Every team has big meetings in the offseason in which the future course is charted, but only the Yankees make a huge production out of it. It’s happening today. On the agenda:
- Setting the 2010 payroll. This has to be the most hilarious portion of the meeting. “What’s our budget this year, Hal? [snicker!]” “Well, let me check our balance sheet [guffaw!]” “Ah, screw it: MONEY FIGHT!!!“
- Figuring out left field and DH. Girardi said yesterday that he wouldn’t mind having DH kind of open so he could cycle A-Rod, Posada and Jeter through it in order to rest their aging bones once a week or so. It’s not the worst plan in the world, but it would require Girardi to think extra hard, and that’s not always in the best interests of the ballclub. I still think they keep Matsui.
- Figure out the rotation. Right now the depth chart is Sabathia, Burnett and three open slots. Andy Pettitte’s annual hokey pokey will probably end with him coming back again, so there’s three. Either Joba or Hughes will likely fill another slot, but I’d be shocked if they gave both of them a place in the rotation. You have to figure that either Lackey or Halladay (or — gulp! — both) will be in pinstripes come spring.
- Off the table is Joe Girardi’s contract status. Despite being the manager of the World Champs, Girardi is a lame duck and there are no current plans to give him an extension. Which is only surprising if you think that Girardi is really one of the, oh, five most critical ingredients to the team’s success. I won’t say that you could put just anyone in the manager’s office and still win in New York, but that’s probably more true for this team than any other. Girardi is fine. He’s not irreplaceable. He knows that and the Yankees know that so don’t expect him to rock the boat.
There’s no word about whether the meeting will end with the assembled brass carving up a giant Earth-shaped cake, Hyman Roth-style, but would it really shock you if it happened?