Does Girardi Have it Out for the Red Sox?
Yankee fans should be proud of their skipper. While it could certainly be a coincidence, it’s starting to look like Joe Girardi is doing everything in his power to keep Red Sox players out of the 2010 MLB All-Star Game. Does the rivalry have anything to do with it? We’ll never know, but let’s speculate a little for fun.
During a Monday afternoon press conference, the American League All-Star manager announced that Rangers third baseman Michael Young would replace Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre on the AL roster. The only problem with that is Beltre — who tweaked his hamstring in a game against Toronto on Sunday — never said he wasn’t going to play. Players are allowed to wait until very close to the actual game to make a decision, which is probably what Beltre plans on doing. Even MLB spokesperson Phyllis Merhige couldn’t provide a clear answer as to how Girardi thought Beltre backed out:
Clearly it was a communication misunderstanding. Michael Young is the next guy on the player voting, so if Adrian Beltre can’t play it’s Michael Young. But Adrian had said all along he was going to make a decision about how he felt. I don’t know where Joe got it from. Maybe I miscommunicated it.”
Trying to rush him, Joe? Maybe. Realistically, he was probably just being considerate and assumed that the Sox wouldn’t want Beltre to risk hurting himself considering how many injuries they’re already dealing with. That’s not all, however.
Paul Konerko over Kevin Youkilis, really? Statistically, it makes sense. But if you know the game — and you clearly do if you’re the manager of the defending World Series champions — you know that Kevin Youkilis is a better player. Youkilis is hitting .293 with a .406 on-base percentage, 18 home runs, and 57 RBIs. Konerko is hitting .299 with a .382 on-base percentage, 20 homers, and 63 RBIs. Girardi went with Konerko, and here’s how he defended his decision, via the Boston Globe:
It’s a hard choice to make. I could have taken him or Youkilis,’’ Girardi said. “Konerko’s hitting slightly higher, has a couple more home runs and couple more RBIs. I went with Konerko. They both deserve to be there; that’s the problem with this.’’’
I’ll give him credit for saying both deserve to be there, but the explanation he gave for choosing Konerko makes him sound like the common fan. When Nick Swisher beat Youkilis by a small margin in the fan voting for the final AL spot and Justin Morneau was ruled out with a concussion, I assumed Youkilis was a lock to replace him. One of the reasons the fan-voting system for the MLB All-Star game is so flawed is that the common fan looks only at a player’s home run and RBI stats. It’s up to the manager to look past that stuff and take everything else into account in order to get the right guys there as reserves. Is the fact that Kevin Youkilis plays for the Red Sox the reason he isn’t in the 2010 All-Star Game? I doubt it. But I don’t doubt that it made Girardi’s decision a slightly easier one.