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Joe Girardi, Future Cubs Manager?

It seems clear that this is Lou Piniella’s last year as Cubs manager, given the state of the team and his age, although no one has said anything specific. Lou himself says this will be “his last managing job”, though he hasn’t specifically declared 2010 is it for him.

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Today, Gordon Wittenmyer in the Sun-Times writes that the Cubs should hire Joe Girardi to replace Lou; Girardi is not under contract to the Yankees past this season.

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Girardi applied for the job when Dusty Baker was let go after 2006; at that time he had only one year of managerial experience (with the Marlins), and it didn’t end well.

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Now he has a ring as a manager (along with the three he won as a Yankee player) and a chance at another one. Asked about the Cub job, he was diplomatic and noncommittal:

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’’That’s not something I would talk about now,‘’ he said. ’’I grew up in Peoria. I grew up a Cub fan. But right now, I’m extremely happy where I’m at.’’

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He’s certainly not afraid of the challenge of that 102-year thing, or the Chicago meat grinder that chewed and spit out Dusty Baker and that has its teeth firmly sunk into Piniella’s backside.

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’’You’re asking me hypotheticals, and I don’t deal in hypotheticals,‘’ he said. ’’I am under contract. I love what I do. And I love managing.’’

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Personally, I can’t see the Yankees letting him go, particularly if they win it all again — they have almost unlimited funds, and their fanbase would certainly scream if they let a two-time World Series manager walk.

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With that experience and his understanding of Cub culture, he’d be a fine choice on the North Side. I just can’t see it happening.