These are some interesting baseball times in New York, aren’t they?
* This could be the last week we see Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu, Mike Mussina or Andy Pettitte in pinstripes. The Yankees also will bid a not-so-fond farewell to Carl Pavano, Pudge Rodriguez, Sidney Ponson and some of the other dreck. The team photo could look a lot different next season.
* Is Brian Cashman getting ready for next season or polishing up his resume? Depending who you believe, he thinks he can make it work with the Brothers Steinbrenner or he wants out. Based only on dealing with the guy on a daily basis, Cashman has been different this season, a little looser, a little more glib. But I can’t tell whether that suggests he’s comfortable where he is or halfway out the door.
* Based on his interactions with the media the last two days, Joe Girardi’s friendly twin brother Jimmy Girardi has taken over the team. Maybe he has accepted the reality of the situation or maybe somebody got in his ear, but Girardi was candid about the Cano situation and other matters, even injuries!
As I have said all along, this is no dope. Hopefully he realizes that playing Spy vs. Spy with the writers really doesn’t benefit anybody in the long run. Girardi could be exactly what this team needs in a manager if they go young. Hopefully these last two days aren’t a mirage.
* I really can’t describe to you how mad Mariano Rivera is. He looks like he wants to strangle his teammates. The guy has one of the best seasons of his career and he’s going home on Sept. 28.
* A-Rod has been a ghost for about a week. The rest of the Yankees dutifully made themselves available to praise Jeter last night and he vanished. He’s 3 for 15 on the homestand.
* Here’s the deal with Andy Pettitte. Either he’s finished or this is all residue of a winter spent embroiled in the drug scandal and a sore shoulder. He wants to play again next season, he’s made that pretty clear. Tough call for the Yankees. I’d say let him walk, don’t offer arbitration then offer him $8 million to come back as a No. 4 or No. 5 starter.
* The Moose has to return, if only because he has learned how to pitch off a diminished fastball. He can do what he is doing now for another three years. But if he decided to retire off a good season and go tune up cars the rest of his life, I would not be shocked. Winning 300 games does not mean anything to him.
* Girardi has to know he needs to change the coaching staff. That said, Dave Eiland and Kevin Long stay. They know what they are doing and only the uninformed criticize Long. Everybody else should be in play. And if the Mets collapse and go looking for a manager, it should be Tony Pena.
* The Yankees have two choices long term: Build through the draft and do it right or spend nine years patching it together and watching A-Rod chase down Bonds and making the playoffs on occasion. They need to build a program, not a series of teams. The most important players in this organization are Austin Jackson, the kids in Charleston and guys like Mark Melancon, Joba and Phil. Doing fantasy drafts of free agents hasn’t worked for eight years.
* Kind of funny that Joe Torre and the Dodgers are rolling into the postseason by beating up on Ross Ohlendorf and Jeff Karstens. As one of my associates said last night, Torre probably walked by Karstens and said, “Hey, Darrell, good to see you.”