They are forgetting the whole team factor and how as long as you have a finger to point, you could manage this New York Yankees team.
Is it hard to put together a lineup featuring Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, and Nick Swisher?
Can you close your eyes and point? You could literally be blind and make a good lineup out of that cast.
The Yankees went out and got Girardi not just the best talent in free agency, but in the game in the forms of Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett, while trading for Nick Swisher. The Cubs went out and got Piniella, Milton Bradley for $5 million more than Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu combined, and re-signed one-year wonder starting pitcher Ryan Dempster to a big fat contract.
Yes, I'm sure it was hard putting up with the Alex Rodriguez mess, so Girardi put his thinking cap on and played Cody Ransom and Ramiro Pena? Really? The Yankees went 13-15 during that stint.
I guess the Yankees forgot to buy Girardi a backup third baseman.
With all the problems that usually come with Alex Rodriguez, Girardi received a gift in the fact this season Rodriguez stayed out of the spotlight and just played baseball. Piniella got Milton Bradley and Carlos Zambrano who re-discovered their crazy ways this season.
Is it really that hard to hand the ball to a healthy Sabathia, Burnett, and Andy Pettitte over and over again? The only real decision Girardi had during the season is he made a mess of the fourth and fifth starter for the Yankees.
Girardi threw around Joba Chamberlain, Chien-Ming Wang, Phillip Hughes, Sergio Mitre, and Chad Gaudin when in reality, for the future of the Yankees and for the best pitching staff, it clearly should have been Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes.
You do not give up on a 23-year-old like Phillip Hughes and stick him in the bullpen. Yes, he's done a fantastic job in the bullpen, but after starting 13 games two years ago in his rookie season, you give up on him after eight starts?
Hughes pitched 86 innings this year, so why not let him be the fifth starter? All you really need out of your fifth starter is an ERA below 5.00, so there really isn't much pressure.
Although, this was probably the best for Hughes with Girardi's history of ruining pitcher's arms as he did in 2006 with the Florida Marlins, he still won Manager of The Year for finishing fourth in the division with 78-84 overall record.
Scott Olson (italics is the Girardi year)
2006 (22-year-old rookie a year after having an elbow injury) -180.2 IP, 4.04 era, 1.30 WHIP
2007 - 176.2 IP, 5.81 ERA, 1.76 WHIP
2008 - 201.2 IP, 4.20 ERA, 1.31 WHIP
2009 (Left shoulder surgery to end the season) - 62.2 IP, 6.03 ERA, 1.72 WHIP
Josh Johnson (italics is the Girardi year)
2006 (22-year-old rookie) - 157 IP, 3.10 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
2007 (Tommy John Surgery) - 15.2 IP, 7.47 ERA, 2.43 WHIP
2008 (returns from Tommy John midseason) - 87.1 IP, 3.61 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
2009 - 209 IP, 3.23 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
Ricky Nolasco (italics is the Girardi year)
2006 (23-year-old rookie) - 140 IP, 4.82 ERA, 1.41 WHIP
2007 (out 75 days with right elbow inflammation) - 21.1 IP, 5.48 ERA, 1.64 WHIP
2008 - 212.1 IP, 3.52 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
2009 - 185 IP, 5.06 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Anibal Sanchez (italics is the Girardi year)
2006 (22-year-old rookie) - 114.1 IP, 2.83 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
2007 (shoulder problems during spring training, demoted to AAA on May 4, surgery to repair tear in his labrum June 21) - 30 IP, 4.80 ERA, 2.07 WHIP
2008 - (returns midseason) - 51. 2 IP, 5.57 ERA, 1.57 WHIP
2009 - 86 IP, 3.87 ERA, 1.51 WHIP
Dontrelle Willis (italics is the Girardi year)
2003 (Rookie of the Year) - 160.2 IP, 3.30 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
2004 - 197 IP, 4.02 ERA, 1.38 WHIP
2005 - 236.1 IP, 2.63 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
2006 (24 years old) - 223.1 IP, 3.87 ERA, 1.42 WHIP
2007 - 205.1 IP, 5.17 ERA, 1.60 WHIP
2008 - 24 IP, 9.38 ERA, 2.21 WHIP
2009 - 33.2 IP, 7.49 ERA, 1.93 WHIP
As a Rookie of the Year winner on a World Series winner, Dontrelle Willis pitched 160.2 innings.
If Willis was pitching 160.2 innings, then why were Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen, and Ricky Nolasco, as 22 and 23 year-olds, pitching more or around that same level on a team that was clearly not going to win the World Series?
Notice the setbacks and injuries each of these pitchers have had in their careers and in the case of Willis, Nolasco, and Olsen, the essential endings of their careers after Girardi wham-bam-thank-you-ma'amed them in a quest to finish fourth in the division.
The Cubs need not look no further than Kerry Wood to know the effects of overworking pitchers under the age of 25.
Comparing Lou Piniella or any manager for that matter to Joe Girardi is not fair.
What happened last year when the Yankees were hit with injuries to Jeter, Rodriguez, Posada, and the main horses for Girardi's pitching staff were Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte? What happened when Girardi had to do some actual managing?
The Yankees didn't make the playoffs for the first time since 1993, finishing with 89 wins.
In 2009, Girardi was given one of the best hitters in the game in Mark Teixeira and two aces in the forms of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, both of whom stayed healthy for him. Along with that, the Yankees got a steal for Nick Swisher who although wasn't pressured to do anything, threw in 29 home runs on the season and a .371 OBP.
He was given the perfect team under perfectly healthy circumstances and he will most likely finish with the perfect result.
What managing did he actually have to do?
Girardi is just a finger that can point to the bullpen when Mariano Rivera needs to come to the rescue.
That finger, however, will probably have a ring on it soon thanks to 2009 All-Star Team New York Yankees.