www.redeyechicago.com/sports/ct-red-1001-girardi-20130930,0,7312182.story

redeyechicago.com

Cubs have one choice: Girardi

By Matt Lindner

For RedEye

12:35 PM CDT, September 30, 2013

Advertisement

He's got four World Series rings, roots in the Chicago area and experience navigating the allegedly haunted halls of Wrigley Field.

And now that Dale Sveum has been mercifully put out to pasture, it's time to bring Joe Girardi home to Clark and Addison.

Sveum never had a chance with this roster as constructed, with players who should've been in Triple-A Iowa masquerading as major leaguers. It's unlikely he was fired for his record but rather for his inability to get through to Starlin Castro—whose absentmindedness in the field and at the plate has been infuriating—and other young stars on the roster.

Given his ability to handle the likes of Alex Rodriguez, something tells me Girardi wouldn't have that problem.

It is a match made in baseball heaven, an opportunity for Theo Epstein to do what the Cubs should've done nearly a decade ago when Girardi was initially available.

Given the state of the N.Y. Yankees' roster, it's hard to imagine Girardi wanting to return to what can only be described as a circus. The team's high-priced stars are aging and there's no real help on the way in the farm system. The fact that Girardi was able to lead the 2013 Bronx Bombers to the brink of a playoff spot featuring a roster that was duct-taped together using spare parts shows he's more than capable of making something out of nothing. And that's the kind of guy the Cubs could use right now.

If Epstein and his team are serious about expediting the latest and greatest rebuilding phase on the North Side, Girardi is the only answer moving forward. With all due respect to Sveum, Girardi is everything Sveum is not: a proven leader capable of shaping young talent and making the most with what he's been handed roster-wise.

His take-no-prisoners managing style has earned him respect in clubhouses and front offices. He's a proven winner with three World Series rings as a player and a fourth as a manager (with the 2009 Yankees).

He's also been in a similar situation to the one he'd find himself in with the Cubs.

In 2006, Girardi took a young Florida team that wasn't expected to do much and made the Marlins somewhat respectable, putting together a surprising 78-84 campaign that earned him Manager of the Year honors.

With nothing but constant talk of Next Year on the North Side, it'd be nice to see Cubs brass go after someone who is more than just a placeholder, like Sveum was. Girardi might not be the ultimate answer when it comes to getting the Cubs to the World Series, but hiring him away from the Yankees would be a giant step in showing the team is serious about winning before the start of the next century.

Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye Sports' Facebook page