Say it ain't so, Joe. Sports fans were shocked when the Yankees announced they would not be re-signing Joe Girardi to a new managerial contract. His tenth season as manager of the Yankees just concluded, and it was by far his most impressive.

After years of fielding a Yankee team riddled with over-the-hill stars and bad contracts, the Yankees had finally entered "rebuild mode" midway through the 2016 season. The young talent that has been called up to the big leagues over the last season and half had promise from the beginning, but the team wasn't expected to contend until 2018 at the earliest. Yet in 2017, they were within one game of reaching baseball's biggest stage, the World Series.

Why, then, would Brian Cashman and the Yankees front office elect to find a replacement for Girardi instead of letting him guide a young team he had a good grasp of for at least the next few seasons? Many expect this team to just get better as more high-valued prospects reach the majors. Perhaps some of the current players didn't like playing for him. Maybe they felt Girardi's leadership was becoming stale after a decade at the helm. We may never know exactly why, and time will tell if this was the correct decision. Fair or not, the deed has been done, and the search for a new Yankee manager begins.

Many names will be speculated over the next few weeks, but there is one name that stands out from the others. It may be a long shot, but in my mind is the most logical choice. It begins with A and ends with Rod.

Getty Images

Alex Rodriguez had a turbulent Yankee career to say the least. Much of it clouded in ugly steroid allegations and off-the-field front page headlines, most Yankee fans, myself included, had a very hard time warming up to him. He made a fool of himself in the postseason in every year but one, 2009; his one World Series championship, and Girardi's only ring as Yankee manager.

And who could forget the low-point of his career? A PED-related suspension that lasted from August 8, 2013 through the end of the 2014 season. Many thought A-Rod would never be seen near a baseball field again. Yet when he returned to the team in 2015, not only did he put up a very impressive stat-line for a 39-year-old who hadn't swung a bat in a year and a half, he also returned as a team leader and mentor to young players coming up through the minor league system, some of which contributed greatly at the major league level in 2017. That includes the likes of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Greg Bird.

Since then, A-Rod's reputation around baseball has improved more than anyone could have imagined. In his new career as an analyst with Fox Sports, he has proven just how much he loves the sport, as well as just how much he pays attention to every aspect of a baseball game. He has an eye for things young and struggling players are doing wrong, and takes the time out to fix them. Hell, he was doing this earlier this year. Back in August, he had a lunch meeting with budding superstar Gary Sanchez. “Everything that comes from him is positive," Sanchez told the New York Post, “We talked a little bit about defense, creating a routine, following your routine, preparing for games and we keep talking, phone calls here and there, and like I said, anything that comes from Alex is helpful."

Do I have enough evidence to back up my feeling that A-Rod would be a tremendous fit for the next manager of the New York Yankees? Not really. Most of it is a hunch. But I see how much he cares about the game of baseball and how far he's willing to go to help a player improve. Since this Yankee team is getting younger by the day, why wouldn't you want someone there who has a good rapport with them? He's also younger than most other managerial candidates at 42 years old. When you consider how much, and how quickly, the game is changing, having someone like A-Rod. who played while these changes were being ushered in, can only play to the Yankees' advantage.

— Joe Votruba

Follow Joe Votruba on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sign up for the NJ1015.com Newsletter

Get the best of NJ1015.com delivered to your inbox every day.