2007_10_arodindians.jpgWelcome to the first day of the Yankees’ offseason, buckle your seatbelts this is going to be a wild ride.

While it is 99.9% certain that the Yankees are going to have a new manager for 2008, his identity remains a mystery. Joe Girardi, Don Mattingly and Tony LaRussa are the top names you hear, but remember in 1995 the Yankees shocked a lot of people when they chose Torre, so don’t be surprised if they go in a completely different direction.

And that is just the first of many decisions and challenges ahead. A-Rod can opt-out of his contract after the World Series ends and with Scott Boras as his agent that seems a certainty. The Yankees can try and sign him to an extension before that, but A-Rod may decide he has had enough of New York and head to a less intense place to play, perhaps California.

Then you have the two old guard members who are free agents, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. The Yankees will want both back, but at 36 and 38 how much longer will they stay effective? Both seem interested in seeing what is available in the free agent market and since both are loyal to Torre, they might not want to come back to New York.

Next up on the list is a pair of $16-million options. The Yankees control Bobby Abreu’s and they will probably exercise it. But, they could trade him like they did with Gary Sheffield last year. Andy Pettitte’s holds a player’s option and he may not want to return if Joe isn’t back.

Throw in the impending free agency of Ron Villone, Doug Mientkiewicz, Luis Vizcaino, Jose Molina and Roger Clemens and you could have a very different team show up in Tampa next February. The Yankees have correctly identified the need to get younger and with Hughes and Chamberlain they have two big pieces to build with. There are a lot of moves to make and a lot of tough calls coming up.

Photo of Alex Rodriguez by AP/Kathy Willens