The New York Post’s Joel Sherman and George King report that Tampa Bay is hoping to speak with the only manager to lead to the New York Mets to consecutive post-season appearances.

Joe Girardi is not the only candidate with New York ties that the Devil Rays are considering to be their next manager. They intend to contact Bobby Valentine over the next few days to determine if the former Mets skipper should replace Lou Piniella, The Post has learned.

(someone pretending to be hstencil has already written in to say he likes Bobby’s little mustache)

Valentine’s Chiba Lotte Marines are currently in the first round of the playoffs in Japan, playing the Seibu Lions. Valentine has outs that allow him leave his contract for a job in the States. Stu Sternberg took over control of the Devil Rays this week and hiring a manager is a top priority. Alan Trammell and Jim Tracy also are considered candidates, but Girardi is viewed as the front-runner.

The Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi writes that all signs point to Girardi being offered the job in Florida.

The Marlins haven’t started formal interviews yet with managerial candidates, but all signs so far point to Yankees bench coach Joe Girardi taking over as Florida’s next manager.

Girardi and his agent met for 90 minutes Thursday with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria in New York, in Loria’s Manhattan office.

“It was fairly brief. He didn’t want to do too much without (General Manager Larry) Beinfest there. We talked about getting together again,” Girardi told “The idea that he wants to talk to me is a good sign. It means I still have a chance.”

The Marlins plan to interview Oakland third-base coach Ron Washington on Tuesday. The team also plans to interview Atlanta third-base coach Fredi Gonzalez and two coaches from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, first-base coach Billy Hatcher and third-base coach Tom Foley. No dates have been set.

But it seems that Loria is set on getting Girardi, and that Girardi is interested in replacing Jack McKeon, who resigned after Sunday’s game.

“You look over their club, the contracts, the prospects in the system and how it all fits in,” Girardi said after spending three hours in the Yankees clubhouse Thursday studying up on the Marlins system. “It sounds like (pitcher A.J.) Burnett will be gone, so there are holes. The interest is, how are those holes going to be filled?”