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Washington Nationals’ manager search: Will Nats target Joe Girardi?

The Washington Nationals talked to and were impressed with Joe Girardi during previous manager searches. Will they make another run at the now-former Yankees’ skipper this time?

New York Yankees v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was as clear as can be when he talked last week about the goal for the organization going forward following the decision to move on from Dusty Baker and begin the search for a new manager this offseason. We’ve heard a few names mentioned already, with Chicago Cubs’ bench coach Dave Martinez set to interview in D.C., and the Nationals have reportedly asked for and received permission to interview New York Mets’ hitting coach Kevin Long (aka the Daniel Murphy Whisperer).

After four division titles in six seasons and four NLDS losses, the Nationals’ goal is to find a manager who can take them to the next level.

“We’re going to open up the list of the managerial search and we’re going to do our due diligence and find the right person to get us to the next level and got get us to achieve the goals that we’re looking to achieve,” Rizzo explained in a conference call with reporters last week.

“Our expectations have grown to the fact that winning a lot of regular season games and winning divisions are not enough. Our goal is to win a world championship.”

Now-former New York Yankees’ skipper Joe Girardi has a World Series championship on his resume. He checks a lot of the boxes. Does he fit with the Nationals though? You’ll find no shortage of voices on the internet this morning, after the Yankees announced their intention to enter the market for a new manager as well, who doubt the Nats will be willing to pay what Girardi (who’s coming off a 4-year/$16M deal) is likely to command.

Considering the recent history, which has seen the Nationals reportedly low-ball Bud Black before hiring Dusty Baker and signing him to a 2-year/$4M deal (after he’d earned $3.5M per in his previous job in Cincinnati), it’s not too surprising to see folks wondering if the Nationals will spend what it would cost to sign a veteran skipper like Girardi, but they have expressed interest before...

Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell wrote back in 2013 that Rizzo, “... has a high opinion of Girardi,” when the Nationals were in the market for a manager.

Girardi interviewed for Nats’ managerial opening back in 2006, before removing his name from consideration.

That time, he told WaPost reporter Barry Svrluga that he’d been impressed with the Nationals, however, though it was during the Jim Bowden era.

"I was very impressed, very impressed with Jim and Stan [Kasten], the organization, the new stadium, the Lerners," Girardi said in a telephone interview.

"I think it's a great ownership group, and the situation is going to be very good. I think it's a wonderful job. But I think I came to the conclusion at this time that it's not the right move for my family."

Girardi talked again about his family being an important part of any decision he makes when he was asked what the future held after the Yankees were eliminated from this year’s ALCS by the Houston Astros.

“I've always said, the first thing that I do is I always talk to my family first,” Girardi explained.

“They come first. Because I think when you have a job, I mean, your family has to buy in too. It's not just what you want out of life. It's everyone buying in. So I'll sit down, talk to my wife and my kids and see where they're at and what they're thinking. And then we'll see what the Yankees are thinking.

“That's not my concern right now. I've had ten great years here. I feel extremely blessed. God has been good to me. And we'll see what the future holds.”

Will a future in the nation’s capital appeal to Girardi if the Nationals are willing to pay?