The Whole Girardi/Soriano SituationPosted: April 7, 2011
I know this happened a couple of days ago, but it still somewhat of a hot topic amoung Yankee fans. In a 4-0 game, Joe Girardi went to Rafael Soriano to pitch the eighth, his normal eighth inning guy. His reasoning for this was that he thought Soriano was the best option for preserving the lead heading into the ninth inning. This would allow him to give Mariano Rivera a day off. Of course it backfired and Soriano gave up the lead. Yankee fans saw this as another mismanagement of the pen by the skipper.
I beg to differ. I had no problem with Soriano being brought in to pitch the eighth, although I would have gone to Robertson. It is much easier in hindsight to say that Girardi was wrong, but his reasoning is correct. The idea of a save situation is so stupid. A three run lead and a four run lead should be treated the same way and he was just trying to keep the foot on the pedal and put the game away.
Now that we’re done with that, let’s move on to the way Soriano reacted. After the game, he very quickly got changed and left the stadium without speaking to anyone, including media. Joel Sherman of the NY Post writes:
After his first meltdown as a Yankee, which led to a 5-4 Minnesota triumph in 10 innings last night, Soriano vanished. He never came to his locker. A flustered Yankees media relations official conceded Soriano probably dressed quickly and departed, leaving others to explain his ineffectiveness.
This would not be quite as big a deal if Soriano’s reputation were closer to pristine. But in previous stops in Atlanta and Tampa Bay, he was known for being prickly, reclusive, determined not to be used in any way, but how he thought fit. Last year he expected, for example, to be deployed only for a full inning in save situations.
Here, Sherman brings up the issue of Soriano not being fully invested in his work because it was not a close game. This was something that was a question when he played for the Rays. This is something that we should probably keep an eye on.
Brian Cashman and Randy Levine found this to be a pretty big issue as they contacted Soriano’s agent, Scott Boras, to address the situation. Rafael apologized and Joe Girardi said it wasn’t an issue in the clubhouse. Don’t expect Soriano’s on-field performance to suffer.
So there we have the first controversy of the season. Nothing unusual though as a manager will be questioned wherever he is and players will always have their bad days. Let’s just hope this is all put behind them.