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Fall guy (cont.)

Posted: Tuesday October 9, 2007 2:15AM; Updated: Tuesday October 9, 2007 3:55PM
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Yankees' Managerial Odds Board

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1. Mattingly. Lacks experience but has the Boss in his corner. Even money.

2. Girardi. NL Manager of the Year with Florida turned down $1.5 million a year from Orioles. 3-1.

3. La Russa. A perfect fit for the old Steinbrenner. 10-1.

4. Valentine. The best choice of all. 15-1.

5. Larry Bowa. Hard working and feisty coach. 25-1.

6. Tony Pena. Credited with Jorge Posada's continuing improvement. 30-1.

7. Field. 20-1.

And As For All Those Yankees Free Agents ...

This could have been the final game in pinstripes for several good-to-great Yankees. But the guess here is .... The Yankees pick up Bobby Abreu's $16 million option; Andy Pettitte picks up his own $16 million option; They re-sign Rivera for $26 million over two years (plus an option); They re-sign Posada for $39 million over three years. Roger Clemens calls it a career; More likely than not (51 percent to 49), they hold on to A-Rod, despite the bad postseason and projections everywhere that he will opt out. And I'll stick with my original guess that he'll get a $256 million deal over eight years.

Indians Summer

Well, it's not really summer. It only felt that way. But it's time to (finally) give the Indians some credit.

Manager Eric Wedge turned out to be right to employ Paul Byrd, who looked to me like a sacrificial lamb (I was wrong about that). He did just fine (five innings, two runs).

The Indians earned their victory over the Yankees. And by using Byrd, Wedge now has co-aces C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona ready for Boston in Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS.

Skip To Alou

The Mets are planning to exercise the $7.5 million option on Moises Alou's contract, according to a person familiar with their thinking. Although Alou, 41, missed about half the season with assorted injuries, he was a monster when he played. While earlier this season he spoke of 2007 likely being his last year, he has said recently that he hopes to return to the Mets.

Around The Majors

• Brewers player Tony Gwynn Jr. lining the hit that would sink the Padres was one of the great ironies of the year. Funny thing no one picked up on is that the Padres' advance scout is Chris Gwynn, Gwynn Jr.'s uncle, who may not have figured out the right way to pitch his nephew.

The Beaver County Times, which correctly reported that Neal Huntington would get the Pirates GM job in the first place, is suggesting Torey Lovullo, who manages the Indians' Triple-A team, is the leading contender to become Pirates manager.

• Orioles people were disappointed that Melvin Mora wasn't the same player or clubhouse presence after signing a $27 million extension.

• Magic touch: Arizona GM Josh Byrnes, whose team was the first to reach the LCS, previously worked for three teams. Yep, the Rockies, the Red Sox and the Indians. That's 4 for 4 if you're scoring at home.

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