Joe Girardi will make his television debut as an analyst with MLB Network on Wednesday night, but the former Yankees’ manager found some time to reprise his role as a guest on WFAN Radio during the afternoon.
In an interview with WFAN’s The Afternoon Drive with Carlin, Bart and Maggie, Girardi explained his decision to return to the broadcast world, admitting that he didn’t receive any offers to manage a Major League club following his dismissal from New York in November.
“I don’t really like sitting around and I love this game so much, I still want to be a part of it, even though I’m not on the field this year,” Girardi told WFAN. “So I thought I would get involved with MLB Network, who gave me a great opportunity and really a good opportunity to also set the schedule the way that I need to and be on a bunch of different types of shows. So I think it’ll be fun for me.
“I think in any job, if you’re not retained and you want to come back, it’s disappointing — no matter what profession you’re in — and you kind of want to finish what you started. But I’m not going to get that opportunity. That’s part of life and I’ve moved on. You think about what’s next in life and this is what’s next for me.”
In 10 winning seasons as the Yankees’ skipper (2008-17), Girardi finished with a 910-710 record (.562) and led the team to a World Series championship in 2009. This past October, New York fell one game shy of a World Series appearance. After that Game 7 ALCS loss against the Houston Astros, the Yankees elected to part ways with Girardi and hire former major leaguer and ESPN analyst Aaron Boone as their next manager.
Although the Yankees weren’t satisfied with Girardi’s communication and interaction with players, the 53-year-old has no regrets from his tenure in the Bronx.
“It was a great group of players in that clubhouse with a lot of character and very strong-willed and strong-minded and I was very proud of what they accomplished,” he said. “Obviously, we fell a little bit short of our ultimate goal, but I think the experience that these players got during this last season is really going to bode well for them in the future.”
The future only got brighter for the Yankees in December. In a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins, New York acquired the reigning National League MVP in outfielder Giancarlo Stanton — a move that came as a surprise to Girardi.
“I didn’t see it coming,” Girardi said. “Obviously, they’re adding a very very good player to a lineup that already had the ability to score a lot of runs. So I think offensively, they’re going to be dynamic.”
The addition of Stanton has been the highlight for the Yankees this winter, but the biggest storyline of this spring will involve two young prospects competing for Big League promotions. With the departures of veterans Starlin Castro and Chase Headley, New York has vacancies at second and third base. At the moment, top-ranked youngsters Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar could fill those voids.
Provided that both excel during spring training in Tampa, Fla., Girardi believes Torres and Andujar are capable of taking over the reins at the next level.
“I think it potentially could be a really good thing because I think they’re very talented players,” Girardi said. “The big thing is, they’ve got Didi [Gregorius]. Gleyber would be on Didi’s left and Andujar would be on his right and Didi’s a calming influence and I think he can really help those young kids. And the Yankees still might make a move and only go with one of them or may make two moves and not go with either of them to begin with. But I think long-term, they’re really in the Yankees’ plans.”
Overall, a historically dormant offseason has ignited a feud between the players and owners, and top free agents like outfielder JD Martinez and Eric Hosmer are still searching for work. Of the available pitchers on the market, Yu Darvish has garnered interest, and Girardi was asked if the Yankees still have a chance of acquiring the 31-year-old right-hander before Opening Day.
“I’m not sure what Brian [Cashman’s] allowed to spend,” Girardi said. “I mean, that’s always the question. What do you have in the budget, is what you have to look at. Is it over-budget or are they willing to go over the budget if they think it’s going to make a huge difference? That’s a tough question for me because I’m not in on those meetings anymore to know exactly where they’re going to be payroll-wise.”
Although Girardi will spend 2018 in front of the camera, his goal is to return to coaching in some fashion next season.
“I’m not real picky because I like being on the field and I like teaching and I like coaching and I like to see young men have success and to get better on a daily basis in an opportunity to compete and win,” he said. “For me, there’s no perfect situation. You wait to see what’s out there and to see if I’m a match for a club and then you go from there.”
Girardi will appear on “MLB Tonight” with host Greg Amsinger and analysts Bill Ripken and Mike Lowell at 6 p.m. ET. The entire WFAN interview can be accessed here.