The Death Star begins to strike

Posted: October 28, 2010 in MLB
Tags: ,

It’s never to early to begin the off-season, at least for the New York Yankees. And they’re doing it in style, preparing to take home the World Series trophy that was once theirs in 2009 (as well as 26 other times, but hey, who’s counting?) With only two key moves so far, the Bronx Bombers are making it clear why they’ll take the ‘ship home in 2011.

#1. The firing of pitching coach Dave Eiland. I liked Eiland in the beginning when he took over for Ron Guidry in 2008. He oversaw the development of pitchers Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain in the Yankee’s farm systems, in which the two are arguably the crucial parts to the Yank’s pitching staff. The man helped C.C. Sabathia record an impressive 1.98 ERA in last year’s postseason that guided the Bombers to a World Series title.

That all sounds good, right? Things changed with Eiland and his efforts with his staff. Being absent for “personal reasons” for an entire month in the end of the first half, right when A.J. Burnett began his slump, arguably could have been the cause of that. In addition, Yankee starting pitchers as well as some relief pitchers (cough David Robertson cough) posted horrific ERAs against the Texas Rangers in American League Championship Series. No disrespect to the guy but things like that are unacceptable for a distinguished (and well-paying) team such as the Yankees to put up with.

Courtesy of the New York Times

#2 Re-signing Joe Girardi.  When I saw this morning on ESPN that the New York Yankees and Girardi agreed to a three-year, $9 million dollar contract, I knew that there was hope left for next season. Originally, I wasn’t a huge fan of Girardi. I wanted Don Mattingly to take the head coach position over him. But my opinion has shifted since then. Even though he didn’t lead New York to the playoffs his first season, he made up for it big time the following season. The Yanks were dominant in 2009, especially within their offense, and proved to be that powerhouse organization it has been for years by beating the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.

His record stands at 287-199 (.591) through three seasons in New York, but that’s not the thing that really impresses me. It’s that he’s smart when it comes to baseball. I appreciated the “Joba rules” to keep the inconsistent, at the time, Chamberlain consistent. He knew when workhorse hurler C.C. Sabathia could and could not pitch 120 plus pitches a game. Last, he was smart about his outfield/designated hitter dilemma last season: Keeping Hideki Matsui on the DH for the most part with his grandpa-like knees and rotating him in whenever ailing Johnny Damon or young gun Brett Gardner needed time out.

I can almost guarantee that the next few moves the Yankees front office will try and do are going to be putting Cliff Lee in pinstripes, resigning Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and finding a way to continue to improve their bench (Interesting call, but I think they make a move for Carl Crawford down in Tampa Bay). But their is no way the organization, or the fans, are going to deal with another World Series drought like what 2001-2008 brought.


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