Chicago Cubs: Joe Girardi

Maddux starts at head of Hall rotation

July, 27, 2014
7/27/14
7:11
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Just like he carved up opponents from 60 feet, 6 inches away, Greg Maddux moved through his Hall of Fame speech Sunday with deft precision.

There was family to thank, teammates and coaches he appreciated and a few people who were key to his development at a young age. He showed love and respect to his wife Kathy for holding down the fort at home. He explained why his Hall of Fame plaque won't have a logo on the cap since he was unable to choose between the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves.

[+] EnlargeGreg Maddux
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesGreg Maddux's Hall of Fame speech was short and sweet, done with precision, which was similiar to his approach to pitching during his career.
He even sprinkled his own deadpan humor into the proceedings, talking about flatulence, how he was mistaken for the batboy before his first major league game, and how he spent much of his time with the Braves watching John Smoltz's hairline recede.

Appropriately at the head of the rotation among Hall of Fame inductees, it took less than five minutes for Maddux to mix in a little potty humor during what he called the first speech of his life.

"My brother, Mike, led by example," he said about his sibling who is also the pitching coach of the Texas Rangers. "Everything I was about to do on and off the field, he had already done. I was very fortunate to have a brother that I could learn from. He even taught me a little bit about science. It has to do with a little methane and a lighter, and I still get a huge kick out of it today. That's funny, huh? OK."

In his more serious moments, Maddux expressed appreciation to the four franchises for which he pitched, focusing most on the Cubs and Braves, obviously. He ended his career with the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.

"With the Cubs, I had the opportunity to play with Andre Dawson, Rick Sutcliffe, Ryne Sandberg and two fine catchers, Damon Berryhill and Joe Girardi," he said. "The city of Chicago and the Cub fans were awesome, maybe the best in baseball."

The comment managed to bring out some groans from a large contingent of Atlanta fans in the crowd estimated to be 48,000 strong. He made up for it seconds later when talking about his free-agent move from Chicago to Atlanta.

"I picked Atlanta because I finally wanted to get a World Series ring and start a family," he said. "All right, sorry, Chicago, but yeah."

Maddux eventually did get that ring in 1995, with his career bringing him back to Chicago in 2004.

"I love Chicago so much," Maddux said. "The first time I played there, that I was very grateful that Gary Hughes and Jim Hendry brought me back over to Chicago. That would give me a second chance to win there, and maybe retire where it all started, but I wouldn't be a Cub if I couldn't handle a little heartache and we missed the postseason by one game my first year back.

"I was thankful I got a chance to play for Dusty Baker and work with Larry Rothschild. I enjoyed throwing most of my games to Henry Blanco and Michael Barrett, and again, it was even funnier when they would get hit in the face [with foul tips]."

For a first speech, Maddux handled the moment with aplomb. He didn't have to explain why he will go in to the Hall of Fame without picking the Braves over the Cubs or the Cubs over the Braves. He did anyway.

"People ask me why I have no Hall of Fame plaque, no logo, or why my Hall of Fame plaque has no logo," he said. "I spent 12 years in Chicago, 11 in Atlanta and both places are very special to me. Without experiences in both cities, I would not be standing here today."

Girardi made the right call; Did the Yanks?

May, 20, 2014
5/20/14
11:19
AM CT
Matthews By Wallace Matthews
ESPNChicago.com
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NEW YORK -- It was almost four years ago that Joe Girardi walked into the manager's office at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago and was greeted by the sight of his own unmistakeable silhouette on the back page of the Sun-Times under the headline "The Only Man for the Job.''

The paper was talking about the thankless task of managing the Chicago Cubs, who as we all know, have not won the World Series since before even a single brick that went into the construction of Wrigley Field had even been forged.

[+] EnlargeCubs erase 9-run deficit to win 10-9
AP Photo/Charles BennettJoe Girardi played two stints for the Cubs for a total of seven seasons.
Girardi's contract with the Yankees was expiring at the end of the season and the Yankees were following their World Championship 2009 season with what would prove to be a good, but ultimately disappointing 2012 season that ended with elimination by the Texas Rangers in the ALCS.

It seemed like the right time for both sides to make a switch.

But it never happened. The Cubs came hard for Girardi in 2010, and again at the end of last season, and both times, Girardi spurned a return to his roots -- he is from E. Peoria, Ill., grew up rooting for the Cubs and wound up playing seven big-league seasons for the over two tenures -- and re-signed with the Yankees.

There will be no such greeting this week, when the Yankees play two games against the Cubs at Wrigley followed by four against the White Sox at The Cell, but no doubt, when Girardi's current four-year contract expires after the 2017 season, his name will come up in conversation with the Cubs job, which seems to be always available.

In the three-plus seasons since, the Yankees' record is 300-229 (.567). They have won their division twice, finished third once, and in spite of losing 60 percent of their starting rotation to injury, lead the AL East by a half-game. They haven't fared as well in October, losing 2 of 3 playoff series and nine of 14 playoff games, and of course missed the post-season entirely last year.

Meanwhile, the Cubs have changed GMs (from Jim Hendry to Theo Epstein), been through three managers (Mike Quade, Dale Sveum, and currently, Rick Renteria) and have played .403 ball, with a record of 213-315, including this season's 15-27. Obviously, there have been no post-seasons, and worst of all, with the Houston Astros moving to the AL, are now perennial bottom-feeders in the NL Central.

Clearly, Girardi made the right call when he decided not once, but twice, to spurn the Cubs.

The question for Yankee fans is, did the Yankees make the right call in bringing Girardi back with a new four-year deal following last year's collapse?

My opinion is that they did. It's certainly not the manager's fault that the club was beset by injuries last year and this year, or that he was saddled with an aging, overpaid roster and little to no immediate prospects in the farm system. Still, he has kept the Yankees winners, and in contention, for the past three years and is in the process of doing it again this year, despite many of the same problems that brought the Yankees down in 2013.

Do you agree? Disagree? Weigh in in the comments section or via my Twitter feed, @ESPNNYYankees.

Yanks up first for Girardi, then what?

October, 1, 2013
10/01/13
8:00
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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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."

[+] EnlargeJoe Girardi
Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY SportsJoe Girardi seems to be at the top of the Cubs' wish list for manager, but the Yankees are preparing to keep him in New York.
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:

(Read full post)

Girardi right choice for Cubs' credibility

September, 30, 2013
9/30/13
6:49
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The firing of Dale Sveum had very little to do with what the former Chicago Cubs manager did wrong.

Sveum and his bosses knew when he was hired that the team would be varying degrees of bad for three or four seasons. The player development plan in the mid-to-lower minor leagues seems to be moving along nicely. A group of projected impact players might be making its way to Wrigley Field by the end of the 2014 season.

What president of baseball operations Theo Epstein desires in a manager is a stronger presence, a persona that will push his office and owner Tom Ricketts toward a championship mentality in a shorter period time than was initially planned. Epstein and Co. are held captive by a depleted baseball revenue stream. Money for the baseball operation will be limited for another three years due to a covenant agreement in the sale language of the team to the Ricketts family.

Simply put, Cubs ownership will need to be more creative in finding revenue within the business. That will be the only way they will convince a manager like Joe Girardi to come on board.

Epstein has watched with interest as his former manager with the Boston Red Sox, Terry Francona, pushes a morbidly drab Cleveland Indians organization to new heights in 2013. By insisting on some offensive help if he decided to take the job, Francona used the clout of his well-heeled résumé to leverage a commitment to win now.

Epstein knows that the plan to renovate Wrigley Field and add important revenue streams for his baseball program have fallen hopelessly behind for now. That knowledge pushes his creative and competitive nature to find a quicker route to success. What would be a smarter avenue to that goal than hiring Girardi?

This Girardi plan will also get the full endorsement of the business office, led by president Crane Kenney. Kenney is the mastermind of the renovation of Wrigley. He needs a bit more time to set his revenue plan into high gear. With the WGN TV and radio rights coming up for renewal after 2014, the team does not yet see the windfall billions coming its way until after 2018. The Cubs have lost close to 700,000 tickets sold per season since 2008. At this point, they need to stop the decline of season-ticket sales. The "Girardi factor" directs a way for season-ticket holders to see a direct path to championship baseball coming back to the north side of Chicago.

Girardi fits into all the criteria that Epstein is looking for in a manager. "The job will require someone who is dynamic," Epstein said on Monday. "It will require tremendous creativity to tackle the issues. I think we will find that in the next manager. It requires tremendous energy, and part of the reason we are here today is that we decided the job requires some change."

Girardi fits the bill in all of those areas. He would bring a world championship aura back to Chicago after winning as a player and as a manager in New York. Epstein went as far as to say that the future manager of the Cubs must at least understand the culture of "Cub Nation" before being considered for the gig. “Candidates who have the Cub experience in their background will have the built-in advantage of knowing the marketplace and the franchise," Epstein said. "[That candidate] might be better equipped in that one area to deal with that gauntlet that, at times, can be managing the Cubs. Yes, I think it helps [to have a Cubs background], [but] is it a prerequisite or does it mean it can‘t be repaired if you haven’t been through here? No.

"There is a bit more of an adjustment period when you have not been through here, as I have discovered when you come from the outside.”

Cubs job would be a big risk for Girardi

September, 30, 2013
9/30/13
12:01
PM CT
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
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Joe GirardiJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesWill Joe Girardi make the leap from the Bronx to the Friendly Confines in 2014?
CHICAGO -- With manager Dale Sveum's firing official after two years and 197 losses, the Chicago Cubs are on the lookout for a new skipper to command a sinking ship.

Who doesn't want to lose 90-plus games in Cubby blue while answering questions about minor leaguers?

SportsNation

Should the Cubs hire Joe Girardi as manager if he leaves New York?

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Discuss (Total votes: 4,427)

Joe Girardi, who is under contract with the New York Yankees until Nov. 1, is the top name on this new prospect list, for good reason. The former Cub and Northwestern graduate is not only a fan favorite but also a savvy manager known for his organizational skills and devotion to his famous binder, his baseball bible of trends and statistics.

The question is: What kind of team would Girardi get? It would be foolish of him to take this job if it's the same one Sveum left.

In Sveum's short tenure, the Cubs were not built to win. It would be wrong to say they were tanking for draft picks and international spending dollars, but there was little focus on the major league product. The attendance, which dipped to a 15-year low, showed that.

(Read full post)

Joe Girardi unsure about future

September, 30, 2013
9/30/13
11:47
AM CT
Marchand By Andrew Marchand
ESPNNewYork.com
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HOUSTON -- Joe Girardi is unsure if he will return as the New York Yankees manager in 2014.

"I haven't really made up my mind," Girardi said during his nearly 30-minute state-of-the-season news conference before the Yankees' final game against the Houston Astros.

Girardi, who turns 49 next month, said he'll make his decision after consulting with his wife and three children, who are 14, 11 and 7.

Girardi, who reportedly made $3 million this season, said finances will have "zero" to do with his decision. He also played down the idea that he would want to leave for his hometown Chicago Cubs, if manager Dale Sveum were let go. Girardi said his wife and kids are very happy in Westchester, N.Y. His family ties to Chicago -- with both his parents having passed away -- are not as strong anymore. Plus, he hasn't lived there since 2006.

"So there's not as much there as there used to be," Girardi said.

Read the entire story.

Cubs right to consider all options with staff

September, 20, 2013
9/20/13
3:44
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- What the Chicago Cubs front office, led By Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, is doing with Dale Sveum and the coaching staff is not out of the ordinary. Epstein and Co. are interested in hiring the best baseball players and instructors to attain their future goals. Just as they look to sign or acquire the top young players, so will they pursue the best free agent managers and coaches.

Epstein and Hoyer like most of what Sveum and his staff have done in his two years on the job. Despite their warm and fuzzy feelings for Sveum and his coaches, it’s wise to investigate accomplished free-agent managers like Joe Girardi.

(Read full post)

Joe Girardi supports Dale Sveum

November, 26, 2011
11/26/11
1:49
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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EVANSTON, Ill. -- New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi knows how hard it is to run a team, especially one as storied as his former team, the Chicago Cubs. That's why he is hoping for the best for new Cubs skipper Dale Sveum.

"I had a chance to know Dale a little bit, not a lot," Girardi told ESPNChicago.com as he watched the Michigan St.-Northwestern football game on Saturday afternoon. "And obviously, he's had a number of jobs, whether it's been a third base coach in Boston or hitting coach in Milwaukee, and he's been around the game a long time and he's a guy that has prepared himself for this opportunity and I'm happy for him."

Read the entire story.

Hendry didn't want to wait for Girardi, others

October, 21, 2010
10/21/10
12:44
PM CT
By ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
CHICAGO -- Why didn't Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry wait for the New York Yankees' season to end to gauge the interest of Joe Girardi in returning to Chicago?

Read the entire story.

Hendry meets with Sandberg

September, 22, 2010
9/22/10
5:05
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry sat down with Triple-A Iowa manager Ryne Sandberg for a formal interview on Wednesday in Arizona.

Hendry, who traveled to Arizona to talk to the Cubs Hall of Famer, had dinner with Sandberg on Tuesday night. The plan for Wednesday's interview was to have a more lengthy and pointed discussion surrounding the manager job.

Although there is no clear-cut favorite for the job, Sandberg, like interim manager Mike Quade, will get serious consideration from Hendry before he makes the final choice to present to Chairman of the Board Tom Ricketts for final approval sometime in mid- to late-October.

Sandberg, who was named the Pacific Coast League manager of the year in 2010, has managed four years in the organization: two at Class A Peoria and one year at Double-A Tennessee before spending this season in Triple-A Iowa.

Hendry, known for his thoroughness in hiring his two previous managers (Dusty Baker in 2002 and Lou Piniella in 2006), interviewed Quade and Sandberg before hiring Piniella. At that time, Hendry encouraged Sandberg to get more experience by managing in the minor leagues. The GM eventually offered the Peoria job to Sandberg, which he accepted.

Quade has more than 1,200 minor-league victories as manager. ESPNChicago.com has learned that former Mariners manager Wakamatsu has been added to the list of prospective interviews by the Cubs. Included on that list is Washington coach Pat Listach, Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly, former Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners manager Bob Melvin and Quade.

Former Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge is the only other known candidate to have a formal interview up until Sandberg's meeting with Hendry.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi remains a wild card in the mix. Girardi is under contract with New York until the season ends. It is unlikely the Cubs will be able to interview Girardi before the Yankees are eliminated from the playoffs or eventually win the World Series.

Possibility of Girardi keeps Cubs in limbo

September, 14, 2010
9/14/10
11:48
AM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
As long as New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi is perceived to be available, the Cubs manager search will continue on its uncertain pattern.

Girardi’s friends and confidants feel that the 46-year-old former Cubs, Yankees and Cardinals catcher could be happy staying in New York, or taking the ultimate challenge of the Cubs managing job.

Cubs general manger Jim Hendry has a short list of potential candidates, starting with Cubs Triple-A manager Ryne Sandberg, former Indians manager Eric Wedge, former Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez and interim Cubs manager Mike Quade.

Quade has impressed Hendry with the job he’s done by keeping veterans and rookies focused on working hard and wining ballgames in a lost season. However, evaluating players and team personnel during September is difficult for any baseball executive.

Quade has managed 2,500 games in the minors, which makes him as qualified as any of the other candidates, except for Girardi, who after only a few seasons has established himself as among the brightest and most astute managers in the game. Winning a World Series last year with the Yankees in only his second year on the job is no small accomplishment, even with the vast resources and superstar players. The Yankees hadn’t won a title in nine years before Girardi guided the Yankes past the Phillies last fall.

As far as paying for a manager, Girardi would be the most expensive of the group. The Peoria native already is making $2.5 million in the last year of his deal with New York.

Hendry has been working hard in his conversations with potential candidates, and with people who know the top choices for the job.

Approaching Girardi is next to impossible until the Yankees’ season concludes. Baseball’s tampering rules prohibit teams from approaching employees for other clubs under contract. Fines and sanctions would prohibit anything that direct from happening.

Girardi’s complete focus is on his team’s pursuit of back-to-back work championships, however baseball’s underground information network will continue to have Girardi right at the top of the club’s list until Hendry makes his final choice.

Girardi says focus on Yankees, not Cubs

August, 24, 2010
8/24/10
8:35
AM CT
By Andrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews
ESPNChicago.com
video

Before Monday night's game in Toronto, Yankees manager Joe Girardi tried to squelch the talk of him going to Chicago to manage the Cubs next season, but he didn't completely rule out the scenario.

"I'm sure I'm going be asked that a lot now that [Piniella's] stepped down,'' Girardi said. "My focus is here. I have a responsibility to the organization and to the guys in that clubhouse and that's where my focus is. I'm very happy here, you know what? Great working relationship here with everyone involved and I'm very happy here."

Read the entire story.
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi admitted growing up as a Chicago Cubs fan in Peoria, Ill., but he said he won't let his expiring contract and the impending opening for a Cubs manager become a distraction.

Read the entire story.

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