Joe Girardi managed the Yankees from 2008-2017, leading them to a World Series title in 2009 and to the playoffs almost every year. He managed the Bronx Bombers when they made the transition at shortstop from Derek Jeter to Didi Gregorius.
Gregorius started off slow with the Yankees in 2015, but would quickly become a fan favorite, putting up terrific numbers as the everyday shortstop from 2016-2018. Girardi joined WFAN's Mike Francesa Tuesday in his weekly spot to share some insight on what he told Gregorius when he managed him.
"When he first started he tried to do much. He was trying to replace Derek Jeter. There's only one Derek Jeter. He was special to the organization for a long, long time," Girardi told Francesa.
"I told him 'look Didi, there's noone behind you. You're our shortstop. If you have a bad week, you're not going down. If you had a bad three or four days, you're not sitting.' I think he went through that in Cincinnati and Arizona and Arizona had a number of shortstops. I said 'you're our guy.' He went to work hard with our hitting coaches. He worked on his approach vs. left-handers and then he became a guy that not only crushed right-handers, he really hit left-handers and he was irreplaceable. He was huge to our lineup."
While the Yankees are hot right now at 20-14, the Mets are struggling mightily. They have lost four straight and have scored just seven runs in their last six games. Robinson Cano, who Girardi managed, has not been his usual self, which could also be the result of getting hit twice on his hand.
"This could take another week. I'm sure there's still pain in there," Girardi said. "There's the concern am I going to get hit again."
The lineup is in a slump from top to bottom.
"When I look at the Mets, McNeil really is the only one that has hit. In the last six games, they have scored seven runs. What I would be more focused on, which I would be happy about in a sense is hitting comes and goes. They pitch pretty well. Syndergaard, deGrom..and these guys are starting to throw the ball well. That should bode well in the end. But right now they got to get it going offensively a little bit."
While the Mets are 16-19 and fading, they still have 127 games to go and it's only May 7.
"I think you're going to be patient. It's still early," said the MLB Network analyst. "Some of the guys have not been there the whole year, they have been there two or three weeks. Hopefully you get Lowrie back sometime soon. I think he adds a lot to that lineup. Their outfielders are really important to them and I think they need to start performing at a little bit of a higher level. The struggles in April are real just because of how bad the weather is. As it heats up, you want to see Nimmo really get going and Conforto...you want to see these guys take off and if that happens, they're actually in pretty good shape. I think they are too talented offensively to stay in the little bit of a slide they have been in. Every club goes through it."
You can listen to the entire interview with the former Yankeees catcher and manager in the audio player above.