Joe Girardi expresses interest in Cubs managerial opening


Could 2020 be the year in which Joe Girardi becomes manager of the Cubs?

In an interview with NBC Sports Chicago on Wednesday, the 54-year-old expressed interest in the Cubs’ managerial opening.

"It's always been perceived as a good job," Girardi said. "A big reason is because of the fans and the opportunity to work at Wrigley Field all the time, and the excitement Cubs fans have brought for many many years.

"I would think any manager that has managed would love to come to Chicago."

Girardi, who currently is an MLB Network analyst, has 11 seasons of managerial experience. He won the Manager of the Year award with the Marlins in 2006, though he was fired after that season due to a rift with ownership. He then managed the Yankees from 2008-17, making the postseason six times while winning the 2009 World Series.

The Yankees didn’t retain Girardi after his contract expired following the 2017 season (as the Cubs did with Joe Maddon this season). One difference, though, is that the Yankees advanced to the ALCS in 2017, losing in seven games to the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros.

Girardi has plenty of ties to the Chicagoland area. Not only did he grow up in Peoria, but he attended Northwestern and played seven seasons with the Cubs (1989-92, 2000-02).

"I dreamt of playing for the Chicago Cubs," he said regarding his childhood self. "I wrote an essay in third grade that I would play for the Chicago Cubs one day, but I didn't ever see myself as a manager, 'cause then I thought I was my father's age and I thought 'Oh, boy,' so that was kinda different."

Girardi has been a Cubs managerial candidate twice before. He interviewed for the position following the 2006 season, but the Cubs hired Lou Piniella instead. Girardi also was a candidate following the 2013 season before ultimately re-signing with the Yankees.

The Cubs announced three internal candidates to replace Maddon on Tuesday: Mark Loretta, David Ross and Will Venable. Cubs president Theo Epstein also said there’s at least one person currently with a playoff team that’s also on their “broad list” of candidates.

While Girardi didn't express whether he has an interview scheduled with the Cubs, he spoke highly of the team and expressed confidence in their chances of bouncing back in 2020.

"There's a lot of really good pieces there when you look at the Chicago Cubs," he said. "It's not like they have a number of positions that are open, and their rotation is fairly set, and the bullpen, obviously there are some free agents there, but there are some big pieces there that are huge contributors and are kinda the backbone of the team that will remain there, so I think they have a really good core."

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