Yesterday, I mentioned that New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman had met with the media to discuss a variety of end-of-the-year things, including the status of his soon-to-be free agent manager, Joe Girardi.
Cashman indicated, as he has before, that the Yankees want to keep Girardi on board as the manager, and said that, “We’re going to give him a real good reason to stay.” The GM is expected to sit down with Girardi’s agent today and negotiate further. You can read more of Cashman’s thoughts on Girardi here.
Will the Cubs get a chance to get in Girardi’s ear before things are finalized with the Yankees? Well, Cashman declined to comment on whether he’d grant the Cubs permission to talk to Girardi before his contract expires at the end of October. I’d think that permission would come at some point – if Girardi won’t re-sign until he gets a chance to talk to the Cubs, the Yankees would have no reason to withhold permission, given that he’s a free agent anyway.
That all said, a source tells Andrew Marchand that permission to talk to the Cubs isn’t going to come until and unless negotiations with the Yankees break down first. If you were the Yankees, why wouldn’t you do it that way? This month of a negotiating window is all the leverage you have at this point, so why not use it to your advantage? It’s not like they’re doing anything unethical. If Girardi really wants to leave, he can leave after the end of October (and, if the Cubs really want to sign Girardi, they, too, can wait).
Hell, if I’m the Yankees, I tell Girardi: “Here’s our best offer. Take it now, or leave it on the table and go talk to other teams. We can’t promise it’ll be there when you get back, because we’ve got to get started on our own search if you’re not returning.” That way, you don’t allow Girardi to use other offers as leverage against you if he truly wants to return to the Yankees anyway. You also might be able to lock him down before anyone else can make their best offer.
Everyone on the Yankees’ side seems to think their negotiations will go quickly, so it’s possible we’ll learn of a re-signing or permission to talk to other teams within a week. On the timing of things, and the idea of permission, Cashman elaborated a little bit yesterday:
“It’s harder for me to answer [whether I'm concerned about Girardi delaying negotiations until November 1] because ultimately, clearly it’ll depend on my dialogue with Joe Girardi, with [Girardi's agent] Steve Mandell, and Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine. And that will dictate the pace of a deal getting done quickly and a deal not getting done at all . . . it will pick up tomorrow, because I’ll be talking to Steve directly about my conversations with Joe already. And now I’ll be dealing with his representative, Steve. Which I’ve done before. I think after tomorrow, I’ll have a real good feel for where we’re at.”
In other words, it sounds like Cashman plans on doing just what I said I’d do: try to play a little friendly hardball today, and get a sense of whether you can nail Girardi down this week without ever having to get into the sticky issue of either granting permission, or having to hold off on negotiations until Girardi’s contract expires.
If so, the ball is very much in Girardi’s court. How much does he want to return to the Yankees? How much does he at least want to hear what the Cubs – or other teams – are going to say?