With contract up after this season, would Joe Girardi want to replace Lou Piniella in Chicago?

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Joe Girardi’s three-year contract is up at the end of this season and the New York media is already starting to speculate about him potentially replacing Lou Piniella in Chicago.

Girardi was born and raised in Illinois, got drafted by the Cubs in 1986, and spent two different stints calling Wrigley Field home, playing there from 1989 to 1992 and from 2000 to 2002.

Asked yesterday about Girardi’s status, general manager Brian Cashman said simply: “We’ll deal with contract stuff down the line.” And here’s what Girardi said:

I’m sure I’m going be asked that a lot now that [Piniella’s] stepped down. My focus is here. I have a responsibility to the organization and to the guys in that clubhouse and that’s where my focus is. I’m very happy here. You know what? Great working relationship here with everyone involved and I’m very happy here. This organization has been great to me.

I know I have a background there and I’m not going skirt around my background there. I grew up a Cubs fan, I played for the Cubs, but I’m not worried about that now. I’m worried about what we’re doing now. We’re in a fight.

Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com notes that the Cubs opening will likely just give Girardi some added leverage when negotiating to remain with the Yankees, which could be similar to when he talked to the Dodgers before agreeing to a three-year, $7.5 million deal to replace Joe Torre.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.