Obsessive New Manager Watch: How Patient Are the Yankees? Plus Other Managerial Bits

joe girardi managerThere is no longer a day when we expect a decision regarding Joe Girardi and the Yankees’ offer to bring him back. It was the weekend. Then it was Monday. Then it was yesterday. Against that backdrop, I say … we’ll hear at some point.

  • Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner was on the radio yesterday and he naturally discussed the ongoing Girardi negotiations. His comments were interesting. He said that there are a number of considerations at play, but the Yankees want Girardi back. That said, Steinbrenner indicated, the Yankees want to know one way or another “quickly.” Unless October 31 is considered “quickly,” Steinbrenner’s comments stand in contrast to reports from a couple days ago that had the Yankees willing to wait this out until the end. Frankly, that always struck me as odd. Sure, the Yankees can hold onto Girardi through October, but, if they know he won’t re-sign until he has a chance to talk to the Cubs, all holding onto him accomplishes is ensuring that the Yankees cannot start their managerial search – if Girardi ultimately decides to leave – until November. How does that make sense for them? Worse for the Yankees, their organizational meetings start next week. That should be an added pressure to either force a Girardi decision, or to move on and grant him permission to talk to other teams. (You can see more thoughts from Steinbrenner here in the Post.) Are Steinbrenner’s comments designed to pressure Girardi publicly? Build the case for fans on how the Yankees did all they could reasonably do to keep him? Both?
  • So, we come back to the operative question in all of this: if Girardi said he wanted to have this wrapped up quickly after the season, and the Yankees want a decision “quickly,” as well, why is this taking so long? The problem, from an outside perspective, is that a delay is equally consistent with Girardi legitimately being conflicted about his future and wanting to talk to the Cubs before making a decision, and with Girardi merely wanting the opportunity to leverage more money out of the Yankees. And, if the Yankees suspect it’s the latter, then they’re in a bind – something of a staring contest. Unfortunately for the Yankees, other than personal comfort, Girardi has no reason to blink first. If the Yankees won’t force the issue before October 31, he can simply wait, and then engage any and all interested teams at that time.
  • Speaking of which, Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs are willing to wait on Girardi, however long the situation takes to play out. Although that sets up an ugly narrative for the new manager if Girardi elects to return to New York (or heads back to TV) – “So, how does it feel to be the very public fall-back option for the Cubs?” – it’s the Cubs’ only play if they truly believe Girardi is the top man for the job.
  • On those other candidates, Manny Acta’s meeting with the Cubs this week lasted seven hours, and he sounded very positive about it. Acta immediately acknowledged to ESPN that it’s a long process, and he’s just one of many candidates being considered. I’m sure he knows the score right now. Nick Cafardo hears that Acta’s interview went very well, for whatever that’s worth.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

77 responses to “Obsessive New Manager Watch: How Patient Are the Yankees? Plus Other Managerial Bits”

  1. Leroy K

    plan A Girardi, plan B Acta….oh goodie…I love staring games.

  2. Nick

    Is Acta willing to wait? That is a problem

    1. BenRoethig

      Unless the Reds want him badly, the Cubs have all the time. Acta won’t be going back to Washington

  3. CeeDeeVee

    It’s starting to feel like the Cubs won’t get Girardi, they’ll hire someone else and he’s gonna have a great run with the Cubs. Then when we look back on it, people are gonna say “hey remember when Girardi was the number one choice and the Cubs didn’t get him”

    1. waittilthisyear

      i kind of feel the opposite. a week ago, it looked, to me, like Girardi was going back to the yankees. now, i think the cubs are looking like they have a legitimate shot at getting him. though your scenario would bother me none

      1. CeeDeeVee

        Yea I feel the same as you are sometimes as well. I keep flip flopping lol. Another thing that I’ve thought about too was Girardi manager and Acta bench coach

    2. Cizzle

      I think this plays out poorly for the Yankees. Their current manager, who got Hal & Cashman a ring, simply wants to feel out his options before he gives them a response and they say no? If Girardi was returning to the Yanks, he’d have done it already.
      The Yanks just look like the insecure girlfriend that won’t let her boyfriend go out to the bars because she thinks he’s gonna cheat on her. Well, honey, you’re getting dumped soon enough…Girardi’s coming to Chicago.

  4. Kramden

    Note from Acta to Girardi -

    Joe, I just spent 7 hours talking with those Bozos in Chicago. What a cluster-frack! If I were you I’d stay in NY and sign that Yankee contract immediately.

    Your Pal,
    Manny

  5. Ian Afterbirth

    I don’t think it makes a candidate a fall-back option simply because the Cubs don’t want to hire anyone before they get a chance to speak seriously with all the candidates in whom they may have interest.

    Why can’t the Cubs interview the other candidates they’re considering while (potentially) waiting a couple of weeks to wrap up the process with talking to Girardi without it being a slight to the other candidates?

  6. Blackout

    The longer the Girardi decision is drawn out, the more I’m inclined to say, he isn’t coming to Chicago. He is having a hard time saying no to the Yankees.

    One name I haven’t seen as a possible candidate to replace Sveum is DeMarlo Hale. When I lived in OKC, he was the Triple-A manager for the Texas Rangers. Since then, he has been in the majors, most recently, with Toronto. For a time, he was with the Red Sox, so there is a Theo connection. To me, his coaching and developing skills are ideal for the Cubs. Any thoughts?

    1. kgd

      I prefer to think of it as he’s having a hard time saying yes to the Yankees.

      1. Scott

        Exactly what I think. If Girardi wants so badly to be back with the Yankees, and the Yankees offer is that great, then why don’t they already have an agreement? The long this plays out, the more I tend to think it means that Girardi WILL be coming to the Cubs.

    2. Kramden

      Any guy that had to grow up with the name “DeMarlo” and isn’t a gay porn star is okay by me,

    3. Blackhawks1963

      But here is the thing that is going ignored….TheoJed have ONLY interviewed Acta, Hinch and Renteria and have provided no indications publicly that there are other names they intend to interview with exception of obviously Joe Girardi if that even becomes an option in the coming days.

      3 interview candidates so far and that seems to be it. Maybe that dynamic changes when some teams finish their playoff run?!? (e.g., Davey Martinez with Tampa).

    4. cubfanincardinalland

      His contract expires in three weeks, he has yet to sign a new contract, reported to be offered the second highest in baseball. And you think he is having a hard time saying no? I would say just the opposite, he is running out the clock on the contract, and ready to look at other opportunities.

  7. Blackhawks1963

    I don’t think Manny Acta is a fall-back option at all. He’s amply qualified to be the manager of a club once again. And his appeal to the Cubs surely includes the fact that he is Latino and has a strong track record of working effectively with young ballplayers.

    I could care less that Acta didn’t do well in Washington or Cleveland. A manager develops just like a player develops. Some of the best managers in the game over history had multiple “failed” stops before things clicked. And keep in mind also the Theo Epstein / Billy Beane philosophy is that the role and value of a manager has limits to it. Theo is NOT going to over-value what a manager can and cannot do. Terry Francona fit that model very well in Boston. Francona was credited for being a good manager in Boston, but he was by no means ever considered THE reason why that club won two World Series. He was a good pilot at the helm of the ship, in similar way to how Bob Melvin has morphed into becoming a good pilot of the ship in Oakland after failed managerial stops in Arizona and Seattle.

    I continue to believe Manny Acta is the hire. I really do.

  8. When the Music's Over

    This Girardi drama will continue to increase the unrealistic expectations should the Cubs actually sign him. It’s starting to appear (not reality within the organization) that the Cubs don’t just want him to be their manager, they desperately need him to save the team.

    Just my take.

    1. Blackhawks1963

      Yes and no. Lets just say for a second that TheoJed want Manny Acta to be the next manager. The dilemma they face is that they can’t possibly proceed with hiring UNTIL the Joe Girardi soap opera sorts itself out. They would have a public relations disaster on their hands if they hired Acta today and then Girardi announces a few days later that he won’t return to the Yankees. Can you imagine the reaction in Chicago?!?

      The Girardi shoe needs to drop before Theo/Jed can proceed with whatever it is they want to proceed with in terms of the hire.

      1. When the Music's Over

        Exactly. He’s been made into a savior before his contract even ends with his current team. The expectations have already begun to spiral.

        1. ssckelley

          What expectations? From what I have read most Cub fans do not have high expectations for next season and I do not think hiring Girardi will change that. It might help sell a few more tickets next season but I do not think any of us believe that a manager can make that big of a difference on a team coming off a 96 loss season.

          1. frank

            Agreed–I don’t know of anyone who thinks that Girardi alone will make this team competitive. They may see it as a step in a positive direction, but that’s about it.

          2. I-CubsFanBoy

            I don’t necessarily think your wrong, all I would say is go back and look at what Girardi did wIth the 2006 Marlins. How much impact a manager can make is probably somewhat overblown, but some managers definitely have a more possitive impact them others.

    2. mjhurdle

      I actually think that all the excitement that is getting out of control about Girardi is actually something that *might* drive Girardi away.
      It is getting to the point that there is no way Girardi will ever be able to live up to the unrealistic expectations that are building around him as a manager. Would he want to come somewhere if he is almost sure to disappoint a large segment of the fanbase?
      Just pure speculation, but i wonder if that plays a part at all in his decision.

      1. ssckelley

        Same question for you, what are these expectations if Girardi gets hired? We talking playoffs next year or what?

        1. mjhurdle

          There is the expectation that Girardi will get the best out of the young players coming up, that he will improve the current players, that he will recreate with the Cubs what he did for his young Marlins team, that somehow it is Girardi or bust.
          If people really didn’t think that Girardi(or any manager) would have a big impact on the team, why are there such strong feelings about why the Cubs HAVE to get Girardi?

          1. Kyle

            Because he’s shiny and people are easily drawn toward shiny things.

            The idea that a manager could come in and have a big impact is very appealing, because it’s way easier to hire a manager than it is to hope that all the important things go right.

            1. Jono

              and it’s simply a reason to be excited, or at least pay attention. Kind of like the reverse standings. Beyond being in the top ten to get the secured pick, being #4 or #5 isn’t THAT great, but it was simply something to pay attention.

              In other words, the ONLY reason I keep coming to this website is to get the latest on the Girardi thing. If Sveum wasn’t fired, I probably wouldn’t even be thinking about the Cubs right now, let alone coming to BN.

              1. Jono

                Brett must have been very happy to hear Sveum was fired. Imagen how many views his ads will get when they make the playoffs!

            2. Hookers or Cake

              I’m surprised there hasn’t been more talk about Dave Martinez. 49 years old. Tampa’s bench coach for 6 years and I assume he speaks decent Spanish which is always a plus.

          2. When the Music's Over

            Exactly. Not to mention that I’m guessing that what ssckelley is on blog message boards, etc, where there are infinitely more level-headed fans than on the street. The issue is that the on the street fans out number the level headed fans like 20-1. Also, even in spite of blog message boards having more level headed fans per capita than on the street, I still read so many Girardi or bust savior like comments, even on this site.

            The a number of the Chicago media has also started to run with the Girardi or bust savior stuff, which further whips the masses into a frenzy (likely all be design).

          3. ssckelley

            But isn’t these expectations the same no matter who the Cubs hire?

            1. On The Farm

              That’s kinda what I was thinking. You want every manager to come in and get the best out of his players. The reason Girardi gets all the love is he has a track record (albeit a small one) with Florida. It’s hard to get excited over Acta and Hinch given their lackluster results. Fans want Girardi or bust because they have seen what they have done with young talent, but the things you listed Cubs fans will require out of whatever manager ends up getting hired.

            2. When the Music's Over

              To a degree. The way Theo spun the firing of Sveum has created a de facto baseline expectation that the next manager will 100% fix Castro and Rizzo, that any other high end rookie coming up will perform up to (the already spiraling out of control savior) expectations, that the team will display better fundamentals, that the manager will be completely consistent in everything he does, that the manager will have a never ending supply of positive attitude, energy, leadership and creativity, etc.

              By explicitly stating everything the new manager needs to be, he’s already created expectations that people have latched onto and expect the next manager to display in spades.

              Through a series of events and over coverage (and purposely dramatic coverage by the media), Girardi has become the savior-like golden child (great movie) that perfectly fits every one of these attributes, obviously something no other candidate can bring to the table (sarcasm). On top of that, throw in that he’s an ex-Cub and from Illinois and the expectations (especially amongst homers) get even more steep.

              1. ssckelley

                But if Girardi announces today that he is resigning with the Yankees it will not take very long for the next guy to be the new “shiny”. The last time the Cubs went through this process I believe Mike Maddux was the popular choice, after the Ryne Sandberg for manager crowd were silenced.

                1. When the Music's Over

                  For sure, the next guy will be a new shiny toy, but not nearly as shiny as Girardi would have been, at least among the opinions of the masses. Not even in the same league as shiny.

                  Also, for those that believe that Ricketts isn’t pushing for Girardi to also help put asses in the seats as a very nice complementary byproduct, isn’t seeing the whole picture. There is no way the Cubs should be paying $6-7M/year for a manager when they are already under a major league roster payroll crunch. That is unless you think bringing him into the fold will pay off as a ticket increasing investment as well.

                  1. ssckelley

                    That is where there is extra expectations, there are not many managers that could be hired that would impact ticket sales more than Girardi (perhaps Ryno). But the pressure to win, at least IMO, is not any greater and if anything I think more people would be apologetic with Girardi if the Cubs do struggle next season than if someone else was to get the job.

                    I don’t feel sorry for Girardi, I think he would walk into a tremendous situation here in Chicago. I feel for the next guy in line if Girardi resigns with the Yankees.

                  2. EQ76

                    to me hiring Girardi signals that the FO is going to amp up their aggressiveness a little bit and we’ll have a better product on the field next year. No way does Girardi leave the Yankees to be part of a continual rebuild in Chicago. He will come for a young, exciting, on the verge team.

                    1. jh03

                      I’ve been saying this from the day Sveum was fired. I’m about as indifferent as you can get on who will be the next manager (Unless the Rays fire Joe Maddon (lol, yeah right)), but I believe that signing Girardi will show that the FO feels like the Cubs are on the verge. Whether that’s true or not is debatable, but I think that feeling is valid.

                    2. On The Farm

                      Maybe Girardi will have an opt-out clause in his contract that is tied to team salary. That way Theo can’t tell him we will be spending on big FA, and then have Ricketts come out and say they are strapped for cash.

  9. Jono

    It couldn’t bother someone too much being one of only 30 MLB managers on the planet, even if the guy wasn’t the team’s #1 choice. If a company hires me to an executive position despite not being their first choice, that wouldn’t bother me at all. I’d just be happy to get the opportunity

  10. On The Farm

    Maybe I am trying to hard to draw parallels or maybe this has already been mentioned, but doesn’t Acta seem very similar to Francona before Boston hired him?

  11. CM

    If Theo ever wanted to put an end to any future Sandberg management discussions, he should just go ahead and hire Dave Martinez.

  12. SalukiHawk

    Any chance if we pry away Girardi, Acta could be the bench coach and focus on player development??

    1. On The Farm

      I wouldn’t think so, I would think he would be pretty determined to wait for a manager position.

      1. Jono

        Don’t FOs tend to give permission for their coaches to interview for managerial jobs with other teams?

        1. On The Farm

          Sure, but they just interviewed him for 7 hours the other day. I have a hard time believing they said at some point, “If we were to end up passing over you for Girardi, would you be okay taking a bench coach position?”.

          1. Jono

            i’d have a hard time imagening that b/c Girardi’s bench coach would be up to Girardi. Maybe the FO has veto power, but it would be very inappropriate for the FO to step on toes like that

            1. On The Farm

              I guess if Girardi wants Acta, and Acta wants to coach with Girardi then I don’t see the FO vetoing that no. I just don’t think Acta would take the bench coach job after interviewing 7 hours for the manager position. Call it saving face or whatever, but I think it would look better if he didn’t take the Cubs bench job if he gets passed over and continues to look for a manager job.

              1. Jono

                Just curious, is he already the bench coach with the Indians? Even going into 2014? I honestly don’t even know

                1. On The Farm

                  Good question. I didn’t do my homework on Acta, if that were the case, maybe he would accept a bench coach position.

  13. caryatid62

    This is going to come up a lot over the next week or so, so a quick primer that might save people a lot of panic/unnecessary excitement:

    “Resigning”: Quitting a Job.
    “Re-signing”: Returning to a job.

    1. ssckelley

      oops, I am guilty of this. But I think when I say “resigning with the Yankees” everyone understands what I mean otherwise I would have to say “resigning from the Yankees”.

  14. Lou Brock

    I saw that the Reds were interested in Cubs 3rd base coach David Bell as a managerial candidate. If Girardi gets the deal with the Cubs he would most likely bring INF coach Mick Keleher with him to coach the likes of Castro, Baez, and Alcantara. Mick would be perfect for that assignment. McKay could stay with the OF instruction while Girardi works with our catching.
    Tony Pena could be the bench coach and the Latin connection to the youngsters. I would like two pitching coaches, one for the bullpen and one for the starters. Bosio and Rothschild could both have jobs and I would hire 2 batting coaches one for LH bats, and one for RH bats. I’d bring in Bill Buckner and Andre Dawson to handle those assignments.

    1. Jamie

      Lou, I was with you right up to the hitting coaches. I like your reasoning on all prior to that. But even as much as I loved Hawk and Billy Buck, they both had career OBPs which hovered at .320. That’s a definite clash with the Ivy League baseball of guys like Theo and other resident sabermetricians. I’m gradually becoming a huge believer in OBP as a metric. We’d need more than the fact that a guy is a beloved Cub in order to bring a solid lineup of disciplined hitters.

  15. Kevin

    List of possibilities for Girardi ranked highest to lowest:

    1) Cubs Manager
    2) Fox Broadcaster
    3) Cashier at Walt White’s Carwash
    4) Stays with Yankees

    1. Jono

      Have an A1 day!

  16. The Omnipresent Mystery Team

    The reason the Yankees might want to hold Girardi to end of the month is that the Cubs might hire someone else first.

    If Girardi is comfortable with the Yankees, but the Cubs are potentially a dream job for him, he will want the details to be sure it is the job of his dreams. He will want to hear how much the Cubs will spend over the next three years, how much say he has in managing. So, his position may well be that he likes the Yankees and could see staying, but he wants the details on the Cubs job.

    In that case, the Yankees can potentially gain by keeping Girardi from talking. The Cubs may only have two or three managers they see as fit for the job. If those guys get offers, the Cubs could be in a position where their #3 guy is gone and their #2 guy says, “I’m going to Cinci unless I get a better offer.” Do the Cubs want to negotiate with Girardi without any backup options? Do they blink and make an offer to their #2?

  17. oswego chris

    I have been extremely pessimistic about the possibility of Girardi coming here, but I am startiing to think I may have been wrong…there has to be interest or reservation about staying with Yanks or this would be over…I don’t think Girardi has any intention of getting to November to make the Yankees up their offer…life is about who has leverage…and we don’t have it very often…and Joe Girardi has it right now….

  18. Joe

    http://m.pjstar.com/jstar/db_98139/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=NU54SLmS

    I can’t find anything that says this from the Suntimes website, but I do know Girardi has a relationship with several Pjstar folks.

  19. Blackhawks1963

    Some of you WAY overrate the value of a manager. Again, its worth noting that Theo Epstein and Billy Beane type philosophy doesn’t place inordinate importance on the role of manager. Bob Melvin was a managerial reject in Arizona and Seattle before he flourished in Oakland, but it’s a product of the talent that Billy Beane has assembled and the Oakland way of playing baseball that is the principal driver of their success. Terry Francona was a managerial reject in Philadelphia before he presided over 2 World Series Championships in Boston, but it was Theo Epstein and Larry Luchinno who assembled the talent and it was Theo who strategized the Boston way of playing baseball that was the principal driver of their success.

    Joe Girardi isn’t a cure for 105 years of losing people. He’s a manager, period. The success or failure of the Cubs will come down LARGELY to the Theo/Jed building strategy playing dividends in terms of the pipeline of talent from the minors, complemented by what trades and signings they eventually make to support the homegrown talent. The manager will be important, but NOT THAT bloody important.

    1. Jamie

      Very well said.

  20. cub2014

    That Mayo article about Kris Bryant is pretty
    exciting. Sounds like this summer will be fun
    with the expected arrival of Baez and Bryant.
    If I were educating a guess on their careers, I
    would hope Baez will hit .250-.260 with 30 plus
    homers and Bryant .280-.290 with 25-30 homers.
    Now we need to add a couple good young
    lefthanded hitting outfielders.

    1. Eric

      Hard not to be excited about not seeing this lineup at some point next year:

      1. Castro 2b
      2. Sweeney CF
      3. Bryant 3b
      4. Rizzo 1b
      5. Baez SS
      6. Castillo C
      7. Lake LF
      8. TBD – RF
      9. Pitcher

      Even if you dropped Sweeney lower and moved up Baez, you don’t loose anything. If you find a big bat for LF and RF, then that lineup is going to generate some runs.

      1. Eric

        Too many “nots” in my first sentence. Pffftt

      2. ssckelley

        Not sure Castro will ever get moved, Baez might be the one moving to 2nd. You have Schierholtz being traded?

        1. Eric

          Bah! I knew that. In my mind I was constructing a Lake/TBD platoon. I think Castro moves, but either way they want to do it would work. I do think Baez brings more value to that position over the long term if he plays to his ability.

      3. On The Farm

        Outside of a $100M contract, I would like CF-Ellsbury(1), LF-Lake(2), 3B-Bryant(3), 1B-Rizzo(4), 2B-Baez(5), C-Castillo(6), SS-Castro(7), RF-Schierholtz(8).

        1. MightyBear

          I agree.

          1. ssckelley

            I do to but I do not think it is going to happen. I think re-signing Sweeney proves that they are not going after the top outfielders in free agency.

      4. cub2014

        Eric, cant wait to see these guys. But look
        at this lineup!
        Choo CF
        Castro SS
        Gonzalez LF
        Bryant RF
        Rizzo 1B
        Baez 3B
        Alcantera 2B
        Castillo C
        Bench: Lake,Sweeney,Valbuena,Watkins,Catcher
        That is a very good lineup. Young, controlled, balance,
        OBP, power. Castillo is your number 8 hitter. We are
        not that far away.

  21. Eric

    I like Manny Acta for a couple of reasons. First, with our expanded focus on the dominican, coupled with all of the mexican-speaking players already in the system, we could use a manager with the ability to speak to and related to these guys.

    Second, he’s young. You hire someone older and maybe the connection to the younger guys doesn’t happen as quickly, if at all.

    Third, numbers nerd. It would be nice to have a guy seemingly on the same page as Theo and Co. when it comes to sabermetrics. Dale always seemed to be on the outside looking in.

    Does Girardi check any of those boxes? Sure, but as well? I guess that’s the question.

    1. ssckelley

      Honestly I see that being more important in the minor leagues than managing the MLB team. When they are 16-18 year old kids need that “father like” figure in the clubhouse that can speak to them in their native language. But by the time they reach the big leagues they should be past needing all of that. Pretty much 1/2 of the players today in baseball come from foreign countries.

  22. LWeb23

    If I am the Plan B manager and Girardi stays in NY, I think I accept with a huge chip on my shoulder. Prove everyone wrong.

  23. cubzforlife

    What exactly is a “mexican speaking player”?

  24. Frank

    Everybody knows damn well that if the Cubs hire Joe Girardi, unicorns will roam the earth and the Cubs will live happily ever after. I forgot that puppies will stay puppies and be cute forever.

    1. DarthHater

      Drunk_2508b4_1455147.jpg

      1. Frank

        That’s just plain mean.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.