The Chicago Cubs have a managerial opening, but Joe Girardi has a job. He is only obligated to the Yankees for the remainder of the season. Therein lies the intrigue.
Let the posturing begin.
When Girardi addresses the media Friday for what he says will be the only time on the subject, expect him to laud the Yankees while professing his love for Chicago. That plays it down the middle and keeps both options open for the wise young manager. It raises the financial ante, even if he has no desire to leave New York.
The Yankees could stop all of it by merely extending him now. But that will not happen. The Yankees pay very well but have this ``earn your keep’’ philosophy with expiring contracts. When it comes to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera—they would never leave New York—the strategy, such as it is, works very well. There may be some sparks from players with such comments as ``I have to consider all of my options,’’ but everyone knows they will remain in pinstripes.
Girardi could be a different story. He has one World Series title and he has legitimate options. His ailing dad lives in the Chicago area and Girardi would like to see him more often. On the New York side of things, Girardi has set something of an impossible standard by winning the Series: Now, all he has to do is win it all the time to keep the media wolf, demanding fans andHal Steinbrenner content. If Steinbrenner does not appear to be the tempestuous and shoot from the hip individual that his dad was, do not mistake that for any weakness in his desire to control the team.
Girardi is winding down on a three-year deal that paid him a reported $7.5 million. He will get a big raise from the Yankees--or his next employer.
The Yankees can take Girardi off the market right now. But that will not happen. Their philosophy is in the way. One way or another, Girardi will make them pay for it.