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Girardi stays in New York, not candidate for Nats

Oct 9, 2013, 3:42 PM EDT

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If the Nationals had visions of bringing Joe Girardi to Washington, they were officially quashed on Wednesday when the Yankees announced they have signed their manager to a four-year extension that will keep him in the Bronx through at least 2017.

The odds of Girardi coming to D.C. all along seemed long, with his top two choices either staying with the Yankees or leaving to manage his hometown Cubs, but the Nationals certainly would have been interested to talk to him about their managerial opening.

The Nats coveted Girardi as far back as 2007, after he was fired by the Marlins. The ex-catcher, though, declined an opportunity to interview with then-GM Jim Bowden, spending a year doing TV work before the Yankees job opened upon Joe Torre’s firing.

Girardi remained under contract with New York through October 31, so other clubs wouldn’t even have been able to interview him until next month. And with the Cubs expected to make a hard push to bring the Illinois native and Northwestern alum back to Wrigley Field, the Nationals potentially would have found themselves engaged in a bidding war for the highly sought skipper.

In the end, the Yankees kept Girardi by offering him a four-year, $16 million contract with postseason incentives, according to CBSsports.com, making him the second-highest-paid manager in the majors behind the Angels’ Mike Scioscia. It’s debatable whether the Nationals would be willing to spend that much on any manager.

General manager Mike Rizzo has refused to date to say anything publicly about the search to replace Davey Johnson, but bench coach Randy Knorr is the top in-house candidate. Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams remains a likely external candidate in a hiring process that isn’t expected to be resolved until after the World Series at the end of the month.

  1. Mrsb loves the Nats - Oct 9, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Dang…. Was hoping he would come to DC…

    Just heard that Dusty contacted Rizzo’s team as he was interested in the Nats job…. Uhm, I hope Rizzo says an emphatic heck no…

    So I guess the job is either Knorr or Williams…. Not too sure how I feel about that…

    • sjberke - Oct 9, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      Assuming that Knorr gets the job (which I would prefer now that Girardi is out of contention) next question is who would be named bench coach. First thought is that they will fill from within, and so it would be between Trent Jewett and Tony Beasley. But I wonder if Rizzo, having a rookie manager for the first time in his tenure, will want a bench coach with managerial experience. If so, Baker could be offered that job (assuming he can’t get another managerial gig) or maybe Charlie Manuel.

    • jd - Oct 9, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      Mrs. B.

      How can anyone have an opinion about Knorr and/or Williams? neither has an MLB managing resue. I guess it all depends how they interview, what their philosophy is and if their personalities fit the job.

      What I don’t want is one of the retread candidates. I don’t need Baker, Scocia, Manuel etc. It doesn’t have to be a big name either. Look how well Farrel is doing in Boston. I bet no one saw that coming.

      The Nats job is without a doubt one of the most coveted (if not the most) in baseball. You have a talented young group which is ready to compete now, you have a wealthy ownership which does not meddle and you have a GM who is willing to bring in the messing pieces if they are needed.

      • therealjohnc - Oct 9, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        Girardi was my #1 choice; he really did an amazing job with the weird scrap heap of players that was the Yankees roster this year, all while in the center of the A-Rod circus. I always knew it was at best a long shot.

        As for Randy Knorr, like most of us I don’t have direct knowledge. He is highly respected in the organization, and the players seem to like him as well (as much as we can tell). So I asked someone who has followed Knorr’s career with the team: Luke Erickson of Nationals Prospects. His response:

        “Maybe I’m biased, but I think Knorr is the best choice. He spent his career as backup and a catcher, both of which tend to make for a better manager. He’s familiar with the current players because he also managed quite a few of them in the minors, and I’m sorry, but the vast majority of managing is done behind the scenes. The transition would be seamless. Not to mention, I’ve heard nothing but good things about how he handles people — never mind that I was always impressed with how well he was able to use his roster and keep guys fresh and productive.”

        Luke’s opinion carries a lot of weight with me on Knorr. With my #1 candidate out of the running, I probably would prefer Knorr over Matt Williams or Cal Ripken for manager at this point

      • scbilly - Oct 9, 2013 at 5:49 PM

        Every manager was a candidate without an MLB managing resume, there’s no reason not to have an opinion about them for that reason. It’s reassuring to hear an awful lot of good things about him from people who are in a position to know things about him that we can’t, and we do know he’s chosen to do the things needed to prepare himself for the job, something we know isn’t true of the candidates like Ripken, Williams or Larkin.

        And a lot of people saw Farrell’s success with Boston coming, although maybe not this quickly. Didn’t the Sox try and fail to get him away from Toronto for last season before settling for Bobby Valentine (a previous “promising veteran” managerial candidate for the Nats – dodged a bullet there).

  2. Theophilus T.S. - Oct 9, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    One of the other Nats blogs raised the possibility of Barry Larkin. Larkin has a lot of appeal to me (including his UofM background). There is no doubt he could teach much to a lot of the players. I wonder if he could hit any of them over the head with a croquet mallet if they don’t pay attention. He knows many of the players in the system. He would have respect from a number of important players, including Werth (who would see him as a contemporary), Zimmerman (“I know I’m great but this guy was greater . . . I think”); Harper (“this guy can show me how to get to the HOF”). He could help Desmond and Span with their running game.

    No, he doesn’t have any managerial experience. What we have here is a very talented team that fell far below their potential. The new manager can succeed if he inspires, motivates and requires accountability. There stat feeders aplenty to serve as bench coach — maybe Knorr would stay. The players say they love Knorr but I’m not certain they would be inspired by him, or would fear his disapproval if they were not accountable.

  3. Theophilus T.S. - Oct 9, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    I am happy both GIrardi and Scioscia are off the table. Picking up someone else’s shiny object before finding out it’s only gold plate is not the right approach. Find your own shiny object. If he falls short you at least don’t have to explain how you were swayed by another team’s standard of less than complete success. (If Leyland were available I’d take him. But Scioscia and Girardi aren’t Leyland.)

  4. kirbs3256 - Oct 9, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Whoever it may be, I just hope they like small ball….we only need 3 runs!!!!!!

    And a big no to Dusty. He is an arm killer. Mark Pryor anybody?

  5. Sonny G 10 - Oct 9, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Based on what little I know, I favor Randy Knorr. I liked how he was not afraid to remove Soriano when he was pitching poorly. I think he will demand the best from our players. I also like what Theophilus T.S. says above. Let’s find our own shiny object.

    • David Proctor - Oct 9, 2013 at 6:19 PM

      Nobody cared when he called Soriano because Soriano is disliked. A lot of people were up in arms however when Knorr called out Harper for not hustling. Knorr talks too much. He’s managed, what, 3 games? And he’s thrown a player under the bus in each one.

      • Sonny G 10 - Oct 10, 2013 at 2:04 AM

        He’s managed a lot of minor league games, but perhaps you are right about him. I will try to see the silver lining in whichever person Rizzo choses for the next manager.

  6. Joe Seamhead - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    I’m with David Proctor regarding Randy Knorr. I am not on the Knorr bus at this point. I thought his Harper comments were inexcusable. I also think that he was very lucky, but not particularly smart on the Soriano move.i also think that it was a decision that did nothing to enamor himself with Mike Rizzo. Soriano was/is Rizzo’s guy that allowed runners, but blew very few games. I think Randy threw dirt in Rizzo’s beer that day.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:15 PM

      I’m with you two on this. Knorr has to know he can’t talk like a blogger. There’s a baseball etiquette within the clubhouse. I still think that Werth’s opinion goes a long way. Werth named Ripken and then when questioned was like, oh yah, Knorr. That doesn’t give me a warm feeling.

      No to Dusty.

  7. Theophilus T.S. - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    Somebody at WaPo was hyperventilating about Ripken’s refusal to rule himself out of the running — almost an invitation for an invitation. The way egos have to be stroked in situations like this you don’t invite Ripken to interview unless you intend to hire him and Rip doesn’t accept the interview unless he intends to take the job and expects it to be offered. This will require a lot of back-channel communication, with both sides cultivating every possible source for insights about the other party and establishing a mutual list of expectations (coaches, input in roster formation, etc.). The longer the “search” goes on — beyond the WS — the greater the possibility Ripken will be offered/will accept the job.

    I sort of agree Knorr is not Rizzo’s guy. Not necessarily because of the Soriano/Harper incidents — Johnson said essentially the same things about Harper, maybe some worse — but because Rizzo wants a dance partner. Rizzo wants to run the FO, not the dugout and clubhouse, too. My guess is Rizzo’s wish list consists of Ripken, Larkin and M. Williams, in some order.

    My guess is Rizzo’s wish list is some order of Ripken,

    • Theophilus T.S. - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      Somehow I need to finish scrolling down before I post these things.

      • Theophilus T.S. - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:04 PM

        For the record, I have previously expressed on more than one occasion, that I don’t think Ripken will be a great manager, the guy for this job.

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