Joe Girardi has options and leverage. Including a possible slot in the Fox booth.

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With the Yankees season over a lot of attention will be paid to A-Rod’s arbitration, which starts today, and Robinson Cano’s fre agency, which starts as soon as the playoffs are over.  But there is another loose end which is pretty darn important too: Joe Girardi.

Girardi is a managerial free agent, essentially, as he’s not under contract for 2014. Joel Sherman says that it feels like he wants to stay in New York. Buster Olney says that, while that may be true, Girardi is going to demand a significant raise to do it. Sherman adds this:

But there are real opportunities out there for Girardi. Tim McCarver’s spot in the Fox national booth is opening. Harold Reynolds and John Smoltz are perceived as strong candidates. But sources said the network loves Girardi and would strongly consider him.

He adds that the Cubs may have a managerial opening too and reminds us that Girardi is an Illinois guy, hailing from Peoria, going to Northwestern and playing for the Cubs.

Whether Girardi wants to leave the dugout for the booth or go to a rebuilding situation is an open question. But whether or not the Yankees should want him back in the Bronx shouldn’t be. He got more out of less talent this season than anyone. He has kept the clubhouse operating on an even keel despite all manner of controversy and scrutiny. He deals deftly with big egos and big media and the Yankees would be hard pressed who could do his job better than him. It’s just a matter if he wants it.

Either way, he’ll be making good money in 2014. And after a tumultuous 2013, it’s hard to say he won’t deserve it.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.