Joe Girardi wanted to use his leverage without turning this into another episode of “The Decision.”
Girardi had the weekend to spend time with his family, think about his future and weigh a multi-year offer from the New York Yankees believed to be worth around $4 million to $5 million annually. Answers should be coming soon.
If Girardi really wants to manage the Cubs — and sources say there has been some skepticism inside the team’s Clark Street headquarters — then we’re about to find out.
Because the Yankees didn’t make that offer so it could be shopped around to the Cubs and Washington Nationals, according to sources familiar with the situation. Girardi is not wired that way, and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is known for his blunt honesty.
This week Cubs executives will be in Arizona, looking at some of the top prospects that are supposed to be selling points for the next manager. While getting a chance to watch Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora with the Mesa Solar Sox, they might also begin interviewing candidates as insurance against Girardi staying in The Bronx.
Major-league officials and industry sources have confirmed the list includes Cleveland Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., San Diego Padres executive A.J. Hinch and ESPN analyst/former manager Manny Acta.
Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez — the ex-Cub who has spent six seasons next to outside-the-box manager Joe Maddon — is also believed to be a person of interest.
Girardi has been described as a tough negotiator who isn’t out for every last dollar. He’s said to be a family man with personal connections to Chicago and a good setup in Westchester County, the picturesque suburbs some 30 miles north of Yankee Stadium.
The Cubs have sent enough come-and-get-it signals to Girardi, who would check all the boxes for the Ricketts family, Crane Kenney’s business side and Theo Epstein’s baseball operations department.
Internally, the Cubs haven’t looked at money as the deciding factor in the Girardi sweepstakes. It would be a decision made on principle, Girardi returning to his Peoria and Northwestern University roots — and still being one of the highest-paid managers in baseball.
Girardi’s three-year, $9 million contract expires Oct. 31, but the expectation is this won’t be dragged out until the final hours before Halloween.
Cashman hired Girardi to replace New York icon Joe Torre in October 2007, and they have created a strong partnership, making the playoffs four times in six seasons and winning the 2009 World Series.
One week ago, Epstein drank beers with manager Dale Sveum and said the two men got some things off their chest. The next day, Epstein announced the Sveum firing with a statement that contained five block paragraphs and held a news conference that lasted more than 30 minutes.
“This is a situation that requires a lot of leadership,” Epstein said inside the Wrigley Field interview room/dungeon. “We’re asking a manager to develop and establish a winning culture around a team that lost close to 100 games a year for the past couple years, while the front office is being very transparent about taking a long-term view (and) trading away 40 percent of the starting rotation each year.
“That requires a lot of leadership, a lot of energy, a lot of creativity. It requires a dynamic person that can handle that.”
Does Girardi want that job? Stay tuned.