By Wallace Matthews
NEW YORK — Joe Girardi touched on a wide variety of topics in a 36-minute press conference at Yankee Stadium on Monday. But one of the most eagerly-anticipated questions got no definitive answer.
Namely, will all of Girardi’s coaches return for 2015? And in particular, will hitting coach Kevin Long, the object of Yankee fan wrath this season for the club’s anemic offense, be back on the bench?
“The one thing that’s done here every year is we’re all evaluated on what we do,” Girardi said. “That will be done shortly, I’m sure. But it’s what, 20 hours since we played a game or whatever it is? We haven’t had a chance to sit down and talk about it. I’m sure I’m being evaluated as well.”
Girardi said he had “a close relationship” with all his coaches, but couldn’t guarantee that all of them will be back. Asked specifically about Long, Girardi praised his work ethic and said he saw no difference in Long’s approach to his job this year, when the Yankees scored just 633 runs, or in 2009, when the scored 915 runs and won the World Series.
“For me, he works tirelessly,” Girardi said. “He’s always working with the guys on their swings, he’s looking at tape, but as I said, we’re all being evaluated. We’ve missed the playoffs two years in a row. That’s part of being a coach.”
Girardi gave his best: Asked for a self-evaluation after the Yankees’ second straight year of missing the postseason, Girardi said, “Well, we didn’t get to where we want, so I’ve always shouldered the responsibility. The bottom line is we didn’t get to where we want. And for that I’m very disappointed. So I don’t really think too long and hard about what people say about me. I gave my best effort, I know that, on a day-in-and-day-out basis. That’s all I can do. And if that’s not good enough … well, I accept that.”
Girardi just completed the first of a four-year, $16 million contract.
Offense will be better in 2015: So says Girardi, although he said that just about every day of the season as the Yankees fell further and further into the abyss.
“I really still believe that there’s enough talent in that room, when you put all the pieces on the field, to score runs. I do,” Girardi said. “We didn’t do it enough this year. I understand that. But still believe there’s enough talent in that room, and time is going to tell. We’re going to have 150 days to think about it and then we’re going to have about 45 days to get ready and then we’re at it. And we’re going to find out.”
New faces coming?: Girardi said he expects the Yankees will add at least one free agent in the offseason. “I’m sure there will be some pieces added,” he said. “I can’t tell you exactly what, but I don’t remember the last time the Yankees haven’t added a piece during the offseason.”
Girardi offered the opinion that the Yankees infield would be the area most likely to be improved, while adding his favorite mantra, “You can never have too much pitching.”
Hammerin’ Brett: Brett Gardner is the Yankees’ nominee for the 2014 Hank Aaron Award, presented to the outstanding offensive player in each league. Gardner hit .256 with a career-high 17 homers, 58 RBI and a .749 OPS.
Josh is out, man: The Yankees announced they outrighted LHP Josh Outman to AAA Scranton.