Joe Girardi — staying with Yankees or talking with Cubs?
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter October 7, 2013 1:14PM
Updated: October 7, 2013 10:39PM
Yankees manager Joe Girardi apparently remains torn between accepting an extension offer the Yanks made last week and walking away from it to formally talk to the Cubs.
As of late Monday, Girardi still had not accepted the offer reported to be worth $12 million to $15 million over three years.
He wants to formally explore the Cubs’ opening after weeks of back-channel feelers, according to sources. But industry sources familiar with the negotiations say the Yankees have made it clear their offer might not remain in play if he chooses to talk to other teams first.
The Yankees have denied the Cubs permission to talk to Girardi and reportedly also have denied permission to the Nationals.
Money is not an issue, if only because the Cubs are prepared to offer at least what the Yankees reportedly have on the table. And Girardi has indicated other factors, including family, are more important than sheer dollars in this case.
But while ESPN New York reported late Monday that the Yankees are willing to give Girardi as much time as he wants to make a decision — suggesting until the end of the month, when his contract expires — the Cubs don’t seem as willing to wait around.
One Cubs source said the team expected to learn by Tuesday morning whether Girardi will make himself available to the Cubs. Some in the organization have been skeptical from the beginning that he would leave New York.
Regardless, team president Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have begun the process of interviewing backup candidates in the event Girardi stays with the Yankees.
Former Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch, now an assistant general manager in San Diego with player-development experience, was interviewed Friday. And former Indians and Nationals manager Manny Acta, first reported as a candidate by the Sun-Times last week, interviewed Monday.
Padres bench coach Rick Renteria, a former big-league player and minor-league manager, is also on the interview schedule, possibly for next week.
Sandy Alomar Jr., a coach on the Indians’ staff, is also a potential candidate, although indications are he’s not a front-runner at this point. He interviewed two years ago for the opening filled by Dale Sveum.
High on the front office’s list of criteria is a proven track record of developing young players, particularly young Latin players. Among the Cubs’ top four prospects are Javy Baez, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora.
Renteria, who was part of the Padres’ coaching staff when Hoyer spent two years as general manager in San Diego, gets high marks from the Cubs’ brass for that, both as a minor-league manager and as a member of the Padres’ big-league staff.
Because the Cubs are also expected to turn over much of their coaching staff, some of the candidates interviewed during this process could wind up as coaching candidates if they don’t get the manager job, say those close to the process.