Yankees: Girardi meets the press

Joe Girardi.

After 36 minutes and nearly 50 questions, no real news emerged from Joe Girardi’s first press conference in the wake of a disappointing ALDS loss to Detroit.

Girardi’s first press briefing since Thursday’s loss focused on the failure of the middle of the lineup to get the big hit that would have avoided the series loss. The most major topic, though, focused on an offseason plan centered on improving the starting pitching.

Starting pitching would play an increased role in the offseason if CC Sabathia opts out of the seven-year, $161 million contract he signed after 2008 and decides to go elsewhere. Even if the opt-out happens, retaining Sabathia would be a major priority.

Sabathia’s contract has $92 million remaining and since he is just 31, the open market figures to put his worth past the $100 million mark, especially since Cliff Lee and Johan Santana have received that type of money from the Phillies and Mets respectively.

“He’s extremely important to our rotation,” Girardi said. “We rely on him heavily in what he’s done the last three years. As a free-agent signing goes, it’s been spectacular. I can’t imagine what it would be like without him. I don’t want to imagine what it would be like without him. Time’s going to tell what’s going to happen here. It seems to be a place that he really likes.”

Beyond Sabathia, Girardi said that he would be content entering spring training with Ivan Nova, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes and a competition for the fifth spot behind. Based on that, it would seem that Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia would use their free agency to possibly go elsewhere.

“The one need that we’re going to have to address again is our rotation, there’s no doubt about it,” Girardi said. “You have two guys that are free agents, you have another guy that can opt-out, so that’s the one thing that we’re going to have to address. Similar to what we had to do for this year. It probably all starts with CC and then you go from there.”

If that is how the rotation turns out on opening day 2012, the Yankees will have Nova, who has a minor forearm strain, Burnett who seemingly is in a never-ending battle to find consistency and Hughes, who wasn’t healthy most of last season, but won 18 games in 2010. The fifth spot could go to someone such as Hector Noesi, who impressed the team in long relief, or one of several minor league prospects such as Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances.

If the Yankees do not make a major trade for starting pitching, the biggest free agent is Texas lefty C.J. Wilson. The second-best free agent starting pitcher is White Sox lefty Mark Buehrle and then there is a significant drop into mediocrity.

The Yankees figured they would address those things in November, but because they could not get the big hit from the middle of their lineup, they get a few more weeks to start planning for next season.

“We all know what the goal is here,” Girardi said. “We didn’t reach our goal, that’s the bottom line. Did we have some good things happen? Yeah. But collectively, we didn’t reach our goal. We go into spring training every year — we go into the winter every year — and the expectation is to win the World Series. If you don’t reach that, it’s considered not getting your job done.”

Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher for all your offseason news on the Bronx Bombers.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Astoria minivan crash kills 1, injures 6: NYPD

Anthony Boyd, 45, died soon after what investigators believe was some sort of medical emergency as he drove his family through Astoria on Sunday afternoon.

Local

NYC pension funds valued at $160b: Scott Stringer

The five NYC pension funds that thousands of city employees contribute to saw its fifth year in a row of increased returns, up $23 billion from last year.

Local

Man dies trapped in elevator shaft at Bronx…

A man in his twenties died after being trapped in an elevator shaft of a Bronx building early Monday, police said.

International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Tech

Amazon offers 3D printing to customize earrings, bobble…

By Deepa SeetharamanSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc will offer 3D printing services that allow customers to customize and build earrings, bobble head toys and…

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…