Joe Girardi’s return as manager of the New York Yankees was all about family.
Girardi signed a four-year contract Wednesday that could be worth up to $20 million to stay with New York through 2017.
With the Yankees missing out on the playoffs this season for the second time in 19 years, the 48-year-old Girardi got an early start on determining his future. He went over several possible scenarios with his wife, Kim, and three children that included taking a year off, pursuing a broadcasting job or managing somewhere else. But they quickly came to the conclusion that six years in New York was not enough.
“It wasn’t ever a lot of thought that I might not possibly come back. I just had to make sure that everyone was still on board,” Girardi said on a conference call.
Girardi was in the final month of his second three-year contract (worth $9 million) with the Yankees since taking over for Joe Torre after the 2007 season, and he asked for a fourth year in the new deal.
The contract includes $16 million guaranteed and up to $4 million in bonuses, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because financial details were not announced.
“Our lives have been here for six years,” Girardi said. “I think stability is important.”
The pull of returning to his native Illinois to manage the Chicago Cubs, the team he grew up rooting for, did not factor greatly into his decision because once his family agreed he should manage it was set on New York.
In a 15-year career as a catcher, Girardi won three World Series titles with the Yankees from 1996 to ’99. As manager, he has led New York to the playoffs in four of his six seasons, winning the World Series in 2009.
Under Girardi, the big-spending Yankees have gone a major league-best 564-408 (.580) since 2008.
Even though New York finished tied for third in the AL East at 85-77, Girardi had what many believed was his best season as a manager. He kept the Yankees in the playoff chase until late September despite significant injuries to stars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson.
“I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t think we could win a championship,” Girardi said. “I know there’s a lot of work to be done.”
●OBITUARY: Andy Pafko, a four-time all-star who played on the last Cubs team to reach the World Series in 1945 and was the famously forlorn outfielder who watched Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ’Round the World” sail over the left field wall in 1951, has died. He was 92.
Pafko died Tuesday of apparent natural causes at a nursing home in Stevensville, Mich., according to Kraig Pike, director of the Pike Funeral Home in Bridgman, Mich.