Would impending free agent Joe Girardi leave the Yankees?

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Joe Girardi is getting a ton of praise for keeping the Yankees in the playoff picture despite an incredible number of injuries wrecking the roster all season, which is interesting timing with the manager’s contract up after the season.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com broaches the topic of whether Girardi would ever leave the Yankees as a free agent or, short of that, if he can at least leverage the situation into a big raise. Girardi is from Chicago, so the Cubs job might be appealing, and high-profile teams like the Nationals, Angels, and Phillies may all have openings. And he’s about to finish up a three-year, $9 million contract.

General manager Brian Cashman has made it clear he wants Girardi back and Girardi has dropped some hints suggesting he plans to be back, such as revealing how he’ll try to talk Mariano Rivera out of retiring to pitch another season for the Yankees. Girardi has a .583 winning percentage in six seasons managing the Yankees, which is the equivalent of a 94-68 record prorated to one 162-game season.

My guess is that he’ll be back in New York, but for a lot more than $3 million per season.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.