Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 2/23/12

Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman have differing opinions about how the Yankees season ended in 2010. Once they clinched the A.L. Wild Card spot, New York played their best players sparingly. Many people thought that was the smart thing to do, while others believed they should have continued to challenge the Rays for the A.L. East title. Earlier in the week, Cashman admitted the Yankees allowed the Rays to win the division.

“We conceded the division two years ago because of the previous setup,” Cashman said according to ESPNNewYork.com.

That’s exactly what happened. The Yankees sent minor league pitchers to the mound throughout the last week of the season. In a tie for the division lead with the Rays in the final regular season game of the year, they opted to go with Dustin Moseley over Mariano Rivera. Regardless of the logistics, Girardi does not like the way that sounds.

“I did not concede the division,” New York’s manager said. “What bothers me with that is when it comes out that way, it’s almost like we weren’t trying to win games. Now, when have you ever known me not to try to win a game? You saw how I managed against Tampa, bringing in all the left-handers to face the left-handers, the right-handers to face the right-handers. We had people hurt, and we had to get them healthy. Now, if it’s in the month of May and a guy has to sit down for a week because he’s hurt, no one says you’re taking your foot off the gas.

“But because it’s in the month of September, it was perceived that we weren’t trying to win. That’s not the case. I was trying to win every game. I wanted home-field advantage. I wanted to win our division. But I had a guy with a broken toe, a guy with I think Swish, I’m not sure, what it his knee two years ago? And his elbow last year? I believe that’s what it was. Last year was his elbow, so I had to deal with that.”

The players on the field were trying to win. Girardi wasn’t. Winning a game is ultimately up to the players. They have to execute in order to win. A manager tries to win by putting the best available team on the field in the best available situations. There is no arguing that Girardi did not do that. It was probably wise to rest his best players, but there’s no need to sugarcoat it. The Yankees had no intention of winning the division. If they wanted to win it, they would have.

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