Yankees Going With Measured Response to Postseason Chaos

No explosions of rage after dismal end to the Yankee season

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Oct 23, 2012  |  Updated 11:21 AM EDT
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Rock Stars: Then and Now

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Girardi's cool approach went out the window in the playoffs.

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Joe Girardi has long seemed like the perfect manager for the post-George Steinbrenner Yankees.

His statistical analysis and the moves it recommends has represented a big break from the Joe Torre days of sitting back and letting the game dictate itself. It has also served to mirror a front office that no longer chases big names and changes course as a result of defeats or slumps. 

It's a more cerebral, less emotional response to the game of baseball and one that is playing out in the aftermath of their miserable showing against the Tigers in the ALCS. Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman have both made it clear that there's no rush to change course in the coming months, a decision that only feels odd because of the way Hal's father used to run the show. 

The current course is hard to argue with too strenuously. Yes, the Yankees need to get younger and more athletic than presently composed but this was still a 95-win team that slipped on a banana peel at the worst possible moment. 

Only a fan base and media as entitled as the one around the Yankees could look at such a year and find only disappointment. And only a media looking for the juiciness of a story above all else could surmise the situation and conclude that we need Big Stein back on the scene throwing out the baby with the bath water. 

That's the take being presented by Filip Bondy of the Daily News, who points (with tongue somewhat in cheek or so we imagine) to the empty seats at Yankee Stadium as a sign that the team has become too boring in recent years. 

We can think of plenty of other reasons for the empty seats, starting with the extraordinary pricing structure, but we'd still reach for the entitlement born of success as an emotional explanation than the team being boring. And we'd be asking different questions than where is the outrage in the wake of the playoff collapse. 

We'd be asking why Girardi, with the full support of Cashman and Steinbrenner, veered so completely off the measured path when things started going sour in the postseason. The emotional value of benching Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson far exceeded the baseball value of the moves, something that has not been Girardi's way in the past.

The A-Rod move was the most egregious since it seemed to serve no real purpose other than blowing an issue up for tabloid consumption. A-Rod was an easy target and benching him was hard to defend as a decision made by a team that was just trying to win. 

Let's be clear that Girardi's moves didn't cost the Yankees the series. That's all on the players and Derek Jeter's injury and the play of the Tigers and Orioles, who, contrary to popular belief, had plenty to do with the outcomes. 

The moves magnified the drama just before the team went the other route in response to what went down on the field. While you wouldn't expect Cashman to lay all his cards on the table right away, it's hard to reconcile the G.M. who went with Girardi's dartboard lineups with the man who said that there aren't any roster-shaking moves in the offing. 

If you want to muse about the Yankees organization, the issue isn't the lack of explosiveness nearly as much as the lack of nerve when the season came crashing down around them. That goes for the players, the manager and the front office, and it is something they'll need to straighten out before the next season gets underway. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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