Saturday, August 29, 2009

When Is A Plan Not A Plan?

In the car yesterday, I was listening to the radio pregame and heard Joe Girardi tell John Sterling on "The Manager's Show" (since confirmed by others) that Joba Chamberlain will now be starting on his regular 5 days of rest, but as Girardi said "may not always factor into the decision". This obviously means that instead of allowing him fewer starts, they are going to limit his innings per appearance.

Joba only has one start left before September call-ups are made, so hopefully Joe Girardi will utilize the resulting extra arms available to him to cushion the blow on the more valuable members of the bullpen. I have my doubts though, because Girardi, like Joe Torre before him, has real trouble putting any reliever that he doesn't trust into a game that isn't a totally one-sided. Much will depend on the standings, of course.

I wasn't sure why, but listening to Girardi deliver that piece of news, I felt a little miffed. Just like they did with A-Rod and his supposed "one day off per week" plan the Yankees immediately deviated from their stated intentions, which sort of defeats the purpose of, you know, having "a plan". That is their right, but at what point to do we stop listening to what the Yankees claim they are going to do?

Cashman and Girardi use of "plans" as a tool to convey their message to the media with a degree of certainty that stifles the speculation that can sometimes get out of hand in New York. It certainly is an effective tactic, because when they say something, it gets reported in multiple places as fact, only to be redacted and updated at the shortest possible interval in which it could be changed.

So next time we hear the Yankees claim that they have "a plan" for something, let's realize what that is has more to do with PR than it does with baseball.

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