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Yankees Better Off With Mattingly Than Girardi

Leslie MonteiroSenior Analyst ISeptember 17, 2010

If Joe Girardi decides he had enough of the Yankees experience and goes to the Cubs, the Yankees can forget about Don Mattingly managing them.

The Dodgers hired Mattingly as their new manager after Joe Torre announced he won't return as the Dodger manager next year.

This is too bad. The Yankees need a manager who appreciates the game. They need a manager who won't overmanage. They need a manager who will not have an ego on gamedays.

Mattingly would fit the bill. Please do not talk about his lack of experience. Any manager can manage a team with the payroll the Yankees have.

If a manager has plenty of talent to work with he can get by. We saw that with Girardi last year.

The Yankees manager made dubious decisions when it came to pitching in October. Fortunately for him, his hitters bailed him out.

It also helped that CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Andy Pettitte managed to win games in October.

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If Girardi was not blessed with talent he would just be another manager and nothing more.

Want to know how players look good? Look back to Boston's manager Terry Francona. Philadelphia sports fans perceived him as a dumb manager when he lost in Philly. Yet he is now viewed as a great manager because he won two championships in Boston.

Does a manager make that much of a difference? All a manager can do is have his team sharp when the game begins.

Other than that, it comes down to what the players do within the white lines.

There is a good reason the Yankees are not in a rush to sign Girardi to an extension. They know he is replaceable. If anything, he should be begging to stay on rather than using the Cubs as leverage.

That would be a bad strategy on Girardi's part, especially if the Yankees miss out on the playoffs for the second time in three years under his stewardship. Don't laugh at that prospect.

The Yankees are nicked up with injuries. Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner can't seem to move, Mark Teixiera's foot limits his ability to hit, and Alex Rodriguez has not been productive thanks to a hip issue.

Their hitters don't scare elite pitchers. The Yankees strike out often these days at a high ratio.

Outside of CC Sabathia, no one in the rotation scares anyone. The Yankees are banking on Andy Pettitte, but what if he can't be good enough after being activated from the disabled list?

The schedule does the team no favors. The Orioles, Rays, Blue Jays, and the Red Sox know what it takes to beat the Yankees this year.

With the Red Sox six games out in the division and six 1/2 games out for the wild card, they can make a run of their own. At this point, there's more trust on the Red Sox than the Yankees to make the playoffs.

What's alarming is Girardi is not responding to the situation well. He has been moody with reporters. He talked about how the pennant race is work. He has had a quick hook with the pitchers if they screw up.

Is this want the Yankees want to see from their leader?

This type of attitude rubs off on the players. Girardi was able to relax last year because his players were never hurt and they played great all year.

When there is first sign of trouble, the Yankees manager is tense.

It is not going to get any better next year. The Rays will take a step back with defections, but the Orioles, Blue Jays, and the Red Sox are not going anywhere. Expect those three teams to improve.

How will Girardi handle it? Do the Yankees trust him to lead? This year's experience will speak volumes about him.

We also question Girardi's bullpen use. It's nice he wants to rest his relievers, but this is September. Every game is important. If the Yankees lose these games, the Red Sox will gain more games.

The Yankees should be trying to win these games. The more they win, they can exterminate the Rays. Then, they can go rest their players.

That's how a team should do it. For Girardi to think the wild-card spot is a safety net, that's wrong. Nothing is guaranteed.

If this strategy costs his team the postseason, the Yankees should fire him outright.

Does anyone think Mattingly would do this? Don't think so. Rest assured, he would play to win the game and worry about the other stuff when he has to.

Plus, he would embrace the games in September instead of pouting like a spoiled brat.

Mattingly would have been a better choice to manage the Yankees when the team decided to end their relationship with Torre. He would have been a great choice to take over for Girardi.

It is the Yankees' loss.

They are stuck with Girardi or whoever for better or for worse.

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