In The End, Joe Girardi Will Return To The New York Yankees
This winter, the New York Yankees will be faced with a ton of decisions to make regarding the makeup of their 2014 Opening Day roster. Among the pending free-agencies of Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda and Curtis Granderson, the Yanks are also facing the task of bringing back manager Joe Girardi.
Girardi hasn’t directly said what he really wants to do this winter, as he has only said that he plans on taking some time to discuss things over with his family, but he has been hinting at the fact that he wants to return to manage the Yankees in ’14 and beyond.
The Yankees really want him back, Girardi sounds like he wants to come back, and both sides have every reason to want the same thing.
There isn’t much that happened to the Yankees in 2013 that can be traced back to the doings of Girardi. It’s not his fault that Brian Cashman and company didn’t do much to load his roster for the season. It wasn’t his fault that the Yankees were as fragile as glass this season, with injuries coming almost every other day. And it’s certainly not his fault that the Yankees lack talent in the farm system.
In a season filled with countless injuries to their top players, the Yankees missed the playoffs for only the second time since the 1994 strike – second time under Girardi’s watch – but he’s not the reason the Yanks aren’t playing in October, because, in my opinion, he’s done a great job.
When it comes to his negotiations, Girardi will have all the leverage over the Yankees and any other club that pursues him. As for who he might be having negotiations with, the complete list of teams is unknown, but it’s a lock that a good handful of teams will be lining up at his door.
It’s been speculated for a while that if Girardi were to leave New York, the Chicago Cubs would be the most likely of suitors, and today they fired their manager, Dale Sveum, opening the job for Girardi.
The Cubs are currently in a rebuilding mode, with a strong group of people in the front office, including Team President Theo Epstein. The expectation is that the Cubs won’t be playoff contenders until at least the 2015 season, but Chicago does have a large load of talent on the way, and very close to the big league level.
Though the problem for Girardi – who is from Peoria, attended college at Northwestern, and even played for the Cubs – returning to manage in his hometown is that his ties to the area are not very strong, with both of his parents having passed, and he says that his family likes where they have settled in now in West Chester, PA.
“Our home has been here,” Girardi said.
“My kids are engrossed in schools here. … We haven’t lived there since 2006, so the only person that was really there — I have a brother still there, a couple brothers there, actually — but my father’s gone, my mother’s gone, so there’s not as much there as there used to be.”
The Washington Nationals are also another team with a strong case to bring in Girardi with Davey Johnson retiring this offseason. Talent wise, the Nats have the most to offer with their loaded roster of young players like Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Ian Desmond. Washington is ready to succeed now and for years to come in the future, and a manager like Girardi would certainly give even more ammo to compete in the NL East.
Girardi has the options to move somewhere else, should he choose to do so, but in the end, I think he’ll end up staying with the Yankees, as long as they give him the raise that he has earned. Derek Jeter, who is still an unknown as to what his role with the Yanks might be next season, says that he expects the Bombers to win it all in 2014, but it won’t happen without Joe Girardi – who I expect to come back next season.
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