In October 2017 the New York Yankees were in the midst of a transition. Years of underachieving with big name stars had produced very mixed results, and as a result, the Yankees finally decided it was time to just go with the kids.
Soon the likes of Aaron Judge, Luis Severino and Gary Sanchez began the conga line of promising young stars who broke out during the 2017 season for a Yankees squad that was on the doorstep of the World Series.
The man guiding that team was Joe Girardi. The same Joe Girardi, who at this point in his career, was eight years removed from winning a World Series in the Bronx, and whose tenure in New York came to an end, despite the fact his work during the 2017 season was worthy of Manager of the Year consideration.
Two years later Girardi has spent the better part of the last 24 months bouncing around the TV circuit between Fox Sports and MLB Network. The team that fired him is in the playoffs.
As is the case with a lot of big name managers or head coaches, the itch to coach again almost never goes away, and Girardi’s name is coming up a lot around baseball circles.
Two teams that are constantly being linked to the ex-Yankees manager are the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets.
The Cubs make a lot of sense for so many reasons. 1) They fired their own World Series winning manager in Joe Maddon, creating a vacancy. 2) They are built to win now. 3) Girardi once played for the Cubs, and has a long connection to the area.
But what about the Mets? According to the New York Post and many other publications, Girardi has stated he is open to the managerial jobs as they become available, and wants to manage again. Of course the Mets job is not available – at least not right now. There would need to be a vacancy first.
Mickey Callaway is still under contract, and the Mets still have not announced a decision on his future following Sunday’s season finale.
If the Mets do indeed fire Callaway, Girardi would logically be high on the list.
The problem is the Mets would have to pay him. Like a lot of big time managers, Girardi will not accept the Mets job if the Wilpon’s are not willing to pony up the $4 million or $5 million annually it would require to pay a World Series winning manager.
A look at the highest paid managers in the game, Maddon was making $6 million a year in Chicago. Bruce Bochey was similarly earning $6 million in San Francisco. Terry Francona makes about $4 million a year in Cleveland. All three of these managers have combined to win six World Series titles. They earned it.
Girardi has too.
Offering Girardi a deal worth roughly $1 million a year, or some $150,000 more than the Mets are paying Mickey Callaway is not going to cut it.
In addition, the Mets would have to assure Girardi that there would not be any in-game interference from Brodie VanWagenen the way it was this past year. Would VanWagenen accept taking a step back in personnel decisions if it means bringing in a successful manager into Queens? That is a huge question.
The allure of bringing in Giardi would be too much to pass up. Certainly Mets fans are all aboard if it happens.
In addition to winning a World Series, Girardi was credited with managing the many large egos in the Yankee clubhouse. From Derek Jeter to Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, and Alex Rodriguez, Girardi found a way to get the best out of them.
Imagine what he could do with a young core of Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, JD Davis, and Jacob deGrom?
Yeah, it’s tantalizing.
If Girardi wants to come to Queens, Mets fans better hope that the Wilpon’s don’t pull a trick play from the playbook of New York Jets owner Christopher Johnson, when he opted not to hire a Super Bowl winning head coach in Mike McCarthy, who reportedly wanted the job, and instead opted to settle on Adam Gase. How has that worked?