CHICAGO -- As the storylines start to unfold regarding the Chicago Cubs' managerial position, there's at least one thing we know about free-agent-to-be manager, Joe Girardi: The New York Yankees want him back. And, according to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, Girardi might feel the same.
"Yeah, I think he likes it here," Cashman said in a news conference Tuesday. "If you're good at what you do, you'll have opportunities to stay. He's definitely going to have that. We're going to give him a real good reason to stay. He's earned that."
Cashman said he talked to Girardi on Monday over coffee and planned to meet with his agent, Chicagoan Steve Mandell, on Wednesday. Girardi is under contract with the Yankees until the end of this month, which means the Cubs would need permission from the Yankees to discuss their opening -- at least during October -- after firing Dale Sveum on Monday. Cashman was asked if the Cubs had called yet.
"Not able to say, but he is under contract and we have an interest in trying to keep him," he said. "Joe has been consistent since we've had him here."
But we've only heard from Cashman as Giardi hasn't spoken publicly since the season ended for the Yankees on Sunday. The Yankees understand their manager might be in high demand.
"I can't speak to other opportunities," Cashman said. "We can't control what other options may be out there. If you're good at what you do, people are going to have interest."
On Monday, Cubs president Theo Epstein said he would look "first and foremost" at people with managerial experience. If Girardi re-signs with the Yankees, Epstein's options turn to a manager under contract with a team -- which would take a trade to pry away -- or one who has been let go recently, like former Mariners skipper Eric Wedge. Or one who has been out of the managerial game for some time.
But Epstein didn't rule out a rookie manager again. In lieu of experience, the ideal candidate would have to show signs of being great leader, in whatever baseball capacity they've been involved. The Cubs undoubtedly gave some insight into this when they hired Sveum in the first place, before the 2012 season. They interviewed several other candidates.
Here's an update on where some of those names are now:
Mike Maddux, pitching coach, Texas Rangers
After another dismal finish to the season, there could be upheaval in Texas that might open the door for Maddux to finally get a managerial position, one which he admittedly wasn't ready to accept the first time he interviewed with Epstein & Co. The Cubs would have to surround him with a polished hitting coach as they'll have more position player prospects appearing at Wrigley Field in the near future than pitchers. But those pitchers would arrive eventually, and Maddux is considered a great mentor.
DeMarlo Hale, bench coach, Toronto Blue Jays
Hale was one of the last to interview in 2011 when he was with the Red Sox. He moved on to the Blue Jays and is still highly regarded in baseball. He has been coaching at the professional level in some capacity since 1993.
Pete Mackanin, scout, New York Yankees
He was let go by the Philadelphia Phillies after the 2012 season after serving as their bench coach since 2009. He spent 2013 scouting for the Yankees.
He is still highly regarded as a top managerial candidate, and the Cubs would not be able to talk with him until after the Indians are eliminated from the postseason. He could get a good recommendation from Indians manager Terry Francona, whom the Cubs know well.
The one notion that might render these names moot is that the job description is different now.
"Soon, our organization will transition from a phase in which we have been primarily acquiring young talent to a phase in which we will promote many of our best prospects and actually field a very young, very talented club at the major league level," Epstein said in his statement on Monday.
That wasn't the case two years ago. A new phase may require a different kind of manager. In fact, it most likely does, which means the front office is back to square one. However, admittedly, management understands the terrain better and exactly what it wants.
The Cubs' next move is a big one, and they know it.