An evening with Brian Cashman

Thumbnail image for money.jpgBrian Cashman’s charity discussion out in Pleasantville, N.Y. for Ed Randall’s ‘Bat for the Cure‘ ran long tonight, but if you were as passionate about the Yankees as most of the audience seemed to be, it probably wasn’t a big deal. Just about the only topic Cash wouldn’t discuss was Joe Torre’s book, but there was plenty to go around. Some of the highlights to chew on:

Manny to the Yankees — officially dead: The Yankees are done with their big spending and have no room left to pursue Manny Ramirez. Sorry, folks, but right now the Yankees are trying to sign more guys like Angel Berroa. The Yankees payroll will be reduced in ’09 and Manny’s bat isn’t going to change that.

“Ultimately, we’ve made our decision,” Cashman said. “We chose to put that money into Mark Teixeira to play first base. I do hear rumblings about people actually expect us to get in on Manny. That’s not going to happen. We respect his abilities, there’s no doubt about it, but we’re now in the non-roster invite mode.”

Cashman knows the Yankees have been anointed the Hot Stove champs. It doesn’t mean anything: “I don’t care about headlines in December or January. What ultimately translates is getting enough W’s to be the last team standing.”

Career paths: Cashman wasn’t one of those kids who lies awake at night dreaming of being the Yankees GM. Actually, out in Kentucky, young Cash grew up a Dodgers fan and a Yankee hater. In fact, when Bob Watson gave up the GM post in ’98, Cashman first begged him to stay. Then he asked George Steinbrenner not to give him a contract, instead operating on a handshake agreement so Cashman could be easily dismissed if it didn’t work out.

Tough crowd: Cashman is very wary of the Rays, of whom he said has seen the talent coming for years. On the traditional 20 to 80 scouting scale (50 being an average big leaguer), Cashman said too many of Tampa Bay’s young prospects are coming in around 80. Such is the advantage of smart drafting and terrible in-season results.

But the Yankees have some names Cashman is excited about — he thinks the ’06 crop of Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, Zach McAllister, Dellin Betances and Dave Robertson could go down as an all-time great one. The Yankees are still top-heavy in pitching prospects and would love to develop more big bats, but most of the really promising position players are at the A-ball level and below.

What if: Yes, the four-year, $40 million deal to Carl Pavano was a bust. But Cashman said Pavano turned down even more money from the Tigers, Mariners and Orioles. The Red Sox were also hot on Pavano.

Flight cancelled: Cashman almost flew to Baltimore from Houston to meet with A.J. Burnett after his meeting with Andy Pettitte in December. It turned out not to be necessary – things had progressed far enough with Burnett that the Yankees were confident it’d get done.

Will the Melk-man deliver?: As of right now, it’s Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner for center field. Cashman believes Melky is a better player than he showed in ’08 and will be out to prove that. But here’s an ominous warning: “The ones that are good enough will find a way. The ones that aren’t good enough will find excuses.” Cash compared Gardner to “Juan Pierre, who takes a walk.”

Better days?: Cashman said he’s not a big souvenir guy, but one of the things he’s kept was the lineup card from his first win as Yankees GM – April 5, 1998 at Oakland. Cash was actually in Oakland the day earlier, but Steinbrenner had called him back to New York in a fit after the Yankees started the year 0-3. They won 125 games.

The inscription on the lineup card from Joe Torre reads: “Crash – the first of many.” That’s not a typo. The nickname ‘Crash’ stuck to Cashman in his younger, wilder days.   

Driving Mr. Steinbrenner: Cash told a great story about his early days back in the Yankees organization, when George Steinbrenner’s personal drivers were all out shuttling around dignitaries or guests. Cashman got stuck with the assignment and found himself on the FDR Drive with the Boss, who wanted to get a quick haircut before flying to Tampa out of Teterboro.

Long story short, Cash tried to get cute with a shortcut and wound up hearing a full-on assault of the 1980s Steinbrenner in his right ear for the whole rest of the trip. Steinbrenner actually threatened at one point to “just take the subway.” He got the haircut with Cashman but found a different driver to take him across to New Jersey.

26 Comments

I’ve had enough of this:

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That was a very interesting read Bryan. Great post. I enjoyed every line of it.

Sean Serritella

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I hear Cameron was also discussed again and that the Yankees would want Milwaulkie to take back more than Melky, possibly Igawa or Swisher.

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He’s going to be a rehab guy going into the spring but the fact he’s on the mound on Feb. 3 bodes well. They’re thinking he’ll be ready for April barring a setback.

By bombersbeat on February 4, 2009 4:10 PM
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This for a guy who was supposed to be ready september 1st. 6 months behind schedule?

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Good news about Wang. It’s got to help that with CC and AJ, Chien-Ming doesn’t have to rush himself back to be our ace, he just needs to get healthy. With him taking on no.3 starters this season, he has a real shot at 20 wins, but I don’t want to get ahed of myself here.

Trading pitching prospects like Wright who are being squeezed out by our depth there for position prospects is a very good idea. I hope to see another trade or two like that to stock up our farm system.

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He’s going to be a rehab guy going into the spring but the fact he’s on the mound on Feb. 3 bodes well. They’re thinking he’ll be ready for April barring a setback.

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Wang is only now throwing off a mound. Is something up?

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He is only class A ball, we won’t see him for at least two years — barring amazing numbers in the minors.

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So this Fryer guy is a minor leaguer? We haven’t just added another major league outfielder and Pudge Rodriguez’s minor league option haven’t yet dwindled to just the Marlins?

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Fryer is a more of an outfielder than catcher (, in the eys of the yanks probably, mainly because of Montero and Romine, he is primarily LF) and he looks promising, I think this was a great trade for both squads. I liked Wright, he will now get a chance to play in the majors, seeing how the pecking order is no longer Joba, Hughes, Kennedy, Aceves…

Also, I’m not sure about Mendoza, but you can’t trade an invitee. Melky will be better in RF or LF definatley.

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This is directed to anybody who plays a fantasy one-year leagues. I’m thinking about my pitching staff, and I am not sure if it is a good idea to choose the Yanks as my #1 choice, I think they will be great but am I overestimating them because I am a Yankee fan? The only other clubs that I think will/could be better are the Ray, Cubs, Giants, Angels. Any tips? Also, do you think it is a good idea to get my SS first than 3B, 2B or OF, C, 1B, P, OF, OF. 1B is pretty deep so I think I can get a solid 1B in the later rounds, I think Votto or Davis (17 homers in 250 abs) are going to be studs this fantasy studs this year.

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I like Melky’s arm and his speed but I think he would better suiter in RF, there have been times when he has midjudged fly balls in shallow center badly.

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We just made a deal with the Brewers. Its not Mike Cameron. We traded Chase Wright and Ramiro Mendoza for C Eric Fryer. Mendoza was a non roster invite? and former setup man for Rivera.

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Generally an AL bench consists of a back-up catcher, UI & OF and a DH type. Swisher could contribute in the OF,DH and UI role — barring of course the middle infield, I’m not sure if he could play the hot corner. Matsui isn’t really an OF any more, pretty much a pure DH-type who can, in needed, fill out the field. I think that Melky will show his true colors this season solidifying himself as a solid Yankee outfielder and Gardner will be a super utility player for the year who will be very valuable late in close games on the pads and for his defense. Remember when Melky was leading the Yanks in homers last year with eight very early on only to see his power all but disappear. I think/hope that he is a talent and will be a great Yankee outfielder for a time to come.

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Bryan, it should say Manny to the Yankees official dead FOR NOW. If Manny sits out and we either struggle or get an injury, Manny’s name will come right back up again in every newspaper.

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There is no way we keep 6 OFs along with our utility infielder and Molina.

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Right, or he could be traded. It’s not that the Yankees don’t WANT Melky to succeed – of course they do. But they were damn close to trading him for Mike Cameron as well.

If Brett Gardner shows them that he’s the guy, they’ll go with Gardner. They could keep Melky around as a backup but that makes no sense with Damon, Matsui, Gardner, Nady AND Swisher on board — someone else would have to go.

By bombersbeat on February 4, 2009 11:21 AM
My sentiments exactly, though it appears that like with Igawa, Cabrera will get every chance to win a starting spot based on the monetary investment.

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I like this trade, this guy has some good minor league numbers and he is very young. I could this guy along with Jackson patrolling the outfield for a while.

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?n=Eric%20Fryer&pos=RF&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=518700

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Right, or he could be traded. It’s not that the Yankees don’t WANT Melky to succeed – of course they do. But they were damn close to trading him for Mike Cameron as well.

If Brett Gardner shows them that he’s the guy, they’ll go with Gardner. They could keep Melky around as a backup but that makes no sense with Damon, Matsui, Gardner, Nady AND Swisher on board — someone else would have to go.

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I was wrong, as Olney points out, Cabrera is starting CF based on his salary as long as he is with the team he will play. The only other option is that Cabrera could play RF.

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Cashman sounds pretty convincing but he had taken a similar stance before and then boom a trade.
It is still conceivable that we may trade away some pieces to bolster our farm system and/or shed payroll.

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And with that the blog is dead.
It makes sense though, we would have had to move players to sign players. Even if there was money to spend, there are no spots for new players.

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Sounds like a great night. I find it interesting that Cashman rated the Rays prospects so high.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com

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excellent info on ‘Crash’.. nice job, Bryan

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