It’s been exactly three months since Joe Girardi sat behind a microphone at Yankee Stadium and delivered his end-of-the-season press conference. His team had just lost in the division series, and there was plenty of uncertainty about the return of his ace, the health of his third baseman and the offseason approach of his front office.
Here are a few of Girardi’s comments that day, along with the way these issues have so far played out this offseason.
On the most pressing need this offseason
“The one need that we’re going to have to address again is our rotation, there’s no doubt about it. You have two guys that are free agents, you have another guy that can opt-out, so that’s the one thing that we’re going to have to address. Similar to what we had to do for this year. It probably all starts with CC, and then you go from there.”
It did all start with CC, and once the Yankees had Sabathia locked up, they moved on to re-sign Freddy Garcia. Essentially, the Yankees have brought back the same rotation they had at the end of last year, but they have not upgraded it. As it stands, upgrading will depend on improvement from individual pitchers.
On the future of Jorge Posada
“Whenever Jorge does decide to call it quits — and if this was it — we’re going to miss him. No doubt about it. We’re going to miss that intensity and what he brought to the game every day. Someone’s going to have to bring that or their own personality.”
We now know that Posada will call it quits this winter, and I can’t help wondering if some of his personality returns in the form of Russell Martin. Their personalities don’t seem to be the same off the field, but on the field, Martin is a passionate, hard-nosed player much like Posada, and he likes to work very closely with his pitching staff.
On Alex Rodriguez’s health concerns
“His meniscus tear is kind of a freak thing. That’s not something that you necessarily worry about. If it’s a ligament or something that’s stretched, yeah, you worry. But meniscus tears happen all the time, people come back, and it’s something that can never happen again. But he is older, and (playing time) is something that, as the manager, I have to manage.”
Rodriguez had the relatively minor surgical procedures last month, but the team continues to say that he’s healthy and expected to 100 percent when players report to spring training. That said, he was 100 percent last spring as well. Keeping Rodriguez healthy remains a crucial part of this team.
On whether Hughes and Nova are rotation locks
“I would assume that they both would be part of our rotation, but I can’t tell you what they’re going to do this winter or how they’re going to come in and perform. That’s the one thing I can’t tell you. But going in, I would think they’re going to be a part of our rotation.”
Right now, you can bank on both of them. The Yankees haven’t made nearly enough moves to suggest either Nova or Hughes is being bumped from the rotation. There’s still a solid chance they’ll find some back-of-the-rotation depth that might challenge for a spot, but as it stands, Nova and Hughes are key pieces with no proven alternatives.
Associated Press photo