The Cubs aren’t necessarily looking at it as winning a bidding war against the New York Yankees. It would be Joe Girardi figuring out what he wants to do next, what’s best for his family and still getting a big contract.
Girardi gained even more leverage after the Cubs fired manager Dale Sveum on Monday, reigniting the rumors you already heard before when Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella left Clark and Addison.
An American League executive predicted the Yankees will go all-out to keep Girardi while trying to fend off the Washington Nationals, who are looking for someone to replace Davey Johnson and lead their young stars.
The Cubs don’t have Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg. But president of baseball operations Theo Epstein believes this won’t be a difficult sell, even after losing 197 games the last two seasons while operating under a restrictive mid-market payroll.
“The talent in this organization will do all the convincing that we need,” Epstein said. “I think there’s a real dichotomy (with) how we perceive things here in Chicago, living through this every day. I’m not just saying the media – us in the front office, too.
“It’s tough to lose close to 100 games. It’s painful. It’s a burden. It hurts. Because of that, it feels like it’s not coming quickly enough. When are these players going to get here? When are we going to get better? And when are we going to see the young talent instead of just hearing about it?”
Epstein sees position players inherited (Javier Baez) and drafted (Kris Bryant) and pitchers acquired through trades (C.J. Edwards), as well as a renovated Wrigley Field and new television deals.
“You don’t have to take my word for it,” Epstein said. “But I can tell you that outside the organization, outside the city, around baseball, the story is the Cubs are coming fast and the Cubs are coming strong. And that’s the reality. When you take a step back and you assess the talent we have in the organization, that’s accurate.
“So I don’t think there’ll be much convincing necessary at all, besides maybe we can open the kimono a little bit about what we have in the organization, our plans for the future, how our business plan matches up with our baseball plan.
“(It’s) how we’ll be able to down the road combine aggressiveness and resources with the elite young talent that we have and the opportunities (to) win a World Series here by competing year-in and year-out in the postseason.”
Girardi’s family is said to be comfortable living in Westchester County, N.Y., and he could pursue television opportunities if he wanted to recharge. Also remember it’s been 11 years since he last played for the Cubs.
Epstein planned to formally ask for permission to speak with candidates on Tuesday morning, and end the search before the GM meetings in early November. But it sounded like there could be another press conference at Wrigley Field soon.
“We know exactly what we’re looking for,” Epstein said, “and I think we’re going to find it.”