Joe Girardi Offered Yankees' Manager Job

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Yankees have offered the manager's job to Joe Girardi and are negotiating a contract with his agent, a baseball official said Monday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a deal hasn't been formalized, said general manager Brian Cashman made the recommendation for a successor to Joe Torre and it was accepted by the Yankees.

Girardi beat out former Yankees star and bench coach Don Mattingly, the early favorite, and first-base coach Tony Pena, who had the most managerial experience of the candidates. Girardi spent this season as a Yankees TV announcer after he was fired by the Florida Marlins last year.

"Don was extremely disappointed to learn today that he wasn't the organization's choice to fill the managerial vacancy," Mattingly's agent, Ray Schulte, said in an e-mail. "Instead, he was informed the organization offered the position to Joe Girardi."

Schulte said Mattingly told the Yankees he isn't interested in a coaching position next year, and he also extended Girardi his congratulations and best wishes.

Radio station 1050 ESPN New York first reported the development and said Girardi is expected to take the job.

Representatives for Girardi didn't return phone calls or e-mails. Messages left for Cashman were not immediately returned.

Hank Steinbrenner, one of owner George Steinbrenner's sons, said he wasn't sure when an announcement would be made.

"These guys were put through the wringer," he said from Tampa, Fla. "I think we're ready to make an informed decision."

Howard Rubenstein, a spokesman for George Steinbrenner, said: "We have nothing to announce right now."

The 43-year-old Girardi caught for the Yankees from 1996-99, served as a bench coach in 2005, then managed the Marlins the following year and was NL Manager of the Year. He kept a young team in contention until September and then was fired, apparently for clashing with owner Jeffrey Loria and others above him.

Girardi was the first person to interview to replace Torre, who managed the team to the playoffs in each of his 12 seasons. He spent about five hours with the Yankees' baseball operations staff last week, and an hour with George Steinbrenner, sons Hank and Hal, son-in-law Felix Lopez and team president Randy Levine.

Girardi said his departure from the Marlins was discussed during his interview, and Hank Steinbrenner said at the time he wasn't concerned.

"I don't want to get too much into that, but, we're not stupid," he said.

Girardi stayed quiet as Mattingly and Pena got their shots at the job.

"The only thing I'm going to comment about the Yankees situation is what I said a few days ago," Girardi said at a charity dinner Wednesday. "I had a great interview. And it's an honor for whoever gets that job."

He turned down the Baltimore Orioles' managing job last summer, choosing to spend time with his ailing father.

He gets the unenviable task of following Torre, who led the Yankees to four World Series titles in his first five years - but none since - and was one of the most celebrated sports figures in the city.

"I wouldn't expect anything else from the players in New York or for myself but to be the best," Girardi said last week.

If Girardi takes the job, he inherits a team in transition and one without Alex Rodriguez. He also is not assured of getting back pitchers Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera or catcher Jorge Posada.

Rodriquz informed the Yankees on Sunday that he was terminating his contract and becoming a free agent. The Yankees have repeatedly said they wouldn't negotiate with A-Rod anymore if he hit the open market.

The Yankees offered Torre a one-year contract featuring a hefty pay cut and performance-based bonuses, and he turned it down Oct. 18. The result was a messy departure that split Yankees fans into camps of Torre supporters and proponents for change.

Spurning the popular Mattingly could spark more criticism.

The search for Torre's replacement offered a sneak peek into how the Yankees might be run in the future. Hank and Hal Steinbrenner and Lopez all enjoyed more prominent roles, with Hank the most public face of the search.

AP freelancer Mark Didtler in Tampa, Fla., contributed to this report.

© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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