The Sports Xchange
EditorsNote: Update 2: Adds Girardi quotes Four more years: Girardi stays with Yankees
NEW YORK — Choosing to stay put rather than seek a new opportunity as a managerial free agent, Joe Girardi signed a four-year contract reportedly worth $4 million annually to remain as the New York Yankees’ skipper through the 2017 season.
Girardi’s current deal was set to expire Nov. 1, and the Chicago Cubs also reportedly were interested in trying to lure Girardi away from New York.
“After talking with my family, we decided that this was where we wanted to come back,” Girardi said Wednesday. “It’s a special place to manage because of the opportunity that you have every year and the tools that they give you. The history of this organization is unbelievable. There are special things that happen here every year.”
Girardi, who will turn 49 on Oct. 14, guided the Yankees to the playoffs in four of the past six seasons, including the franchise’s 27th World Series title in 2009. Girardi’s .580 winning percentage (564-408) in the Bronx is also the highest in baseball since 2008, when he became New York’s manager.
In 2009, Girardi became the ninth Yankees manager to win a World Series, and the youngest to do so at just 45 years old.
He was still the fifth-youngest manager in the majors last season, which was expected to make him a hot commodity if his contract elapsed. Girardi played 15 seasons in the major leagues, including as a catcher for the Cubs from 1989-92 and 2000-02. The Cubs fired manager Dale Sveum last week.
There also were rumors that Girardi would step away from managing for at least a year to become a television analyst.
“We talked (about) the possibility about a lot of things basically that I could possibly do if I decided not to manage,” Girardi said of his family. “We brought up everything, and we did it as a group. My kids love coming to the ballpark. Sometimes you feel like you’re missing things that they’re doing, but they love the tradeoff, and that allows me to do what I love to do, and that’s to manage.”
Re-signing Girardi answers the first of several major questions facing the Yankees after missing the playoffs this season. Second baseman Robinson Cano is scheduled to become a free agent, and third baseman Alex Rodriguez is in the appeals process following a 211-game suspension levied by Major League Baseball. Both situations need to be resolved before Cashman can finalize other offseason plans entering free agency.
The Yankees also must replace future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera and left-handed starter Andy Pettitte, both of whom retired at the end of the season.
“I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t think we could win a championship,” Giradi said. “I know there’s a lot of work to be done. I know there’s a lot of holes that we have to fill, and there’s people leaving and people retiring, but I have faith in our organization. I’m an optimist and I believe we’re always going to have a chance every year.”