Bob Klapisch at NorthJersey.com offers a very good, insightful take on Manny Ramirez, Girardi and why he thinks the two won’t mix. While rehashing the by now well-known incidents involving Ramirez’s quitting on the Red Sox last year (not for the first time, I’d contend; see his disappearing act in the last month of 2006), Klapisch has some telling perspectives on Girardi. He contends that Girardi needs to loosen up, that his uptight, surly demeanor didn’t go over well in the Yankee clubhouse, with Girardi giving his team the “death stare” and at times not speaking with them after games, according to Klapisch. Torre had his peccadillos, not the least of which was his (mis-)handling of the bullpen. Yet Torre had no problem relating to and getting the most out of his players.
At the same time, Klapish questions the degree to which Girardi is capable of lightening up on the team at the same time that said team–as it is currently comprised–will be expected to contend with an offense that has significant question marks–age, Posada returning from injury, Cano returning from an off year offensively, and hitting abysmally in the clutch. This says nothing about the fact that, currently without Giambi and Abreu, the Yankees need to in some way replace their combined 52 HR, 196 RBI. I’m not of the opinion that the Yankees cannot win unless they get those numbers from others. There are many ways to generate runs. However, on an aging team with Nady and Swisher currently expected to replace those two, as well as uncertainty in center field, the Yankees have a good many concerns on offense. As is, shifting course and embracing the running game sounds good and is possible, but the team is not quite built as the Angels of recent years have been–speed, taking the extra base, using the opposite field, relying on making contact–to easily make such a transition.
Ramirez may be a tempting option because of his prodigious production. However, and not for the first time, I don’t consider him a good option at all. He’s a quitter, a sulker, selfish, ostentatious, and distracted. Keep him and accept the consequences. I have no doubt that the alternative–living with Ramirez and putting up with all his ridiculous nonsense for a few years–would be much worse.