Alex Rodriguez

What’s next for the Yankees?

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It’s probably a little early for this sort of talk, but the futures of impending free agents Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera and manager Joe Girardi are sure to be a popular topic of conversation during the winter. The thing is, aside from the chance that Pettitte retires, they are all pretty much locks to return in pinstripes next season.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Chad Jennings of the Journal News that signing Girardi to a new contract is his first priority this winter.

“I would think that would be the first order of business,” Cashman said. “But I haven’t even talked to our owners yet.”

As for Pettitte, the Yankees re-signed him to a one-year deal last December. The veteran left-hander told Sam Borden of the Journal News that whether he decides to retire or not, he would like a quick resolution this offseason, as well.

“I don’t want to drag it out,” Pettitte said.

Rivera, who turns 41 next month, was just as brilliant as ever this season. His three-year, $45 million contract is up, but it would be tough to envision a scenario where he signs elsewhere.

“We’ll see,” Rivera said. “That I will tell you guys later on, when it happens.”

And, of course, Jeter. Nobody actually expects the shortstop to leave via free agency, but he wasn’t ready to talk about his future after last night’s loss.

“I haven’t even really thought about it,” Jeter said. “We just lost. Coming in tonight I wasn’t planning on this being the end of the season.”

Many are going to focus on how much money Jeter will make on his next contract. It’s irrelevant, really. Yankees’ money isn’t normal money. This is an organization that can pay mistakes like Kei Igawa to be in the witness relocation program. Ignore it.

No, the tricky part will be how the Yankees decide to handle their franchise player as he moves into his late-30s. He already took a huge step back this season at age 36, both offensively and defensively. Is it possible that we could see another resurgence like 2009? Maybe. But such occurrences are much less likely as a player ages. Eventually, someone is going to have to make the delicate decision to set aside legacy for the sake of wins and losses. He’ll get his contract this winter — and deservedly so, I might add — but let’s hope this situation doesn’t get ugly a couple years from now.

Dusty Baker on struggling Jonathan Papelbon: “He doesn’t look very good.”

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 24:  Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Washington Nationals looks on after coming out in the ninth inning during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 24, 2016 in Washington, DC.  The Padres won 10-6.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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The Nationals lost a heartbreaker on Tuesday night, as the Indians overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Nationals 7-6. Closer Jonathan Papelbon faced five batters but was unable to record an out, yielding a leadoff walk, a double, a bunt that ended up very successful due to a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error, an intentional walk, and a single. Oliver Perez came in and eventually allowed one of his inherited runners to score, saddling Papelbon with the loss.

Papelbon also served up four runs in the outing before Tuesday’s, on Saturday against the Padres. The two clubs entered the top of the ninth tied 6-6, but a walk followed by three two-out singles and a bases-clearing double off of Papelbon allowed the Padres to take a 10-6 lead.

On the season, Papelbon is 19-for-22 in save chances with a 4.18 ERA and a 30/12 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings. If the season were to end today, the right-hander’s 21.4 percent strikeout rate would be the lowest mark of his career and his 8.6 percent walk rate would be his highest mark since 2010.

Manager Dusty Baker didn’t indicate that he’s going to make a change at closer, but he sounded dissatisfied with Papelbon’s performance thus far. Via Mark Zuckerberg of MASN, Baker said, “He doesn’t have his command, which is evident when you walk the leadoff hitter. But it’s like, what do you say? How does he look? Right now he doesn’t look like Pap. He doesn’t look very good. Usually he doesn’t walk people like that.”

The non-waiver trade deadline is on Monday, August 1. The Nationals, at 58-42, still have a four-game lead over the Marlins and a 4.5-game lead over the Mets. Tuesday’s loss has motivated the club to attempt to upgrade the bullpen, Jon Morosi reports. The Nationals were in the mix for Aroldis Chapman before the Yankees sent him to the Cubs. Perhaps Andrew Miller could be next on the Nats’ wish list.

Blue Jays trade Drew Storen to the Mariners for Joaquin Benoit

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 29: Drew Storen #45 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the eleventh inning during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on May 29, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday night that the club traded reliever Drew Storen and some cash to the Mariners in exchange for reliever Joaquin Benoit.

Storen, 28, was designated for assignment by the Jays on Sunday after posting a 6.21 ERA with a 32/10 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him during the offseason from the Nationals in exchange for Ben Revere and a player to be named later.

Benoit, 38, struggled as well, putting up a 5.18 ERA with a 28/15 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings with the Mariners.