As soon as the Cubs fired manager Dale Sveum the speculation about Joe Girardi coming to Chicago started to intensify, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is not going to let him leave without a fight.
Cashman told Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger that he met with Girardi on Monday and plans to meet with Girardi’s agent on Wednesday, adding that contract negotiations have begun.
Cashman declined to say whether the Cubs had requested permission to speak to Girardi, although considering his contract is up at some point very soon they won’t even need to do so. Cashman did say: “I think he likes it here. We’re going to give him reason to stay.”
In other words, expect an offer that would significantly top the three-year, $9 million contract Girardi just completed. Of course, the Cubs (or another team) would no doubt be offering a big contract too, so Girardi’s decision may hinge on which organization he thinks is in better shape for the next 3-5 years.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.