The Yankees have won the AL East and have already clinched the best record in the American League, giving them home-field advantage until the World Series. Despite all that, Yankees manager Joe Girardi does not deserve to win AL Manager of the Year.
Normally, such a prestigious season as the Yankees have had would certainly garner AL Manager of the Year honors for Joe Girardi but, quite honestly, I don't believe it was Girardi's managing that did it for the Bombers.
One thing's for sure, having a $200 million payroll doesn't hurt your chances in the running, and is something Joe Girardi has the luxury of having. It enables him to have an unlimited supply of talent, and when one goes out, he is rest assured a quality piece will be brought in to replace it. Any manager would kill to have that at their disposal.
What has Girardi really managed that has made the Yankees better?
He stumbled upon two key pitchers this year in Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, both who pitched well above what they were expected. Does that mean that Girardi is the reason for their success?
Not likely. I would point to great individual preparation on the part of the two, help from their coaches and, of course, stem cells.
Both pitchers have helped catapult the Bombers to success in 2011.
What about that offense? Joe Girardi doesn't swing the bat for his players, so the runs the Yankees score are all the doing of the players. That's where that beautiful $200 million payroll comes into play. The Yankees have one of the best offenses in baseball and a lineup littered with All-Stars and future Hall of Famers.
Does Joe Girardi deserve AL Manager of the Year?
Not much coaching to be done there, unless you consider filling out a lineup card a major managerial decision worth noticing.
Last but not least, is the pitching staff as a whole. I already mentioned Garcia and Colon, but what about the rest of the Bombers arms?
Irrational is the best way to describe the way Joe Girardi has handled his pitching staff in 2011. From inexplicably sending down Ivan Nova for Phil Hughes earlier in the year, to this idiotic six-man rotation that has done no good for the Bombers. Girardi has strived to try and keep two disappointments in his starting rotation, and in the process, ruined what should have been a great season for CC Sabathia.
Whether it was Girardi's decision or not, keeping Hughes and Burnett in the rotation this long just looks amateur.
If anyone deserves an award, it's Brian Cashman. Not only did he show restraint in a weak trade market, he also was able to grab pitchers off the scrap heap to fill in holes in the Yanks bullpen that was decimated by injuries. Moves that worked out for the Yankees.
He's done enough good to make us forget his ridiculous defense of A.J. Burnett.
No matter how you slice it, most likely Joe Girardi will get the award by default, considering there aren't any other surprise AL teams this year whose manager deserves the award. Best record in the American League should be the final straw in Girardi winning an award that he doesn't deserve.