NEW YORK — Joe Girardi’s return as manager of the New York Yankees was all about family.
Girardi signed a four-year contract that could be worth up to $20 million Wednesday to stay with New York through 2017.
With the Yankees missing out on the playoffs this season for the second time in 19 years, the 48-year-old Girardi got an early start on determining his future. He went over several possible scenarios with his wife, Kim, and three children that included taking a year off, pursuing a broadcasting job or managing somewhere else. But they quickly came to the conclusion that six years in New York was not enough.
“It wasn’t ever a lot of thought that I might not possibly come back. I just had to make sure that everyone was still on board,” Girardi said.
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Girardi was in the final month of his second three-year contract (worth $9 million) with the Yankees since taking over for Joe Torre after the 2007 season, and Girardi asked for a fourth year in the new deal.
The contract includes $16 million guaranteed and up to $4 million in bonuses, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement.
“Our lives have been here for six years,” Girardi said. “I think stability is important.”
The pull of returning to his native Illinois to manage the Chicago Cubs, the team he grew up rooting for, did not factor greatly into his decision because once his family agreed he should manage it was set on New York.
“Chicago is special to me. And I think it’ll always be special to me,” Girardi said. “But this place is really special to me, too. Because of what I’ve experienced here. … And my kids and my wife are established in the community here. We just thought it was important to stay.”
In a 15-year career as a catcher, Girardi won three World Series titles with the Yankees from 1996 to 1999. As manager, he has led New York to the playoffs in four of his six seasons, winning the World Series in 2009.
Under Girardi, the big-spending Yankees have gone a major-league-best 564-408 (.580) since 2008.
Even though New York finished tied for third in the AL East at 85-77, Girardi had what many believed was his best season as a manager. He kept the Yankees in the playoff chase until late September despite significant injuries to stars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson.
• Just like last October in Oakland, the Detroit Tigers have been pushed to a winner-take-all fifth game in their AL Division Series against the Athletics. And Detroit will have Justin Verlander on the mound again Thursday night after he pitched a four-hit shutout in the 2012 clincher. The A’s will counter with rookie Sonny Gray against Verlander again after they put on a pitching show Saturday night at the Coliseum.
• Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price emptied out his locker and said he expects to be traded. “If you go with what’s been done in the past, I guess you’re going to have to think you’re going to get traded,” Price said. “That’s kind of the way it’s happened with this organization when pitchers kind of get to this period in their career.”
• Rodriguez’s appeal of his 211-game suspension will resume Wednesday at Major League Baseball headquarters in Manhattan.
• Andy Pafko, a four-time All-Star who played on the last Chicago Cubs team to reach the World Series and was the famously forlorn outfielder who watched Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ’Round the World” sail over the left-field wall during the 1951 National League playoff, died Tuesday in Stevensville, Mich. He was 92.