Joe Girardi took questions regarding his future today, and the most telling answer he provided was saying that family comes first. Queries about going to the Chicago Cubs were brushed away, and the thinking is he will either come back to the New York Yankees or not manage at all in 2014. Chicago is, of course, his hometown and he also played for the Cubs, so they are always in the back of his mind.
The Yankees need Girardi back, plain and simple. He steered a team to 84 wins with one game left to play, whose second leading RBI man was Lyle Overbay who was signed by them three days before the start of the season. Compiling 84-plus wins with a team that had more replacement players sub-in than any other team in the league is pretty amazing.
Personally, I feel his best managerial move all year was the way he handled Mariano Rivera’s and Andy Pettitte’s last appearances. They were perfectly orchestrated and so emotionally charged. Girardi executed the perfect game plan for those almost indescribable moments. But, the way he juggled a lineup that was plagued by so many wounds, is all the more impressive because the Yanks were in the thick of the playoff hunt within a week of the season.
So ultimately, the Yankees have a lot of decisions to make in the offseason. There are plenty of big-name players coming off the books. But, their manager is another one of those free agents that should be heavily sought after to return. He handled one of the most tumultuous seasons possible the way not many human beings can and should get votes for manager of the year award. His presence in the locker room is irreplaceable and has to be re-signed if the Yankees want to contend not just next year, but for seasons to come.