The monetary value of the raise has been varied, but the annual payment is believed to be large enough to make Girardi among the highest paid managers in the game.
Girardi led the Yankees to the 2009 World Series title, but that was also the only season the team won an American League pennant during his tenure. While the team missed the 2013 playoffs, Girardi has received credit for keeping an injury ravaged team afloat and in contention until the final week of the regular season.
Girardi does, in fact, merit some credit for holding the team together. He also deserves some of the blame. Girardi's inability to take chances with young players and his tendency to be too loyal to veterans may have cost him some wins this past season.
So, knowing this, why would the Yankees make such a hard push for Girardi? Is he the right man for the job? Why the raise?
Girardi Would Receive Pricy Offers Elsewhere
Girardi completes a three-year, $9 million contract on Oct. 31. His teams averaged 92.3 wins and claimed two American League East titles over the course of the last three seasons. However, this season was met with the disappointment of missing the postseason for the second time in the last six years, both on Girardi's watch. For most managers this track record would be enough to warrant a new contract; for a Yankees manager, this is not necessarily the case.
Since the Yankees seem certain about Girardi, then the reason for the raise is straightforward. He'll be courted by other teams if allowed to become a free agent. The Chicago Cubs will be among the suitors and they have money to spend. So, while Girardi might lean toward wanting to stay in New York anyway, the Yankees need to be smart about their offer and since it has no effect on the luxury tax threshold, they do not need to penny-pinch.
A Devoted and Prepared Company Man
Girardi loves the Yankees. He may have once been smitten with his hometown Cubs, but he seems to have settled into his own groove in New York. He has general manager Brian Cashman's confidence and every report indicates the Steinbrenner brothers love him.
There is no doubt that Girardi is well-prepared and understands the game. He does not make many in-game X's and O's decisions that cost the team wins. In my opinion, however, he does make some mistakes with his roster use as noted earlier. It is hard to determine with certainty if Girardi's insistence to stick with veterans instead of playing youngsters is a directive from above or decisions he makes on his own.
I'd venture to guess there are some front office suggestions, but, ultimately, Girardi has the ability to use whoever is on his roster. With that in mind, there will come a point in time when Girardi will need to take a chance on inexperienced players and see if there is something more there, rather than hoping the veterans will turn things around. This may become more of a necessity due to massive roster upheaval this offseason.
Stability in the Midst of Change
In the Yankees' eyes, they have a manager who knows the team, understands the game, represents the organization with dignity and abides by the company line.
Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte have retired. Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda could all leave via free agency. Alex Rodriguez may have his suspension for performance-enhancing drug use upheld and miss all of the 2014 season and part of 2015. The Yankees have severe question marks with injured or aging stars in Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia. Do they want a brand new manager to take over in the midst of enormous roster changes? Probably not, and maybe that's the right call.
The Yankees need some stability now and for the next few seasons as they decide to make a transition on their own or because it is forced upon them with another down season. Girardi is an even-keeled man who demonstrates pride in his work no matter the outside circumstances. He'll need to adjust at some point and allow his young players to mature and show he is ready to grow as a manager by welcoming some change.
Optimistically, he'll guide the team to another championship if he does sign again with the Yankees. There is little doubt his role would be an important one over the next few seasons. If he succeeds, he could stick around longer than his predecessor, Joe Torre. If he fails, he may not have a choice but to look elsewhere the next time he's dealing with an expiring contract.Chris Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor. He is a New York Yankees contributor published on Yahoo Sports and has previously written and edited content for several online sports publications. Chris is also the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo. For more baseball and sports commentary you can follow Chris on Twitter.
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