NEW YORK — The Yankees want Joe Girardi to return as manager next season.
Girardi was hired after the 2007 season, and his contract expires at the end of October. Crippled by injuries, New York had its poorest record since 1992 and finished tied for third in the AL East at 85-77.
“He knows we’d like to have him stay and continue as manager of the New York Yankees as we move forward,” general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday. “I feel we hired a good one. He’s been a world champion player for us. He’s been a coach, a broadcaster and obviously a world champion manager. So we’ve benefited from having him and we’d like to do that going forward, but we’ll have to speak with him and see how it plays out
Cashman met Girardi for coffee on Monday, a day after New York’s season ended, and plans to have lunch Wednesday in New York with Girardi’s agent, Steve Mandell.
Girardi replaced Joe Torre after the 2007 season and was given a $7.8 million, three-year contract. He is completing a $9 million, three-year deal. Cashman wouldn’t say whether he would give the Chicago Cubs permission to speak with Girardi about their manager’s job, which opened when Dale Sveum was fired Monday.
“I think he likes it here,” Cashman said. “We’re going to give him a real good reason to stay, and he’s earned that through his six years with us so far.”
Heading into the offseason, the Yankees face numerous questions, especially about their pitching staff and infielder. Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte are retiring; and second baseman Robinson Cano is a free agent, as are pitcher Hiroki Kuroda and outfielder Curtis Granderson.
Shortstop Derek Jeter missed virtually the entire season after breaking an ankle last October and third baseman Alex Rodriguez, having returned from hip surgery, may have to serve a drug suspension for a large portion or all of next season.
Robinson Cano, a five-time All-Star second baseman who turns 31 on Oct, 22, can become a free agent after the World Series.
Cashman will meet with the Yankees professional scouts starting Monday to formulate his offseason plan.
“We’d love to have Robby back,” Cashman said. “He’s been a great Yankee. I think if he stays he has a legitimate chance to experience what you just saw for instance a little bit from Mariano, where maybe he has a chance to be the first Dominican-born player to be in Monument Park.”
Cashman also said it’s unclear whether the Yankees will be able to get under next year’s $189 million luxury tax threshold, which includes about $177 million for player salaries.
“It’s not a mandate. It’s a goal that we have if it’s possible,” Cashman said. “There’s a lot of benefits to staying under that, but it’s not a mandate if it’s at the experience of a championship run. It just depends on what the opportunities are before us, and the costs associated with it.”
He also plans to address the Yankees’ lack of power this season. Injuries and the departures of Raul Ibanez, Nick Swisher, Russell Martin and Eric Chavez as free agents caused home runs to dropped from a team-record 245 last year to 144, the Yankees’ fewest in a non-shortened season since they hit 130 in 1989. Not counting strike years, it was the largest falloff in baseball history, topping a decrease of 96 for the 1988 Chicago Cubs.
“Power is a big piece of this franchise and something I believe in,” he said.
Cashman said the poor season can’t be attributed solely to the loss of key players. He blamed some of the moves he made and didn’t make.
“We got derailed this year by decision-making as well as injuries,” Cashman said.