHT FOR SURE HE WAS 34 OR 35)...... IF WE ARE NOT GOING TO USE TYLER AUSTIN, OR ROB REFSNYDER AS DH AGAINST LEFTIES, THEN I GUESS IT'S COUNTRY BREAKFAST.....WE COULD DO A LOT WORSE....... P.S.) HAS EVERYONE NOTICED SINCE STARLIN CASTRO WENT DOWN, WE CAN'T SCORE AT ALL...THAT IS MORE OF THE REASON WHY WE HAVE BEEN LOSING LATELY....LOOK IT UP.

Anonymous said...

MR. DUQUE, IN A PREVIOUS POST, WHICH YOU MAY NOT HAVE SEEN, I ASKED IF IT IS POSSIBLE TO FIND OUT WHAT OUR RECORD IS WITH AARON HICKS IN OUR STATING LINEUP (FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON)?....MY INSTINCTS ARE FLAILING UP AGAIN.........ANOTHER REASON TO LOOK AT OUR LATEST LOSSES IS??? : I THINK AARON HICKS HAS BEEN IN THE LINEUP IN EVERY ONE OF THEM!!!...THE MINUTE HE GOT OFF THE DL, HE STARTED PLAYING....AND WE STARTED LOSING!!!............ COUNTRY BREAKFAST IS INNOCENT!!!!!!

Tom said...

I feel dirty. I'm one of the voices who long ago said Joe must go. Duque is right about several things: Joe is a tough guy, a decent man and probably a strong leader. Maybe he's a great manager, too. Who am I, sitting here in my mother's basement, to say? I certainly never hit a balls-to-the-wall triple in the deciding game of a world series like Girardi did, and I didn't sit at the elbow of Joe Torre earning a graduate degree in baseball.

Unfortunately for the 2016 Yankees, the Torre technique works best when you have the best lineup, the best bench and the best bullpen. Girardi's a push-button manager, having made all his decisions before the game: who's going to hit in what situation, who's going to pitch in the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th before Bettances in the 9th. Why? Why does it always have to be that way? Why do we have to cycle through the Parkers, Swarzaks, Shreves and Proctors before we bring in a pitcher who can actually get people out? when a pitcher does seem capable, why is he limited to three outs?

And the lineup every day! You could say that Joe didn't mismanage this team so much as the team failed to perform. McCann, Teixeira, Gardner, Ellsbury, Hicks, and the ever-earnest Headley. Six guys in the lineup every day making bi-weekly contributions to the offense. Managers lose their jobs when two-thirds of their lineup fails to perform, and right now, ESPN's Wallace Matthews is doing his best to get Girardi fired.

But Girardi would barely budge. He gave Austin three weeks, Judge got hurt from swinging and missing too much, and Sanchez carried the team. Girardi decided that if the ship was going down he wanted to go down swinging with Gardner/Ellsbury & Headley/McCann/Teixeira and now Bulter. He wouldn't leave Torreyes in the lineup, preferring the classic weak-hitting utility man, Solano. And Refsnyder sat.

As we close this season, the Yankees are probably where they belong, regardless of who the manager is. As a passionate fan, I think they need a more flexible approach, especially in this transition or rebuilding period where young players, hopefully are going to be getting more and more playing time. Girardi doesn't seem to rely on his instincts. His approach rarely wavers. And it's frustrating to watch.

Please join me in wishing Joe luck in his future endeavors.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

I could root for the Yankees in 2017 with Girardi at the helm.

However -- Tom's post reminded me -- I sure as heck would like to see SOME of the roster of crapified players (Headley, Gardner, Ellsbury, McCann, Butler, and Hicks) bestowed on some other team. Even if the Steinbrenners have to eat the $$$ remaining on their contracts.

[My list is incomplete. I just checked, and Dustin Ackley is still on the roster, albeit on the DL . . . there is still a possibility they'll sign Eovaldi for 2018, too]

It's a dream to think all of them would go. Along with some of the relievers who have proven they just can't consistently get people out.

However, it IS a nice dream!

Alphonso said...

I have to vigorously disagree. Baseball is as much mental as physical. When you insert a beer belly cast-off (country breakfast begins with sausage, biscuits and gravy ) into the lie-up, and sit young prospects...you are sending a message.

The message is not one of re-building. It is one of blindness to reality. It is boring and maddening.

If I were a Yankee prospect, I would be looking for the next bus to Boston.

Girardi is done. He may have once been all the good things everyone said, but so was Tom Coughlin. After you keep losing
and keep playing the same crapped-out players (see Mark Texiera), it is time for change.

The Yankees were fun to watch with the rookies, and showed some spark, before JOE rewound the clock and put all our fat,
unproductive former stars, back in the game.

He is the problem now, and will remain so until removed.

John M said...

I can't stand Girardi. I was OK with him at first, since he replaced Torre, who I couldn't stand from day one. The most overrated manager in history, a true mediocrity who fell into a can't-lose situation.

Meanwhile, Wallace Matthews at espn.com is becoming a journalistic hero of mine in a minor way for telling the truth in a mainstream venue:

"Actually, it's probably just as well that Girardi left when he did...he was sure to be asked about starting Billy Butler at first base, a decision that cost his team two unearned runs -- and essentially the game -- in the first inning when Butler bobbled a routine grounder. And about how the Yankees had Francisco Liriano on the ropes in the top of the first, loading the bases but failing to score. And about how he had suddenly decided to abandon the use of the young kids on his roster, who temporarily at least had injected a dose of energy and enthusiasm into his clubhouse and created the impression that the Yankees were, in fact, playoff contenders."

You keep sending out a lineup that doesn't win, it's on you. You bench the kids that got you into a winning mode, it's on you. You mismanage the pitching situation time after time, it's on you.

I don't want to deny anyone a job, but Girardi shouldn't have this one. He's earned a dismissal. Before this year, but after this year, there's no doubt.

Anonymous said...

What Alphonso said.

Austria's Only Baseball Fan said...

Why do I get the feeling that Tyler Clippard has been living out of a suitcase?

Anonymous said...

THIS IS ABOUT THE 6TH YEAR IN A ROW, OUR OFFENSE (AND ENTIRE TEAM), WENT COMPLETELY DEAD AT THE END OF THE SEASON...... THE "HILL" AT SPRING TRAINING DIDN'T WORK...... IT'S TIME FOR HAL TO OPEN UP THE CHECKBOOK AND GET SOME REAL FUCKING TALENT IN HERE....... AND, I'M SCREAMING WHEN I SAY THIS, "GET AARON HICKS THE FUCK OUT OF HERE OR ELSE HE WILL SCREW US UP NEXT SEASON TOO!!!!"....HE IS IN THE WAY ON THIS TEAM!!!....APOLOGIES FOR THE LANGUAGE GUYS, BUT BETWEEN THE METS BEATING MINOR LEAGUE TEAMS EVERY NIGHT, THE RED SOX (AND FAT FRAUD PAPI), WINNING LIKE CRAZY, AND US LOSING EVERY DAY, I AM AT BREAKING POINT.

The Ghost of Yankees Past said...

Joe is not the issue. He is a fine manager and a good fit in NY . Yes, he is not perfect . As with all managers making hundreds of decisions a year it is easy to arm chair critique him.In 2009 we won it all with Joe. At the end of the day the manager can only pull the strings he has. The fact is we lost to teams with better talent. Rebuilding is not fun or easy.

The old saying in football applies here. It is not about X's and O's it is about Larry's and Joe's. The teams going into the playoffs have better Larry's and Joe's