10/29/07 6:35 PM ET
Girardi offered Yanks manager's job
Ex-Yankee expected to take multiyear deal to succeed Torre
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Girardi, the 2006 National League Manager of the Year and a member of three Yankees World Series championship clubs, beat out Don Mattingly and Tony Pena in an intensive interview process conducted last week in Tampa, Fla. Mattingly and Pena were both informed by general manager Brian Cashman that they will not be hired.
"The Yankees have expressed interest in Joe becoming manager," Girardi's agent, Steve Mandel, said in a telephone interview with The New York Times on Monday. "We've decided to have discussions with them and we're moving forward. No timetable has been set, but it's a process we're letting take place."
Girardi, 43, is expected to receive a multiyear contract to become the Yankees' 32nd field manager, succeeding Joe Torre, who turned down a one-year performance-based contract offer on Oct. 18, ending a run of 12 successful seasons in New York.
Known as a hard-nosed, analytical type with a good feel for handling a pitching staff, Girardi was a member of the Yankees' 1996, '98 and '99 World Series clubs, highlights in a 15-year playing career that saw him in uniform with four organizations.
Girardi served as Torre's bench coach in 2005 before guiding the Marlins to a 78-victory season in '06, keeping the club in Wild Card contention into the final week of the campaign but falling out of favor with owner Jeffrey Loria and general manager Larry Beinfest, putting him in the awkward position of accepting his Manager of the Year Award some six weeks after being dismissed by Florida.
In a conference call with reporters after his lengthy interview in Tampa, meeting face-to-face with George Steinbrenner, sons Hank and Hal, plus numerous club officials, Girardi said that he would have to treat the Yankees job as a different case than his Marlins experience.
"I think every managing job is different, because of players and all the parts," Girardi said on Oct. 22. "Everyone changes. It's different people and different situations with different expectations.
"I think every job that you take is different, and I believe that every year is different, because the people are going to change. The idea is still to win a World Series and to win ballgames."
Girardi spent the 2007 season as a broadcaster for the Yankees' YES Network and also worked for FOX, who assigned him to broadcast coverage of the World Series. Girardi was on the field in Denver for Game 4 on Sunday as the Boston Red Sox completed a series sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
The decision to go with Girardi will end Mattingly's four-season run as a member of the Yankees' coaching staff. One of the most popular players of his era, Mattingly served for three seasons as a hitting coach and spent 2007 as Torre's bench coach, saying that he had an eye on managing the organization for which he played from 1982-95.
"Today is a very difficult day because managing the Yankees was Don's aspiration and goal since becoming the hitting coach four years ago," said Ray Schulte, Mattingly's representative. "Even though this opportunity has passed him by, he wants to thank Mr. Steinbrenner for his initial faith, inspiration and support throughout his playing and coaching career.
"Don will use this time to reflect on this experience while considering future family and career options. In the meantime, he did inform the Yankees that given the circumstances, he won't accept a coaching position within the organization during 2008."
Pena, 50, was the American League Manager of the Year in 2003 with the Royals, guiding Kansas City to an 83-victory season. He managed the Royals from 2002 into 2005, and said on a conference call last week that he would be amenable to returning to the Yankees if either Girardi or Mattingly received the job.
The Girardi decision comes less than 24 hours after the Yankees received word that likely American League MVP Alex Rodriguez will opt out of his contract, forfeiting the final three years and $81 million to become a free agent.
In a statement on Monday, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman -- who has repeatedly refused comment while the managerial search is ongoing -- said that the Yankees would have liked the opportunity to meet with Rodriguez and present him with a contract extension.
"Alex was a key part of our success over the last four seasons, and I appreciate having the opportunity to work with him," Cashman said. "I wish Alex, Cynthia and their growing family the best of luck in the future.
"I only wish we could have raised a championship trophy together during his time here, which was the ultimate goal we all shared."
With Rodriguez off the board, the Yankees will next have to tackle the issues of several key free agents, including closer Mariano Rivera, catcher Jorge Posada, left-hander Andy Pettitte and outfielder Bobby Abreu.
Agent Scott Boras said the unsettled nature of the Yankees' offseason made it impossible for Rodriguez to reach a decision on whether to opt out or not by his contractual deadline of 10 days after the World Series.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.