Two key spots in the lineup that did not perform up to the Yankees expectations this season: Derek Jeter batting leadoff and Mark Teixeira in the pivotal No. 3 hole.
This afternoon, Joe Girardi was asked specifically about the top of the lineup, but he turned the question into a second-guessing of the entire lineup.
“I think we have to look at our whole lineup when we go into next season,” Girardi said. “I don’t think you just look at the leadoff spot. I think you look at every slot and how our club is made up. You always talk about that you can’t look at one guy independently. You have to look at all of your guys and how the parts fit. Our lineup is something that could maybe change a little next year.”
Girardi didn’t go into detail, but obviously Robinson Cano emerged as potential No. 3 hitter. Brett Gardner emerged as a leadoff candidate. Nick Swisher had a season, and Curtis Granderson had a half season, that suggest they might be capable of playing significant roles (they were in those roles at the end, but not the beginning). How the Yankees fill their designated hitter spot will surely also play a role in determining a batting order.
“I think you have to look at all the parts we have next year, and do we think about changing it?” Girardi said. “Who’s going to DH for us most of the time? You try to split up all your lefties. I think you evaluate your lineup every year similar to what we did from 2009 to 2010. The parts are going to be different again in 2011.”
• Girardi said he never thought seriously about the job opening in Chicago. He enrolled his kids in school this year, fully expecting to stay in New York beyond this season.
• Girardi on the possibility of not returning: “We thought we were going to be here. I thought the Yankees would want me to come back. That was what we talked about. As I told my wife and everyone involved, I need to concentrate on what’s going on here. I can’t worry about where I’m going to be next year. That’s not something me and my wife have really ever done. She’s really good at focusing on what’s going on. We really didn’t talk about it much.”
• Girardi does not expect any other changes to the coaching staff. “I don’t think so,” he said. “Obviously contracts have to be worked out but i’m not really anticipating any other changes.”
• CC Sabathia’s knee problems had no impact on the decision not to start him on short rest in Game 6. “No it did not,” Girardi said. “(The injury) was early in the season.” Don’t forget, Girardi was planning to start Sabathia on short rest in the division series if that went four games.
• Girardi was once again asked about the possibility of moving Jeter away from shortstop. “I think you have to watch on the level that he plays at,” Girardi said. “That’s the fair thing. I don’t think you rush to any judgment and assume that because he’s this age, it’s going to be this.”
• Girardi on the pitching coach opening: “We want to get it done as quickly as possible, but we want to make sure we cover all of our bases and want to make sure we interview as many people as we need to before we make a decision. When it comes to a pitching coach, mechanics, communication, relationships with the pitchers — you think about the dynamics of your team, usually 12 of your players are pitchers. That’s half of your team. I think that becomes very important.??”
• Girardi on the perception that he was more of a people-person last year: “I think anytime you win, everything seems to be right, and anytime you don’t win, there’s going to be people that say, ‘Well, this is the reason why.’ I feel like obviously I had a better relationship with my players after I had some time with them because of the experiences that we went through… I thought I was pretty much the same person, but we did not win this year. Whenever that happens, it seems to be a different tone.”
• Girardi on why the Giants are having success against the Rangers: “You think about how Cliff Lee pitched against us, and you say to yourself, ‘Well, he didn’t pitch (the way he pitched in World Series Game 1) against us!’ Those are the things that you think about. Yesterday was a pretty well pitched game, (Wilson) left because he had a blister. We didn’t necessarily swing the bats particularly well with runners in scoring position. That’s no secret. A lot of people say that’s a pretty arbitrary number, but we didn’t swing the bats well and San Francisco has.”
Associated Press photos of Jeter and Girardi