Manager Staying In The Bronx As Cubbies Forced To Turn To Plan B

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York Yankees have re-signed manager Joe Girardi to a four-year contract that runs through 2017, the team announced on Wednesday.

The deal is worth $16 million plus bonuses, making him the second-highest paid manager in baseball behind Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels, WFAN and baseball insider Jon Heyman reported.

“It was a big family decision because it is important years of my kids’ lives. They wanted me to continue doing what I was doing so it became pretty easy,” Girardi told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Wednesday evening.

His current deal was set to expire at the end of the month. Girardi, who was lauded for his efforts after guiding the injury ravaged Bombers to 85 wins this past season, was reportedly interested in exploring the Chicago Cubs’ opening in his native state, but Yankees brass made it clear they wanted a speedy resolution.

“I think we’d both agree, and I don’t want to speak for him, but I think both sides agree this needs to be done quickly,” Yankees co-owner Hal Steinbrenner told WFAN radio on Tuesday. “Quite frankly, we’re going to be starting our baseball meetings — as we always do — soon. And we want the manager, whoever that is — hopefully it’s Joe — to be a big part of them. Sooner rather than later, I think we’d both agree on that.”

The Yankees have made the playoffs under Girardi in four of his six seasons, highlighted by a World Series championship in 2009. He’s gone a major league-best 564-408 (.580) since 2008.

“I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t think we could win a championship,” Girardi said during a conference call earlier in the day. “I have faith in our organization. I want to be part of us getting back on top.”

When asked if he’s concerned about how different the Yankees might be by spring training, Girardi told Francesa it would be naive to ignore the questions.

“I think there is some uncertainty, what our team is going to be like next year just because of some of the things that have happened – with players becoming free agents and players retiring and some other uncertainties. But that doesn’t scare me. That’s all part of the job. That’s part of the challenge and I enjoy that. That’s the competitive spirit in me believing we can win and that’s why I came back,” Girardi said.

“I mean it’s conceivable that you’re going to lose seven, eight, nine, 10 players off this club and that’s very unusual for us. And that to me is the biggest difference – there’s question marks that will be answered over the winter,” he added.

Girardi said Chicago will “always be special” to him. He said the Cubs, the team he started his playing career with, are the team he grew up rooting for, but added that New York “is special for me, too.”

A catcher for 15 years in the bigs, Girardi played for the Yankees from 1996-99 and won three World Series rings. He said he initiated the idea of a four-year contract, telling reporters he liked the idea of more stability.

The most pressing order of business for the Yankees now that they have their manager back in tow is re-signing Robinson Cano. The soon-to-be unrestricted free agent second baseman reportedly wants a 10-year deal worth north of $300 million. Girardi told Francesa the Yankees can only control what they can control.

“I said earlier today I thought Albert Pujols would always be a Cardinal. And there are a lot of guys that you think that is going to be the case and sometimes it doesn’t work out,” Girardi said. “I always talk about how in free agency it takes two to tango. We know how important he is to our club and he knows how important he is to our club, but you never know what another club might do and that’s the concern.”

While a lot of people look at Cano as a player who can be aloof and seem disinterested in the aura of being a Yankee, Girardi said don’t be so quick to read his mind.

“I think it matters because I think he takes pride in his defense. I think he takes pride in his offense, and what he does. And I see him work and I see him in the weight room after games and I think he takes pride in his game,” Girardi said. “If ever there was a year that that would have an effect on him it would have to be this year after watching what Mo and Andy went through, and how they were celebrated. I hope it does because he has a chance to be one of the great Yankees, but only time will tell.”

Girardi said he’s confident first baseman Mark Teixeira will return from his wrist injury at 100 percent and expects another good year from Alfona Soriano. But as for Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, how the Yankees manage their age and health, in addition to A-Rod’s off-field problems, will go a long way toward providing answers as to what they can be.

If Girardi fulfills all four years of the contract he will have 10 with the Yankees. When asked if this is his last go-around in the Bronx, Girardi told reporters, “I haven’t even thought about it.”

“I don’t just manage to work, I manage to win championships,” he added.

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