Regardless of how you feel in reference to strategy, is it such a terrible thing for a manager to use his $35 million set-up man with a—dare I say it?—greater than 3-run lead? Girardi’s explanation that he wanted his best guy out on the mound because of the Twins potential to pinch hit with Justin Morneau and Jim Thome was sound; as was his decision to remove Sabathia after the pitcher had thrown 104 pitches on a chilly night. There’s no viable argument against it other than classic second-guessing.
The focus on Girardi is a distraction from Soriano.
He pitched poorly. No big deal. But it was his actions following the game that raised eyebrows and caused concern about his already shaky makeup for New York.
In this NY Times story, Soriano explained that he was embarrassed and felt badly for ruining the win for Sabathia.
But he has to speak to the media.
He has to.
There’s no way around that fact and he should’ve realized this when he signed with the Yankees—that he was going to blow a game here and there and would need to answer questions in its aftermath.
The Yankees have tread cautiously around Soriano since he signed. It didn’t help that GM Brian Cashman openly admitted to not wanting the pitcher; they let him make his own schedule in the spring and basically left him alone.
If you’re going to get special treatment, two things have to be accepted as part of that package of enabling: you’d better get the job done more often than not; and you’d better answer the questions when you don’t.
Soriano did neither.
As I said before the season, Soriano will pitch well the majority of the time; when he doesn’t, he’d better answer the questions and I’m not prepared to say he’s learned his lesson. He will blow a game again; he might run from the reporters.
Is this evidence of Soriano being a “bad guy”?
Is it evidence of him being ill-suited for New York?
Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide is available and will be useful for your fantasy leagues all season long. It’s not a “preview”; it’s a guide.
I published a full excerpt of my book here.
If anyone would like to purchase an autographed copy, leave a comment; Email me; contact me on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll hash out the details.
I’ve started a Facebook fan page if you’d like to check it out. It’s a work in progress because I’m technically, um….dumb when it comes to building sites and stuff.