After falling one game short of the World Series in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, the Yankees have decided to part ways with manager Joe Girardi. The former Yank had spent the last decade at the helm of the Bronx Bombers, finishing with a record of 910-710, and one World Series ring, won in 2009. With the move, the Yankees are in need of someone to fill one of the most prestigious gigs in baseball, as well as one of the most high-pressure jobs in all of sports. While there are plenty of qualified candidates, the Yankees should look no further than that 2009 World Series team to find the perfect man for the job: Alex Rodriguez.
The man known as A-Rod is uniquely qualified to follow up the generally-successful Girardi era. He was just on the team last year, and so has a rapport with the players and staff, as well as a great understanding of the roster–its strengths and its weaknesses. In addition, for the next few years, he will have an insider’s persepctive, as he played against a large portion of the MLB during his 20-plus-year career.
By getting rid of Girardi after what should be considered a successful season, the Yankees are declaring that they want new blood, and new ideas, for their roster of Baby Bombers. They want the players to feel like they have their guy, someone they can relate to and will play hard for. Girardi had his fair share of struggles with player relations and communications; simply put, classy though he was, he wasn’t well liked in the clubhouse.
When most of the young core of the Yankees were in Little League, A-Rod was one of baseball’s premier players. That pedigree makes it easier for the younger players to not only respect him, but also his knowledge of the game. A-Rod also comes in with the natural advantage of being bilingual; specifically, Yankee fans should be excited to have their former slugger teaching centerpiece catcher Gary Sánchez.
Sanchez and Girardi didn’t have the best relationship, despite Joe being a former catcher himself; there was drama in the dog days of August that rang as loud as any New York baseball story can. Sánchez’s defensive struggles have been well documented, and having a manager he can trust and communicate with might make the 24-year-old catcher more receptive to coaching. Plus, A-Rod could call on his old teammate Jorge Posada to help the young catcher through growing pains behind the plate; after all, Rodriguez already reportedly helped Sánchez out of a hitting slump this past season.
As if that weren’t enough, A-Rod has been proving during these playoffs that he is both affable and knowledgeable when removed from the day-to-day of playing under the New York lights. He has proved in his short time as an analyst and media personality for the MLB on Fox that he has a keen understanding of the game and all of its nuances. Plus, who could watch him trying to troll Big Papi without cracking a smile?
You can also tell from his time on TV that A-Rod still loves the game, and that he wants to be a part of it in any way he can. And there’s no doubting his love for the Yankees; he’s been very vocal about how much he loves the team, and has taken any chance he could to champion them. There’s a good chance he would be the most enthusiastic candidate coming into interviews. Add in the fact that the Yankees are still technically paying him for his last playing deal, and the move makes too much sense to not happen.
While current first base coach Tony Pena, former coach Willie Randolph, and current Triple A manager Al Pedrique all have the resumés to take over, the Yankees could swing for the fences by hiring a younger, fresher candidate. With Derek Jeter taking a stab at owning the trainwreck that is the Miami Marlins, that leaves A-Rod as a prime candidate to swoop in and take on what is likely his dream job. Make it happen, Yanks.