Yankees Offer Girardi Managing Job
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
You got to hand it to the New York Yankees. Eclipsed on the field by their arched rivals - the new World Series champions - the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees have stolen the spotlight right back. New York is expected to announce today that former player Joe Girardi is the new manager.
And, late news last night, the man Girardi is replacing, legendary Yankee manager Joe Torre reportedly will become the new manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
NPR's Tom Goldman joins us now to talk about this sort of managing carousel, if you will. Good morning.
TOM GOLDMAN: Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: So. poor Red Sox, barely hoisted the championship trophy and already the sports talk is about the Yankees. Tell us about Joe Torre, though, first, who may very well becoming here to Los Angeles.
GOLDMAN: First of all, poor Red Sox, that's a relative term, you know? They still got to hoist the trophy and the Yanks didn't. But the Torre news is this, a number of media outlets are reporting through sources that the Dodgers will fire current manager Grady Little and hire Torre.
And now, if that happens, Torre reportedly would bring along his bench coach from the Yankees, long-time Yankee player Don Mattingly. Mattingly was devastated that the Yankees passed him over for Girardi. So this would be a positive move for him. Now, the Dodgers would not comment late yesterday, Torre was on the "David Letterman Show," Monday, which is taped early in the day. He was asked about the reports about him going to L.A. He said there have been lots of rumors going around, but he implied you can't always believe newspaper reports.
MONTAGNE: Now, more certain is the Yankees decision to hire Girardi. Talk to us about him.
GOLDMAN: He may not have the exalted status that Mattingly had in the organization, but many believed Girardi is the right choice. He was the catcher for the Yankees when they won the World Series in 1996, '98, '99. And he served as Torre's bench coach in 2005. Then, in 2006, last year - his first managerial job - so he has experience there. He took a losing floor to Marlon's team with the lowest payroll in baseball and almost got them into the playoffs. And for that, he was named nationally, Manager of the Year. He is great with players. People describe him as the younger version of Torre, even, who is a manager known for his firm control and dignity. He's also analytical. He has a reputation for being well-prepared and a very good listener.
MONTAGNE: Now, tell us how different the New York team Girardi is set to inherit - it could actually look.
GOLDMAN: Well, they have a lot of - a key free agent is trying to figure out what to do. Their dominant closing pitcher Mariano Rivera, the current catcher Jorge Posada, pitcher Andy Pettitte and of course, the big news from Sunday as the Red Sox were winning the World Series, star, third baseman Alex Rodriguez announced he was opting out of his contract and he'd become a free agent.
MONTAGNE: And baseball pretty dismayed about that.
GOLDMAN: Oh, very much. One baseball official blasted Rodriguez's agent Scott Boras for - in this official's words - trying to upstage the series by making the announcement. And columnists were having a field day saying A-Rod is only interested in himself and making more money.
MONTAGNE: Whether that's true or not, what teams could afford Rodriguez?
GOLDMAN: Certainly the Boston Red Sox could. That's what a lot of people are thinking about but it's the last thing they really want to do. Matter of fact, right after they won the World Series - remember that - their fans at the ball park in Denver were chanting, don't sign A-Rod.
The Red Sox had the money to sign him, but it's an important moment for that team. They established a wonderful personality and chemistry during the postseason with the veterans and rookies. And the last thing it seems they need is a celebrity athlete like Rodriguez who, as good as he is, he carries a lot of baggage with his enormous salary and all the attention he garners. So the Red Sox really are a great team as it is.
MONTAGNE: Tom, thanks very much.
GOLDMAN: You're welcome.
MONTAGNE: NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman.
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