Rozner: Cubs, Girardi might be a match in fall of 2015
It was fantasy a year ago when Chicago was sold on the notion that Joe Girardi might come back to manage the Cubs.
It was never a consideration from Girardi's side of the equation.
It's bad business to leave a managing job until you're unwanted, and you don't leave a potential playoff team for a potential 90-loss team when the better team wants to pay you $4 million a year.
Girardi loves where he is, his family's happy, and he's making huge dollars. The timing was simply wrong and there was no chance of it occurring in the fall of 2013.
But the way things are shaping up, the math might produce a different result in the fall of 2015.
The Yankees have missed the playoffs two straight years and a third would bring pressure on ownership to make a change at the helm, absurd as it would be.
Girardi probably had his best season this year as the Yankees remained alive until the final week of baseball despite an ancient roster that predictably suffered injuries and poor performance.
And, yet, if the Yankees miss out again next season, it's possible Girardi will take the blame for the foolish spending and mismanagement of the roster.
But that could be great timing for the Cubs, who will be looking at 2016 as a season in which they can compete for a playoff spot. They hope that in July 2015 they won't be sellers again, and that may be true, but it feels like a year too early to have a serious shot at the postseason.
It should be noted that the Cubs have done nothing but praise Rick Renteria publicly, Theo Epstein going as far as saying the front office gave the manager little to work with this season.
Renteria's main function was to create a more positive atmosphere for young players this season, and he did precisely that, holding hands and skipping rocks from start to finish. It's hard to argue with the results, especially as they relate to Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo.
But Renteria was not exactly John McGraw when it came to managing the pitching staff, especially the bullpen, and that will be an area to monitor next season.
As for whether Renteria is a Point A to Point B guy, it's possible the Cubs view someone like Girardi as a Point B to Point C manager.
Meanwhile, New York reality is different from anywhere else, nowhere more so than in the Bronx.
"Will there be more pressure on me?" Girardi said of 2015, repeating a question when he met the New York media earlier this week. "It won't change who I am. The pressure I feel is from within.
"Is there more pressure on the club? God, I hope they feel the same way I do. The pressure should come from within. Your expectations every year should be to win the World Series. Hopefully, that feeling is there and the expectations and pressures are coming from within."
Girardi didn't seem pleased over the weekend when some players leaked information about a team meeting in which Girardi asked tough questions and challenged his players to come back ready to win next season.
He's right in wondering about a player's commitment when asking them to look in the mirror leads them to run to the media without putting their names to quotes, but it's at least a signal that the Yanks need to make some changes.
Of course, the standings are evidence enough.
"Will there be pieces added? I am sure there will be pieces added," Girardi said. "I can't tell you exactly what. I can't remember the last time the Yankees haven't added a piece during the off-season. Those are discussions we haven't had yet, but we will."
And Girardi knows the heat will be on in 2015.
"We didn't get to where we wanted, and I will always shoulder the responsibility," Girardi said. "What people say about me, I don't worry about that too much. There are a few people I have to answer to.
"But I gave my best effort on a day-in, day-out basis. If that's not good enough, that's part of being in this world and I accept that."
This time next year Girardi will have completed half of a four-year deal worth $16 million. If he's let go next fall, Girardi will be in a great spot to take some time off and maybe do some broadcasting, without having to move his family and force his children to change schools.
He would also become the subject of a bidding war, with perhaps the Cubs included in the auction.
Don't misunderstand, because Girardi has no interest in leaving the most iconic franchise in baseball. He loves New York. Mostly, he loves winning, and there's no better place or bigger stage on which to do it.
But he and his wife are Chicagoans through and through, and if he doesn't survive the next bloodletting, there is a very logical place for him to land.
And the timing might just be right this time.
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