Girardi’s gonna hold the Birds up for ransom…

June 20, 2007 | Drew Forrester

So, my sources are telling me the meeting with Joe Girardi in Chicago earlier today was a “rousing success” from the Orioles standpoint.

Girardi “asked all the right questions” and was evidently very interested in the make-up of the O’s young lineup.  Young players were the backbone of his team in Florida a year ago, so it makes sense that he’s keen to learn more about Baltimore’s list of unknown commodities.

It’s very obvious Joe Girardi is their first and only choice, even though the O’s might have to go through with a MLB-mandated “minority interview” for their not-really-vacant but sort-of-open managerial job.

Now, the fun begins.

For the first time in a long time, the O’s are NOT in a position of strength when it comes to hiring a skipper.  Sam Perlozzo practically begged for the job when Lee Mazzilli got the gig, so when Maz got the boot, Perlozzo would have washed the floors at The Warehouse for the chance to manage a big league ballclub.  The O’s were Mazzilli’s first managerial spot and he was in no real position to bargain with Angelos when the offer came along — Rich Dauer, Eddie Murray and Tom Foley were foaming at the mouth to take the job so Maz had to be careful how he came across during negotiations.

But this time, it’s different.

Joe Girardi has the bargaining advantage.  All of it, in fact.

The O’s are reeling.  The national media has absolutely raked Angelos & Co. over the coals the last two days.  9 straight losing seasons – soon to be ten – make you a laughingstock of any league, let alone when you’re the once-proud Orioles and you can’t get out of 4th place in the American League East for a decade.

Girardi is no dummy.  He’s the one with all the leverage.  He already has a job, working on Yankees TV broadcasts.  And don’t forget, he’s basically already signed, sealed and delivered as the Yanks next “bench coach” when Don Mattingly replaces Joe Torre – whenever that finally takes place.

So Girardi doesn’t NEED the Orioles.  They NEED him.  And it doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to figure that out, right?  After all, if they didn’t NEED Girardi, wouldn’t they just stick it out with Trembley and see how the team responds to him over the next 3+ months?

I can hear this conversation now, between Girardi and his agent.

Agent: “Joe, you might want to get your driveway widened.”

Girardi: “Really, why?”

Agent: “Because when we make the Orioles send that Brinks Truck over to your house, you want to make sure it can fit in your driveway and into your garage so all that cash can be dumped out for you.”

That “c word” – cash – could very well be a stumbling block for the O’s-Girardi partnership.  Money is the root of all evil and Pete already has to shell out a couple of million to let Sam Perlozzo play golf down at Avila CC in Tampa Bay starting sometime next week.

How’s Pete going to react when Russell Smouse reports back that Girardi wants about $8 million more than the O’s had initially figured on investing in him?

Guess what?  Pete doesn’t have a choice this time around.

There’s no Rich Dauer or Eddie Murray hanging around to do their obligatory 19-month stint as the team’s skipper before they get relieved of their duties like those before them.

They’ve made it clear.  They WANT Joe Girardi.  They know they want him.  He knows they want him.

They HAVE to hire Girardi now.  If he turns them down, more laughs and giggles will come from the national media.

And don’t forget about the team.  They’re out there in San Diego twisting in the wind, wondering who the REAL manager of the team is going to be by week’s end.

This should make for a fun rest of the week.

Joe Girardi has the O’s by the short hairs.

I wonder if Pete’s ready to pay the price for ten years of losing?

He’d better be.

The time has arrived.

A guy in Chicago is moving stuff out of his garage as we speak, clearing room for that Brinks Truck.