Brian Cashman's meeting with Joe Girardi's agent Wednesday comes at a time when the Chicago Cubs have serious interest in hiring the New York Yankees' manager sources told ESPN.

Chicago fired Dale Sveum on Monday and sources say that Cubs ownership views Girardi as someone who can help put a jolt into fan interest in the team.

The Cubs' attendance has declined in each of the past five seasons at a time when the organization is trying to rebuild and probably is at least two or three years away from contending again. Hiring Girardi in anticipation of increased fan interest could be more financially efficient for the Cubs than pursuing big-money free-agent players.

The Cubs' baseball operations department has only begun its search for the next manager and isn't locked into Girardi -- or anyone else -- as its primary option.

But sources say that Cubs ownership wants Girardi is making a strong internal argument to hire him and intends to make him a serious contract offer if given the chance.

The negotiations between the Yankees and Girardi could proceed quickly given New York's intention -- as stated by Cashman to reporters Tuesday -- to offer him a raise.

Cashman declined to say if he would grant Girardi permission to speak to the Cubs. Because Girardi is under contract until Oct. 31 a source told ESPNNewYork.com that the Yankees are hesitant to give him permission to speak with the Cubs.

The highest-paid manager in the sport is Mike Scioscia at $5 million annually with Jim Leyland next at $4 million. The Yankees presumably will offer Girardi something close to the top of the market more than the $3 million he earned annually under the terms of his current contract.

If Girardi rejects New York's offer -- to pursue the Cubs' job or to work in television -- then the Yankees may rapidly move ahead with the search for their next manager.