In the second week of the offseason, the Yankees got their first major signing out of the way.
On Wednesday, the Yankees agreed to a new four-year deal with manager Joe Girardi. If he stays through the length of the new contract, Girardi will have managed in New York for a full decade, guiding the team during a period of significant transition for the franchise.
“It was something that I definitely thought about, what would the New York Yankees look like in 2014 and beyond?” Girardi said. “For me, I want to be part of it. I want to be part of getting back to being on top, and that was important to me. Nothing is easy in this game. Sometimes it hinges on you getting a base hit here or there, whether you make the World Series, and I want to be a part of us getting back to where I think we should be.”
It’s universally acknowledged that part of that transition will have to be a new emphasis on player development and finding new, young Yankees to replace the old guard from the late-90s dynasty.
“I favor the best players, is what I favor,” Girardi said. “Sometimes it’s an older player, sometimes it’s a younger player. I had a chance to manage in Miami, and I think during the course of the year we had 23 or 25 rookies. I loved it. I loved working with the kids. Me favoring one player over the other because of age, I’m not sure where that came about. To me, I want the best player.”
• Speaking to Erik Boland of Newsday, catcher Francisco Cervelli opened up about his decision to use performance enhancing drugs and the way he’s reacted in the wake of his suspension. “When you’re desperate or anxious or scared, that’s when you have to step back, slow down and think about what can happen in the future with your actions in the present,” Cervelli said.
• Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner made a pair of rare media appearances, granting a pair of radio interviews in which he said the usual stuff about cutting payroll — remember, it’s a goal, not a mandate — and saying the team is working to improve the player development system.
• The radio interviews were fairly light on details, but Steinbrenner did specifically say that the Yankees are not willing to give Robinson Cano a 10-year deal this winter. “I don’t feel that this organization is ready to do something like that,” Steinbrenner said.
• With Girardi under contract, the Yankees are expected to bring back their coaching staff. The New York Post reported that Larry Rothschild is already close to a new deal.
• The past week included a lot of Yankees stories coming out of the Chicago. Most of them had to do with Girardi, but one in particular focused on Curtis Granderson. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the White Sox are expected to make a “hard push” to sign Granderson this offseason.
• The Alex Rodriguez hearing was on hold for the week, so we’ll have to wait for the next batch of screaming A-Rod fans outside of the league office.
• No surprise, Cano was named the Yankees finalist for the Hank Aaron Award, which is ultimately given to the top offensive player in each league. Cano won’t win the award itself, but he was the obvious choice from the Yankees.
• For you prospect followers out there, the Arizona Fall League got started, and vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman revealed that Tyler Austin — still one of the Yankees top offensive prospects — will return to the infield while playing in the Fall League. Austin will still play the outfield, but he’s going to see some more time at first and third.
• Newman also said that Dellin Betances will probably not be allowed to play winter ball this offseason. Michael Pineda and Manny Banuelos will also sit out winter ball. The Yankees think those two have thrown enough this year.
Associated Press photos