Of Joe Girardi’s decision to pull Alex Rodriguez (above, with best friend) in favor of  Raul Ibanez in the 9th inning of last night’s ALDS Game 4, Baltimore’s Adam Jones said, “[the switch-off to Ibanez] caught me off guard, pinch hitting for a guy who’s half a billionaire.”  Girardi’s gambit, as you know, was wildly successful, and while the Yankee skipper is being widely hailed this morning (well, cept for Kobe), the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch wonders what’s next for A-Rod, claiming last night’s substitution, “forever altered his relationship with the organization”.

This is only the beginning, just watch: Rodriguez will likely be back in the lineup tonight, but only because the Orioles will start lefty Joe Saunders. But A-Rod’s hold on the No 3 spot in the lineup is over, particularly against right-handers. Rodriguez will move down in the batting order, possibly tonight, and by next year we’ll begin to see less of him – more days off, fewer at-bats, more instances of Girardi, “listening to my gut” as he did with the Division Series on the line.

He’s still owed $114 million through 2017, although one person familiar with ownership’s thinking predicted, “there’s no way Alex is still here after 2015.).” The Yankees will have to swallow a major portion of the remaining salaries in order to trade him, but Rodriguez, already unpopular with the fans, won’t be missed. Not really.

The metamorphosis has already begun, and no matter how it’s cloaked in the next few weeks – regardless if the Yankees finish off the Orioles in game 4, whether they breeze through the LCS and find themselves in the World Series – nothing will ever be the same between Rodriguez and the Bomber family.