Yankees name Girardi manager
And, in a major twist, Torre may switch from the Yankees to the Dodgers. Now that Girardi is off the market -- and especially after Grady Little resigned on Tuesday -- people close to the situation say the Dodgers will put a full-court press on Torre and expect him to accept the job.
People inside the Yankees organization are re-energized by the appointment of Girardi after suffering a difficult blow when Alex Rodriguez opted out of his $252 million Yankees contract.
"I think any of us would be somewhat surprised to get the job because it's such an honor," Girardi said Tuesday. "I'm extremely excited and thrilled. "I can't be Joe Torre, because I'm made up different. I'm a different character. I'm just worried about being myself and getting the most out of the guys."
Girardi's deal is worth $7.8 million, a person familiar with the agreement said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the Yankees didn't announce the details. It includes bonuses based on how far the team advances in the postseason.
Girardi has longtime ties to the Yankees as a former player and coach and current broadcaster. He has been baseball's hottest commodity among managerial candidates almost since the day he was fired by the Marlins following a Manager of the Year performance in 2006.
The Dodgers contacted Girardi and Torre about their managerial job, people familiar with the situation say.
The Dodgers' current manager, Grady Little, had a contract through 2008, but he resigned Tuesday in a move he said he considered for some time.
"I've got my own personal reasons. There's a lot of belief I've been dealt an injustice here. That couldn't be further from the truth," Little said on a conference call. "My plans? To play with my grandkids."
ESPN.com first reported that Girardi accepted the Yankees' offer.
Once he was informed Monday that the Yankees had chosen Girardi, Don Mattingly told the team he had no interest in returning next year as bench coach or in any other coaching position.
Beloved as team captain, Donnie Baseball was the early favorite to replace Torre and openly coveted the spot. Instead, the Yankees picked experience over popularity, choosing Girardi even at the risk Mattingly would walk away from the franchise.
"I think Joe is a good baseball person and totally will be a great manager there in New York," Mattingly said.
Still, spurning Mattingly -- who always receives one of the loudest ovations on Old-Timers' Day -- was sure to be compared to another famous Yankee snub: Babe Ruth was never offered the manager's job he so desperately wanted.
Mattingly was the Yankees hitting coach for three years before moving next to Torre this season. Schulte said Mattingly congratulated Girardi and wished him well.
Girardi also beat out Yankees first-base coach Tony Pena, who had the most managerial experience of the candidates. Pena agreed to remain with the coaching staff. Former major league pitcher Mike Harkey, Yankees minor league coach Dave Eiland and former Yankees infielder Bobby Meacham also are coaching possibilities. Kevin Long and Rob Thompson are expected to remain on the staff.
Girardi caught for the Yankees from 1996-99, served as a bench coach in 2005, then managed the Marlins the following year. He kept a young team in contention until September and then was fired, apparently for clashing with owner Jeffrey Loria and others above him.
The 43-year-old Girardi often told many in the Marlins about how the Yankees did things, reinforcing the winning ways he learned in New York. Now, he'll get a chance to try them out himself.
Girardi was the first person to interview to replace Torre, who managed the team to the playoffs in each of his 12 seasons. He spent about five hours with the Yankees' baseball operations staff last week, and an hour with George Steinbrenner, sons Hank and Hal, son-in-law Felix Lopez and team president Randy Levine.
Girardi turned down the Baltimore Orioles' managing job last summer, choosing to spend time with his ailing father.
Mattingly also interviewed for the Yankees spot last week, telling team management how much he wanted it. Earlier this month, he said replacing Torre would be quite a challenge.
"It's like following John Wooden or something," Mattingly said then. "This guy wins championship after championship and we're in the playoffs in every year.
"It's pretty much a no-win situation for someone coming in here to be able to live up to the expectations or live up to what he did. It's not going to happen. So as far as someone coming in and taking over this job, it's not necessarily a great situation."
Girardi gets the unenviable task of following Torre, who led the Yankees to four World Series titles in his first five years -- but none since -- and was one of the most celebrated sports figures in the city.
If Girardi takes the job, he inherits a team in transition and one without Alex Rodriguez. He also is not assured of getting back pitchers Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera or catcher Jorge Posada.
Rivera and his agent, Fernando Cuza, were at Legends Field in Tampa on Tuesday, to talk with Yankees officials. The ace reliever, who has filed for free agency, said only, "We've got to see something."
Afterward, Cuza said they had a good meeting but wouldn't speculate as to whether Rivera will be a Yankee next season.
"I don't know," Cuza said. "It's up to them."
Rodriguez informed the Yankees on Sunday that he was terminating his contract and becoming a free agent. The Yankees have repeatedly said they wouldn't negotiate with A-Rod if he hit the open market.
The Yankees offered Torre a $5 million, one-year contract featuring a $2.5 million paycut and $3 million in performance-based bonuses, and he turned it down Oct. 18. The result was a messy departure that split Yankees fans into camps of Torre supporters and proponents for change.