SBD/Issue 36/Franchises

Yankees Ink Joe Girardi To Deal; Will Torre Sign With Dodgers?

Girardi Agrees To Three-Year,
$7.8M Deal To Manage Yankees
The Yankees yesterday signed former Marlins manager Joe Girardi to a three-year, $7.8M managerial contract that will pay him $2.5M per season, with a $300,000 signing bonus spread over the three years, according to Tyler Kepner of the N.Y. TIMES. The deal also includes bonuses reaching $500,000 a year if the Yankees make the World Series. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that he discussed with the three managerial candidates, including Don Mattingly and Tony Pena, “everything from game strategy and player evaluation to advance scouting and dealing with the news media.” Girardi was the Yankees’ bench coach in ’05 and served as a YES Network broadcaster last season. Yankees Senior VP Hank Steinbrenner said he was “in complete agreement with Brian” on Girardi. Steinbrenner has “asked that fans be patient with the new manager, but he has also said that he agrees with his father in that only a championship can be considered a success for the Yankees." Mattingly said that it was “not true that George Steinbrenner … promised him he would someday be manager when he hired him as the hitting coach for the 2004 season.” Meanwhile, hitting coach Kevin Long is “close to signing” a three-year deal with the team (N.Y. TIMES, 10/31). The Dodgers “evidently were willing to go to $6[M] over three years for Girardi, but his first love and dream job was managing the Yankees” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/31).

FRONT OFFICE: In N.Y., Mike Lupica writes Cashman is “still around as the Yankees say goodbye to the days of spending anything on anybody, and to the way they did business for a long time, one where the voice in the room that mattered belonged to George Steinbrenner.” Cashman, a former Yankees intern, “has the most to say about finding a way to beat the Red Sox again and put the Yankees back on top” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/31). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir wonders whether the Steinbrenners still need spokesperson Howard Rubenstein to be George’s “filtered voice now that Hank Steinbrenner’s remarks over the past weeks have stamped him as his father’s son?” Rubenstein said, “George is hanging back, but whenever he has something to say, I’ll be the voice of George.” But Rubenstein said of Hank, “I don’t have to write a line for him.” Sandomir notes Hank is “candid, sounds tough and is available to members of the news media in ways his father, George, no longer is” (N.Y. TIMES, 10/31).

Torre's Next Stop Going To Be As Dodgers Manager?
DODGERS: Dodgers manager Grady Little resigned yesterday, and in N.Y., George King reports the Dodgers made contact with Joe Torre’s agent Maury Gostfrand before Torre flew to Tampa two weeks ago and rejected the Yankees’ one-year, $5M incentive-laden contract. It is the “first time Gostfrand, who usually does endorsement deals for Torre, got involved in baseball negotiations” (N.Y. POST, 10/31). Dodgers GM Ned Colletti denied the team had begun negotiations with Torre, but a source said that Owner Frank McCourt was “trying to work out a deal with Torre last night” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/31). On Long Island, Ken Davidoff notes although MLB Commissioner Bud Selig “ordinarily requires clubs to interview minority candidates, he might cut the Dodgers some slack, given their history of diversity and Torre’s unquestionable qualifications” (NEWSDAY, 10/31). In N.Y., Bill Madden writes as “tenuous as the Yankees’ managing situation may seem, the Dodgers appear to be in absolute chaos. And as much as Torre appears to still want to manage, it’s a wonder what he must think about being the Dodgers’ second choice to Girardi” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/31).

TORRE IMPACT: Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said, “Some of those outstanding free agents are going to say, ‘I want to play for Joe Torre.’” Free agent Alex Rodriguez “would consider the Dodgers now.” Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti said, “I applaud Frank McCourt for (pursuing Torre) … and remember, they’re in a regional competition with the Angels, who have a big-time manager in [Mike] Scioscia” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 10/30). Hollywood publicist Hanna Pantle said Torre would “give the Dodgers the brand Tommy Lasorda had. Nobody’s had that brand there since Tommy’s been gone. … His brand is bigger than the McCourts. There are certain people within sports that are that sport. Joe Torre is baseball.” Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Dir Paul Swangard said, “His sustained value will come with victories. But there’s absolutely a short-term upside that any team could take advantage of financially.” Giants Exec VP & COO Larry Baer said the Dodgers hiring Torre “can allay fear and build confidence that the organization is in good hands. In the end, that does translate into revenue. It won’t have the spike that signing a glamorous free agent might have, but it will have a subtle and real effect” (L.A. TIMES, 10/31).

BACK ON CALL: On Long Island, Neil Best notes the Yankees “lifted their ban on ESPN dialing into team conference calls," after it violated guidelines by airing a live October 18 call announcing Torre’s departure. ESPN carried the Girardi call on a delay on radio and ESPNews, but “failed to edit out a reference to the phone number for the call, prompting some fans to try to call in.” WFAN-AM and YES carried the call on a shorter delay and edited out the number (NEWSDAY, 10/31).

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