NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Despite missing the playoffs, the Yankees want Joe Girardi to return as manager next season.
Girardi was hired after the 2007 season, and his contract expires at the end of October. Crippled by injuries, New York had its poorest record since 1992 and finished tied for third in the AL East at 85-77.
“He knows we’d like to have him stay and continue as manager of the New York Yankees as we move forward,” general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday. “I feel we hired a good one. He’s been a world champion player for us. He’s been a coach, a broadcaster and obviously a world champion manager. So we’ve benefited from having him and we’d like to do that going forward, but we’ll have to speak with him and see how it plays out.”
Cashman met Girardi for coffee on Monday, a day after New York’s season ended, and plans to have lunch Wednesday in New York with Girardi’s agent, Steve Mandell.
“We should get a good feel after that meeting,” Cashman told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Tuesday.
Girardi replaced Joe Torre after the 2007 season and was given a $7.8 million, three-year contract. He is completing a $9 million, three-year deal. Cashman wouldn’t say whether he would give the Chicago Cubs permission to speak with Girardi about their manager’s job, which opened when Dale Sveum was fired Monday.
“I think he likes it here,” Cashman said. “We’re going to give him a real good reason to stay, and he’s earned that through his six years with us so far.”
Cashman told Francesa if Girardi returns there’s a good chance the coaching staff will remain in tact. Cashman said he’s very comfortable with Girardi and has not started thinking about candidates to replace him. However …
“I think we had a really good, strong process that we went through six years ago or so,” Cashman said, referring to the search that yielded Girardi. “If I have to turn to that process again I know it will bear out a tremendous candidate. But I’d rather not go through that process, so I do not have anybody I’m focused on or looking at … but if I have to go that route it’s something we’ll have to focus on rather quickly.”
Heading into the offseason, the Yankees face numerous questions, especially about their pitching staff and infield. Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte are retiring; and second baseman Robinson Cano is a free agent, as are pitcher Hiroki Kuroda and outfielder Curtis Granderson.
Cashman told Francesa he figures the Yankees will need “about 600 innings” from outside the organization.
Shortstop Derek Jeter missed virtually the entire season after breaking an ankle last October and third baseman Alex Rodriguez, having returned from hip surgery, may have to serve a drug suspension for a large portion or all of next season.
Cano, a five-time All-Star second baseman who turns 31 on Oct. 22, can become a free agent after the World Series.
“We’d love to have Robby back,” Cashman said. “He’s been a great Yankee. I think if he stays he has a legitimate chance to experience what you just saw, for instance, a little bit from Mariano, where maybe he has a chance to be the first Dominican-born player to be in Monument Park.”
“I can’t guarantee Robby will take our offer, but I can guarantee our offer will be significant, and Yankee-like,” Cashman told Francesa.
Cashman also said it’s unclear whether the Yankees will be able to get under next year’s $189 million luxury tax threshold, which includes about $177 million for player salaries.
“It’s not a mandate. It’s a goal that we have if it’s possible,” Cashman said. “There’s a lot of benefits to staying under that, but it’s not a mandate if it’s at the expense of a championship run. It just depends on what the opportunities are before us, and the costs associated with it.”
He also plans to address the Yankees’ lack of power this season. Injuries and the departures of Raul Ibanez, Nick Swisher, Russell Martin and Eric Chavez as free agents caused home runs to drop from a team-record 245 last year to 144, the Yankees’ fewest in a non-shortened season since they hit 130 in 1989. Not counting strike years, it was the largest falloff in baseball history, topping a decrease of 96 for the 1988 Chicago Cubs.
“Power is a big piece of this franchise and something I believe in,” he said.
Cashman said the poor season can’t be attributed solely to the loss of key players. He blamed some of the moves he made and didn’t make.
“We got derailed this year by decision-making as well as injuries,” Cashman said.
Cashman said he will meet with the Yankees professional scouts starting Monday to formulate his offseason plan.
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