Joe Girardi -- ex-Yankees manager (2008-17) and Marlins (2006) manager-turned-Radio.com Sports insider-- hasn’t manned a major-league baseball dugout in nearly two seasons. But his career path might’ve been altered had he landed with a different franchise.
“Big Time Baseball” podcast co-hosts Jon Heyman and Rob Bradford, who filled in for Josh Lewin, chatted with Ned Colletti -- former Dodgers general manager-turned-SportsNet LA analyst -- about when he was on the verge of hiring Girardi as Los Angeles’ next manager in October 2007.
Colletti noted his relationship with Girardi stemmed from their time with the Cubs, as the then-catcher was drafted by Chicago in 1986 while Colletti worked within their baseball operations department. He also recalled Girardi’s impressive leadership playing a role in their conversations.
But Girardi’s attention shifted towards the Yankees when Joe Torre was fired after their postseason exit. He ultimately landed with the team in which he won three World Series as a player (1996, 1998-99), guiding the franchise to a league-high 27th title just two seasons later.
“We had contract discussions on term and rate,” Colletti said. “Just as we were coming down to kinda finishing it off, at least in my mind, and he (Girardi) had come out here to visit, he was doing network analyst work during the postseason, so he was in L.A. He had a chance to meet ownership.
“As soon as we got to that level ... Joe Torre left the Yankees. The minute Joe Torre left the Yankees, I called Joe [Girardi], I knew Joe very well, and I said, ‘Hey, they’re gonna come after ya for that Yankee job ... You gotta tell me where your heart’s at.’”
Girardi also joined Heyman and Bradford on the episode to breakdown his departure from the Yankees after their 2017 ALCS loss to the eventual World Series champion Astros, along with whether he’s eyeing the Mets managerial job if they decide to fire Mickey Callaway.
“I was shocked and I was disappointed and I let that be known two years ago,” Girardi said. “I was excited about the direction the Yankees were moving in. For the three to four years previous to that, we were an aging group that struggled with injuries and the performance of some of the veteran guys that we had was not what they had done in the past. A lot of that had to do with age, so I was excited about the prospects of the team that was coming back in 2018.
“I don’t really have a particular team that I’m looking at. I’m not looking at a particular situation. I’ve been through a lot of different situations. I’ve been with rebuilds in Miami and somewhat of a rebuild in New York. I’ve been with young players and I’ve enjoyed that immensely. I’ve been with older players and I’ve enjoyed that immensely.”