The Cubs willing to pay handsomely for Joe Girardi

Does the Girardi pursuit undermine Epstein with the Cubs?

10/8/13 in MLB   |   PAULLEBOWITZ   |   109 respect

April 5, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein talks to the media before the game against the Washington Nationals on opening day at Wrigley Field.  Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIREIt’s no surprise that the Yankees have stepped up and reportedly offered Joe Girardi a lot of money to stay as their manager. The $189 million goal/mandate for team payroll in 2014 doesn’t apply to the manager and it won’t affect their bottom line one way or the other if they make Girardi the highest paid manager in the game. What is surprising is the report that the Cubs are willing to top any offer to get him.
 
The Cubs’ interest in Girardi is understandable. He’s a very good manager. He has ties to the organization and area. He’s also disciplined, well-spoken, intelligent, good with young players, handles the media and is agreeable to the stat-based theories under which team president Theo Epstein wants his club run on the field. However, this story is an ominous sign of impatience on the part of Cubs’ ownership that they’re feeling the pressure of the slow rebuilding process that Epstein undoubtedly warned them was possible when he took the job. It also states that Epstein isn’t making the final call on all organizational decisions.  
 
Epstein, being from the stat-based school of thought and having been torched by a manager in Grady Little who didn’t do what he’s told, wouldn’t have to worry about Girardi going off the reservation. That’s not the problem. The problem for Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer is that the manager wouldn’t just be another Dale Sveum-like fly-by-night “guy” they hired and could fire if the team doesn’t perform. He’d actually have some say-so and would possibly have a pipeline to ownership to pull an end-around on his bosses Hoyer and Epstein.
 
For all the assertions that everyone in baseball operations would be on the same page, that only lasts until there’s a legitimate disagreement. Then we start to see who really has the power in an organization. If Girardi wants X player on the roster and Epstein and Hoyer don’t, who makes the decision if the manager goes and complains to ownership about it? What if there’s a free agent that Girardi says he has to have and Epstein and Hoyer either don’t want him or don’t want to pay him? Would Girardi be able to go to Tom Ricketts and make his case with the benefit of newness, historical success and a big contract that his way is right and Epstein and Hoyer are wrong? And what kind of fissure would that create in the relationship of manager to GM to president? 
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10/8/13   |   PAULLEBOWITZ   |   109 respect

It's not an antiquated notion at all. The stattiest of the stat-based front offices -- the Astros -- interviewed nothing but younger, no-name managers (apart from Larry Bowa, who had less than zero chance of getting the job) who were told from the start that they would be hired to implement the ideas of the front office. Epstein's not as bad as that, but he doesn't want to have a manager who's going to have some pop to ignore orders when, as I gave in the example, there's a disagreement between manager and front office. 
Epstein is smart and knows Girardi's a good manager. The entire point was to say that it was ownership who came along with the idea of heavily pursuing Girardi. The truth is, it's really not necessary to overpay for Girardi. Yes, he'd have instant credibility. But there are other candidates who could do well there. Dave Martinez and Chip Hale are two examples.
If Epstein doesn't really have all that much interest in Girardi and certainly doesn't want to pay what it will take to get Girardi to leave the Yankees and is having ownership dictate to him the manager he should pursue two years into his "final say" powers as team president, of course it's a potential problem. The "managing a contender right away" bit is irrelevant. 

10/8/13   |   orangemen90   |   5785 respect

Best line ever?  I won;t negotiate but I will compromise....was that last pitch a strike or was it out side...

10/8/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

PAULLEBOWITZ wrote:
You've read it twice and couldn't comprehend why Epstein wouldn't want Girardi? I listed the reasons quite clearly. Front office people of the Epstein ilk want a manager who'll do what he's told and is disposable. If Girardi is signed at the behest of the owner, where does that put Epstein? 
And where is the connection between Girardi and a rebuilding project? I never broached the subject because it had nothing whatsoever to do with the piece,

That's an antiquated notion from at least a decade ago. Joe Maddon in Tampa and Clint Hurdle in Pittsburgh have shown analytic front office and their managers can work together. There's no evidence Epstein wouldn't want Girardi. There's no real evidence to anything you postulate. I mentioned Girardi's Marlins tenure because you say the Cubs hiring him would be them being impatient. I was pointing out Girardi's managed noncontending teams before, so from his end anyway, he doesn't necessarily need to manage a contender right away. If Girardi is the best manager available, why wouldn't the Cubs and Epstein want him?

10/8/13   |   Pat   |   5222 respect

I don't think the Grady Little firing had as much to do with his unwillingness to do what Theo wanted him to do. I think it was because Sox fans would have torn him limb from limb if he had come back in 2004, after the atrocity that was the 2003 ALCS. Red Sox fans hated Grady Little and wanted no part of him.

10/8/13   |   PAULLEBOWITZ   |   109 respect

You've read it twice and couldn't comprehend why Epstein wouldn't want Girardi? I listed the reasons quite clearly. Front office people of the Epstein ilk want a manager who'll do what he's told and is disposable. If Girardi is signed at the behest of the owner, where does that put Epstein? 
And where is the connection between Girardi and a rebuilding project? I never broached the subject because it had nothing whatsoever to do with the piece,

10/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

I've read this twice and still am not sure of the point other than to stir crap. Why wouldn't Epstein want to hire Girardi? The guy did work for the Marlins, so it's not like he's unfamiliar with a rebuilding project.