- Wallace Matthews, ESPNNewYork.com
- 0 Shares
NEW YORK -- Four more years.
That is the agreement reached Wednesday between the New York Yankees and Joe Girardi, a new four-year deal for $16 million, a source told ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand, that will make Girardi not only the second-highest paid manager in the game, but one of the longest-tenured managers in Yankees history.
Assuming Girardi serves his entire contract, he will have managed the Yankees for 10 years, a term of service exceeded only by Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, Miller Huggins and his predecessor, Joe Torre.
Those four managers account for 22 of the Yankees' 27 world championships and all but Torre are in the Hall of Fame.
The Yankees won a World Series under Girardi in 2009, his second season with the team. The Yankees have gone a majors-best 564-408 (.580) since hiring Girardi in 2008.'
With his new contract, which will keep him a Yankee longer than any currently signed player with the exception of Alex Rodriguez, Girardi joins them as a key member in the storied history of baseball's all-time winningest franchise.
That, along with the hefty paycheck, may well have played a role in Girardi's decision to forego waiting for his existing contract to expire on October 31 in order to pursue expected offers from the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals.
With this new contract, Girardi the manager will surpass his earnings as a player during the 2015 season. Girardi has earned $16.8 million as the Yankees' skipper so far. He'll hit his player earnings of $21.3 million in May 2015.
"After talking with my family, we decided that this was where we wanted to come back," Girardi said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon. "It's a special place to manage because of the opportunity that you have every year and the tools that they give you. The history of this organization is unbelievable. There are special things that happen here every year."
But in the end, it came down to the values Girardi said he has always held most dear: His family, and his love of competition.
"We talked [about] the possibility about a lot of things basically that I could possibly do if I decided not to manage," Girardi said. "We brought up everything, and we did it as a group. My kids love coming to the ballpark. Sometimes you feel like you're missing things that they're doing, but they love the tradeoff, and that allows me to do what I love to do, and that's to manage."
As for the possibility that he might at least listen to what the Cubs and perhaps the Nationals had to say, Girardi said, "There wasn't really ever a lot of thought that I possibly might not come back, but I had to make sure that everyone was still on board."
The Yankees made a formal offer to Girardi on Friday, and as of Tuesday night still had not received an answer. On ESPN New York 98.7 FM's The Michael Kay Show on Tuesday, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner expressed hope the deal would get done quickly, but cited "some obstacles that need to be surmounted.''
It turns out one of those was Girardi's desire to add a fourth year to his new deal; the Yankees had offered three.
"That was something that we brought up to them," Girardi said. "It's more stability for all of us involved in my household. It's good for both of us."
Girardi, who will turn 49 on Monday, led an injury-ravaged Yankee squad to an 85-77 record in 2013, their lowest win total in a non strike-shortened season since 1992. The Yankees also missed the playoffs for just the second time in the last 19 seasons, both of them during Girardi's tenure. (The Yankees missed the postseason in 2008, his first season as manager).
But the Yankees were clear since the end of the season that they had hoped to bring Girardi back; general manager Brian Cashman, team president Randy Levine and Steinbrenner all credited Girardi with keeping the team in contention until the final days of the season, despite an aging and infirm roster.
In 2014, Girardi faces perhaps an even greater challenge: the Yankees are losing closer Mariano Rivera and starter Andy Pettitte to retirement, and also could lose Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson to free agency and Alex Rodriguez to a lengthy suspension. Plus, there is the looming threat of a team-imposed salary cap of $189 million for 2014; the Yankees payroll approached $230 million last year.
Still, Girardi said he did not need to seek assurances from ownership that he will be given adequate replacements for 2014.
"I always think the Yankees are going to do whatever they feel is best to get better as a club," he said. "There are things that as a family they have to address and probably things they want to stick to, and I think that's fair. $189 million is still an awful lofty number. We need the farm system to play an important role, because you can't just go out and buy every free agent at every position. I think that through the minor-league system, the free agents and players that we have, we'll be very good."
How good? When asked if he thought the Yankees could win another championship in the next four years, Girardi said, "Absolutely. I wouldn't have come back if I didn't think we could win a championship. I know there's a lot of work to be done. I know there's a lot of holes that we have to fill, and there's people leaving and people retiring, but I have faith in our organization. I'm an optimist and I believe we're always going to have a chance every year.''
Or at least, for the next four.
Information from ESPN.com's Darren Rovell contributed to this report.