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Is Joe Girardi Too Protective of His Veteran Players?

I previously posted that I was surprised of the Yankees 1st place standing in June, so you can see that I am more surprised of what has transpired with this team since mid-June until present.

They have gone from a surprising team to a very disappointing team. The Yankees are presently in 2nd place in the east at 45-40, 3 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox. The bullpen has been terrible blowing 7 and 8 inning leads on a consistent basis. Tyler Clippard is the main culprit with Dellin Betances not far behind. The starters have been okay, especially Jordan Montgomery who has been pitching pretty well, and Luis Severino has been okay.

Masahiro Tanaka appears to be back on track with two very good outings and CC Sabathia has returned from the disabled list and had a bad outing but that was to be expected.

Not to my surprise Michael Pineda has returned to the Michael Pineda of last year. He has been giving up home runs and probably leads the league in how much he sweats during his difficult outings. We always hear from Girardi that he is a tick off and that explains why he is struggling. I believe Pineda just doesn’t have what it takes to pitch in New York. A pitcher with his stuff should not be this bad, making mistake after mistake to each batter.

I feel Pineda needs to be moved at the trading deadline even if he becomes a star somewhere else. I don’t believe he will become a consistent pitcher in New York.

Ivan Nova is an example of a pitcher who struggled in New York and is now pitching very well in Pittsburgh.

Lets get back to the relief pitchers. Tyler Clippard has been horrible. On Friday he entered the Milwaukee Brewers game with the Brewers having two runners on 2nd and third and one out. Clippard immediately threw a wild pitch bringing in the Brewers third run, with the Yankees were leading 4-2 at the time. He then gave up a sac fly for the tying run. Now in the 7th he imploded, by walking three men and giving up a grand slam. What was amazing in that inning was that Chasen Shreve was ready to pitch to the lefty batter (Shaw) and Girardi left Clippard in to walk Shaw intentionally to pitch to the next batter who hit the grand slam.

Why wasn’t Shreve brought in to pitch to Shaw. After walking three guys I don’t think Clippard deserved the opportunity to pitch himself out of that inning. Clippard has an ERA over 16 since June 13 when he was instrumental in the Yankees going 1-8 on the West Coast road trip, blowing several 8 inning leads.

Adam Warren would have been a better choice but he was not available only having one days rest. For goodness sake, the All Star break is coming, why is Girardi so worried about resting guys. I know Joe Torre was in the habit of blowing out his relief pitchers arms by using them a lot but he did win 4 World Series didn’t he. Girardi babies his relief pitchers too much. Let them pitch.

For example while Aroldis Chapman was on the DL, Betances the closer pitched only four times. When he finally came in to pitch his mechanics were all out of whack. Yesterday was the first time Betances has looked like himself. He needs to pitch often as in years past, forget about resting them, some power pitchers like Betances and Chapman need to pitch more often.

If they keep blowing 7th and 8th innings leads the younger players begin to believe they are losers. If Clippard is not the answer, then go in another direction. He has to be perfect to succeed, not like Betances and Chapman who can make a mistake and still succeed.

Now lets talk about the position players. I admit not having Starlin Castro, Matt Holiday and Aaron Hicks has hurt the Yankees but you bring up a youngster third baseman Miguel Andujar and he gets three hits, drives in four runs in his first game and you don’t see him again. Meanwhile you continue to play Chase Headley who has been an offensive disaster. We stick with him because he was signed by Cashman to a 4 year/60 million dollar contract. He has not been able to justify that signing, but Cashman makes a statement the other day that Headley is our third baseman no matter what. Thank goodness next year is his walk year.

Last but not least the 7 year/156 million dollar man, Jacob Ellsbury. Again another mistake by Cashman. We are stuck with him for another three years. He has also been a disaster. We have young kids that need to play, one is Clint Frazier who hit a game winning home run on Saturday. What happens when Hicks comes back after the break, Frazier goes back down and we continue to see Ellsbury. As fans we love to see the youngsters play and produce, look at Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. If we are going to continue losing we need to bring up the youngsters and get rid of the older players, especially Clippard, Ellsbury and Headley who continuously remind us of some of the bad contracts the Yankees have signed.

I don’t want to see another 5, 7 year contract signed by the Yankees because most of them have been disasters. I rather watch a young guy play and hustle then to watch players such as Gardner who refuses to steal a bases and has been making numerous on base mistakes as well as Headley who leads the league in getting caught off base, at least he leads the league in something.

I believe with Hicks and Castro leading the way this team will develop into a winning team especially with their two new superstars Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez developing into monster players.

Elias is a native of the Bronx, NY and a lifelong baseball fan. In High School, he once pitched a gem on the same field as Ed Kranepool and grew up rooting for both the Mets and the Yankees. Elias is a retired NYPD and Ocala, FL Detective and spends his quality time with family and writing about the game he loves.

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