Cubs poised to make Joe Girardi an offer
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter October 2, 2013 10:35PM
Chicago Cubs' Joe Girardi, center, announces that the game between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals will be canceled, Saturday, June 22, 2002 at Wrigley Field in Chicago after Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile was found dead in the team hotel. (AP Photo/Stephen J. Carrera)
Updated: November 4, 2013 12:20PM
If Joe Girardi is serious about wanting to manage the Cubs, then he might be staring at his last, best shot.
Multiple sources say the Cubs are poised to make the Yankees’ skipper an offer that could make him one of the two highest-paid managers in the game, from a Cubs ownership group and business side of the operation that has coveted him since long before Theo Epstein was hired as team president.
The Cubs and Girardi have expressed mutual interest through back channels for weeks, according to sources. And Girardi has been the ownership favorite two of the last three times the managerial job was open, under Tribune ownership (when Lou Piniella got the job) and Ricketts ownership (when Mike Quade was hired).
Girardi, who fielded a contract-extension offer Wednesday from the Yankees, has said publicly and told those close to him privately that family considerations will play a large role in his decision to return to the Yankees or field other offers. In other words, talking to the Cubs about an offer, sources close to him say.
According to at least one national report Wednesday night, Girardi countered the Yankees’ offer with “parameters” it might take for him to return. His contract expires at the end of the month.
Those “parameters” are believed to go well beyond financial considerations — and, according to a source, are believed to include permission to talk to the Cubs before committing to the Yankees.
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and business president Crane Kenney are said to be pushing hard for a chance at Girardi, but the Cubs had not received permission from the Yanks to talk to him as of Wednesday night.
For the Cubs, Girardi provides a big-name, accomplished manager with deep Chicago roots — a beloved former Cub with top managerial credentials who could help market a third-year rebuilding process that has led to the lowest attendance figures in 15 years.
Given Girardi’s strong relationship with Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Yankees ownership, as evidenced by a negotiating process that looks like it might drag on for much of the week, some Cubs insiders question the perception that the Cubs’ job is indeed Girardi’s dream job — a perception nurtured over the years by Girardi’s camp.
Whether Girardi re-signs with the Yankees or breaks away for a chance at the Cubs’ job, he’s expected to command an annual salary of $4 million or more — which would be second only to the Angels’ Mike Scioscia ($5 million).
Meanwhile, Epstein has spent the last two days putting together a list of other candidates for a process he said Monday he hopes will be concluded before the general managers meetings early next month.
Former Indians and Nationals manager Manny Acta is being examined as a possible candidate to join an early list compiled by the front office that already includes Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. (who interviewed for the job two years ago) and former Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch, a candidate with player-development experience now working in the Padres’ front office.
Rays bench coach Dave Martinez is also said to be a name of interest to the Cubs, but it’s unclear whether the team will seek permission to contact him.