ORLANDO, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Not even a World Series title would have saved Joe Girardi’s job managing the New York Yankees.
Owner Hal Steinbrenner revealed the decision to end Girardi’s tenure after a decade had long been discussed before the move was announced Oct. 26, five days after the season-ending loss to Houston in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.
A 28th title wouldn’t have caused Steinbrenner to change his mind.
“I’m sure there would have been more pressure,” Steinbrenner said Wednesday. “It maybe would have been a more difficult decision to make, but I still believe I would have made it because I felt that’s what’s best for the organization going forward.”
Speaking after he arrived for a major league owners’ meeting, Steinbrenner said he had spoken regularly with general manager Brian Cashman about the manager’s job throughout Girardi’s four-year contract.
“This is not something that came from two or three weeks.” Steinbrenner said. “It came from two, three, four years and everything we observed in that time period.”
Cashman last week attributed the decision to Girardi’s “ability to fully engage, communicate, connect with the playing personnel.” Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and Luis Severino have led a roster overhaul, and Steinbrenner thinks infielders Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, along with pitcher Chance Adams, could be with their team at the start of next season or not too much later.
“You’ve got to consider the fact that you have a young team and that maybe a different type of leadership perhaps is needed for a younger team than it is for a veteran team,” he said.
Bench coach Rob Thomson and former Cleveland and Seattle manager Eric Wedge already have been interviewed, and Aaron Boone and Hensley Meulens could follow in coming days. Steinbrenner expects the initial field to be less than 10, and finalists will move on to a second round of interviews in Tampa that include Steinbrenner and his siblings.
“It’s important for the next manager to have an understanding on analytics, because it’s such a big part of the game, and if they don’t, at least a willingness to learn,” Steinbrenner said.
He is wary, but not opposed, to candidates with no previous managing or coaching experience.
“Presidential candidates normally are senators or governors,” he said.
Alex Rodriguez has not asked to be considered. Now that A-Rod’s $275 million, 10-year contract has expired, Steinbrenner would like to reach a new deal with him to instruct with prospects.
“He’s very good with the young players and they look up to him,” Steinbrenner said. “We’ve got a lot of good shortstops and middle infielders down below as well as up top.”
Steinbrenner said Andujar could wind up starting at third base, where Chase Headley started last season. He was supplanted by Todd Frazier, who became a free agent.
“We’ve got guys at Double-A that are going to move quickly to Triple-A, I think, and we’ve got guys at Triple-A that may need a month or two there and they may be ready,” Steinbrenner said.
He remains intent on the Yankees finishing 2018 below next year’s luxury tax threshold of $197 million, which would reset New York’s base tax rate from 50 percent to 20 percent in 2019 — the season after Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and possibly Clayton Kershaw are eligible for free agency.
“I believe it’s very attainable,” he said.
New York was last under $200 million in 2003, the year the tax began.
“Their revenue is almost triple, over double what it was 10, 15 years ago,” agent Scott Boras said. “The fact that their payroll is going to be under what it was 10 or 15 years ago is really something that everyone in the game has to look at and consider as to what are their goals.”
NOTES: Steinbrenner says Cashman wants to stay as GM and he wants him to remain but they haven’t had time to reach a new deal. … New York’s decision to move the start times of Monday-Thursday night April home games up 30 minutes to 6:35 p.m. could lead to all evening games beginning earlier in future years. “I want to see how it goes and then that absolutely might be the case,” Steinbrenner said.
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