A brand new term with an uncertain future for the Yankees means Joe Girardi has a new job to take on. With a lot of his veterans either hitting free agency, retiring or battling suspensions, it’s up to Girardi to keep an eye on the team, prevent ego’s from getting too big and to find a way to get the Yankees to their 28th World Series Championship. In his conference call yesterday, he talked about the rumors of the Chicago Cubs wanting to offer him a contract, his belief the team will win another championship under his watch and the future of the franchise.
Q: Was there a chance that he wasn’t going to come back?
A: “I don’t necessarily think that. There were some things that I wanted to make sure, in my home, that people were OK with what I was still doing and that they loved what I did. They do. They love what I do. Sometimes you have concerns about if your kids want you home more, but my kids love what I do. So, those were the things that I felt that I had to get out. A lot falls on my wife, Kim, and she has been with me since Day 1 of me being drafted, and she’s still extremely supportive and wants me to continue to do what I want to do and. For that I’m extremely blessed. 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.”
Q: Was Joe Girardi considering exploring opportunities in the Chicago area (Chicago Cubs)?
A: “As far as getting an offer from the Cubs, no. Obviously you hear things in the paper about, they were interested and what they might do. But as far as getting an offer, we never spoke to them. We worked out the deal here. As far as the Cubs fans, as I said, this involved my family. I have a lot of fond memories back in Chicago, but I have kids now and a wife. Everyone has to be on board with what we’re doing. I wish them nothing but the best of luck. It was an organization that I grew up watching and playing [for]. I want to see them do well.”
Q: How sure was Girardi that the Yankees would have enough money to contend next season, despite the Yankees attempting to go under $189 Million?
A: “I always think the Yankees are going to do whatever they feel is best to get better as a club. 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. What is there, one club over that besides the Yankees in baseball? Our job is to get the best players we can. We’re going to probably have to use our minor leagues, as well. We need these kids to develop, to get better and play a role. If you look at the run the Yankees have had over the past 16-17 years, the farm system played a very important role. We need that to happen again, because you can’t just go out and buy every free agent at every position. You won’t be able to build a team and you won’t have enough money. I think that through the minor-league system, the free agents and players that we have, we’ll be very good.”
Q: Was Girardi looking to have a voice within the organization if he had come back to manage?
A: “My coming back was not contingent on if I would have more of a voice. I’ve always felt that I have been able to speak my piece and things that I’ve wanted, things that I see. That did not play into my decision to come back or into contract talks. Everyone has a job to do.”
Q: Does Girardi think that the Yankees are going to win a championship during his new contract?
A: “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.”
Q: Was Girardi hoping to have a personal legacy with the Yankees, hence why he signed the contract?
A: “I’m not worried about making a legacy, but the impact it had on my life was how fortunate I am to be a part of something so great. I don’t even worry about my legacy because that’s, who I am, my value is not based on what I do. It’s more of who I am as a person. So in watching Mo go through it and Andy go through it. I felt really blessed. And at times it brought me to, you know, tears, because I realized how fortunate I was to be around two great men, to be around great players, to have the opportunity to play with them and manage them, and for that, is special to me. This place is special.”