Talking to the Cubs could be a point of no return for Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees.
There were indications Girardi was preparing to give the Yankees a final answer Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, though this process has already dragged out long enough to make you wonder what he’s really thinking.
Exploring the possibility of the Cubs job might jeopardize what Girardi has built up in The Bronx as a player or manager for four World Series winners.
Sources said that can be a pressure point in the negotiations as Girardi and his family weigh the personal and professional reasons to stay in New York or come home to Chicago.
Late Tuesday night, a club source indicated the Cubs hadn’t heard any Girardi news and said they aren’t just waiting around for the Yankees manager, who is under contract through Oct. 31.
Last week’s multi-year contract offer – believed to be worth around $4 million to $5 million annually – wasn’t presented with the idea it could be taken to the Cubs and shopped around and brought back to the Yankees.
The Cubs are moving forward with their search to replace Dale Sveum. They have already interviewed San Diego Padres executive A.J. Hinch and ESPN analyst/former manager Manny Acta (Washington Nationals/Cleveland Indians). They also plan to speak with Padres bench coach Rick Renteria.
At Clark and Addison, there have been doubts about Girardi’s true intentions, as well as real respect for his ability to lead a team. Not to mention the hopes ownership and business operations have for a Peoria guy to energize the base and headline Cubs Convention this winter.
Girardi has been described as someone who’s not impulsive. He has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Northwestern University. He keeps that thick binder by his side in the dugout and sees all the angles.
Girardi had coffee with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on Sept. 30. Steve Mandell, Girardi’s Chicago-based agent, met with Cashman on Oct. 2 in New York. Girardi had the weekend to think about the next step and whether or not he wants to uproot his family from Westchester County. And still two iconic franchises are in a holding pattern.
This isn’t “The Bronx Zoo” anymore. Girardi is said to have solid working relationships with Cashman and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner. The Yankees want Girardi to guide them through a transition phase that won’t include Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte.
It’s usually a World-Series-or-bust mentality. But Girardi pushed all the right buttons and drew widespread praise during an 85-77 season that had the team contending deep into September – even with all the Alex Rodriguez drama and injuries to Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson.
Steinbrenner laid it out on Tuesday in an interview with the New York Post: Girardi is on the clock.
“I told Joe that my family thinks he did a great job this year considering the adversity, which was considerable, and that we want him back,” Steinbrenner told the tabloid. “We understand there are other factors out there to consider and other numbers to consider, something fair to both sides. We are talking to him. I think both sides agree – I don’t want to speak for Joe – but that something has to get done or not done fairly quickly because there is a lot of work to be done.”