CHICAGO -- With manager Dale Sveum's firing official after two years and 197 losses, the Chicago Cubs are on the lookout for a new skipper to command a sinking ship.
Who doesn't want to lose 90-plus games in Cubby blue while answering questions about minor leaguers?
Joe Girardi, who is under contract with the New York Yankees until Nov. 1, is the top name on this new prospect list, for good reason. The former Cub and Northwestern graduate is not only a fan favorite but also a savvy manager known for his organizational skills and devotion to his famous binder, his baseball bible of trends and statistics.
The question is: What kind of team would Girardi get? It would be foolish of him to take this job if it's the same one Sveum left.
In Sveum's short tenure, the Cubs were not built to win. It would be wrong to say they were tanking for draft picks and international spending dollars, but there was little focus on the major league product. The attendance, which dipped to a 15-year low, showed that.
President Theo Epstein has been clear that the franchise is in a total rebuild, and that the minor league system comes before the major league product for now.
With the prospects of winning at least a year away, more likely two or three, what would Girardi's interest be?
While he's from Illinois, went to Northwestern, and came up with the Cubs, he also has a home in New York, where his family is comfortable.
Girardi, who will be 49 in two weeks, answered a question about returning to the Cubs, before the firing was official, by noting, "There's not as much [in Chicago] as there used to be." Girardi, who reportedly makes $3 million, said Sunday that finances would have "zero" to do with his decision.
A Peoria native, Girardi hasn't lived in Chicago since 2006, the year he got his first managerial gig, winning NL Manager of the Year for the Florida Marlins. His father passed away last October.
If Girardi were to leave New York for the Cubs, I assume he would desire some kind of assurance for the near future.
Epstein called the dreamy notion that all the Cubs' bold-name prospects will turn into stars "an unrealistic panacea," while also noting the Cubs wouldn't get a big bump in the baseball budget until that new revenue from the Wrigley Field rebuild comes through. They won't start that process until after next season, it seems.
While the Yankees are more cost-conscious than usual, it seems that Girardi, who won a World Series in 2009, has millions of reasons to stay in New York.
He knows the Cubs' history. This job ends only in heartbreak.
Then again, Epstein left Boston for Chicago and dreams of making history. Anything is possible.