Results tagged ‘ Ian Kennedy ’

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.

Are the Yankees done?

telephone.jpgBrian Cashman may be on vacation this week, but Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Yankees aren’t done yet. At, he wonders if they’ll make a few serious calls about Ben Sheets and/or Juan Cruz before all is said and done.

The Yankees did kick the tires on Sheets back at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, but Sheets has had trouble finding a club willing to take a chance after he experienced injury problems late last year.

With the Andy Pettitte standoff dragging on and his chances apparently dwindling by the day, Sheets represents another choice should the Yankees really not be comfortable with selecting their fifth starter out of the group of Phil Hughes, Alfredo Aceves, Ian Kennedy and Phil Coke.

Cruz would be an addition to a back end of the bullpen, and a welcome one to those who have their doubts about Damaso Marte and Brian Bruney setting up. The rest of the relief corps is certainly amenable to an upgrade, with contenders like Edwar Ramirez and Jose Veras not promised anything heading into the spring.

The Yankees keep it quiet

Before the game, the Yankees had very little to say about Phil Hughes’ status, and during the game, their bats went similarly silent after the first inning.

Let’s focus on pre-game. The Yankees’ blanket statements before the game regarding Phil Hughes were contentious at their worst, as Joe Girardi’s session grew ugly. Several times, Girardi said that Hughes was “is in the rotation right now,” and when pressed and asked if Hughes was expected to make his next turn, Girardi said, “That’s the plan. There’s no one else here.” At one point, he said, “I don’t want to get irritated, but do you want me to tell you when I’m hitting and running too?”

No, but it’d be nice to know for sure who is pitching on Sunday. The plan changed at around 6:30 p.m. ET, when Hughes was examined by Dr. Stuart Hershon and found to have a strained right oblique. The severity of the injury, only Hughes and the Yankees really know for sure (they’re calling it “mild”), but in the short-term this knocks Hughes out of the rotation for a while. Darrell Rasner will be on the way up to take Sunday’s start instead.

Hughes probably was going to need to go to Triple-A anyway to work things out, and maybe this saves him some face in that he isn’t being demoted per se, but instead headed down on a rehab assignment. Either way, the early results — for both Hughes and the Yankees – have not been particularly good. Ian Kennedy gets to try and make May a better month tonight.

The Moose is Loose

Jamie Moyer? Mike Mussina thinks not. The Moose was loose for seven sharp innings on Wednesday, limiting the White Sox to just two solo home runs in the Yankees’ 6-4 victory. Mussina showed the ability to make adjustments, abandoning his curveball and throwing more running two-seamers with sink. Hey, forget Moyer – he’s Chien-Ming Wang!

In all seriousness, Mussina should be savoring these as he goes along. He can still pitch when everything’s clicking, like it was in Chicago. He’s going to have days rougher than Wednesday, too, and fans need to be prepared for that. But the Yankees are looking to Mussina to be their third starter, not an ace, and by reshuffling their rotation they’ll be able to avoid mismatches like the Mussina vs. Josh Beckett debacle at Fenway.

In other news…

Phil Hughes says his velocity is just fine – note to fans, stop waiting for the 95 mph-plus heaters to pop in. He’s not Joba Chamberlain. Hughes himself said he only hit 95 mph three times in 2006 at Trenton, when he went over the radar gun readings after every start. … Anyone else see what Darrell Rasner is up to lately? He’s only leading the International League in ERA. Ian Kennedy, be warned. … The buried David Ortiz jersey went for $175,000. Wonder if the construction worker would like to have it back? … If you had Ella Alexander Rodriguez in the ‘Name A-Rod’s Baby’ pool, congratulations — you’ve won. 

Weekend over — on to Chicago

Now that the Yankees are out of Baltimore, dropping two out of three before Andy Pettitte stopped the bleeding on Sunday — and isn’t that a familiar theme? — it’s time for Joe Girardi to re-evaluate a little.

I’m still not of the belief that Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy should be dropped from the rotation, as some are saying, but it’s clear that they’re not ready for prime time as currently comprised. You knew that at 21 and 23, respectively, they were going to struggle, but the hope must have been that they both wouldn’t at the same time and for an extended period. That’s why you saw the move they made, separating Hughes and Kennedy in the rotation to help save the bullpen.

Girardi believes there are still positive signs to be taken from the first few weeks but the key right now is for both of these guys to have confidence in their stuff and attack hitters without nibbling around the zone. It really does sound so easy when you’re not standing 60 feet and six inches from a proven big league hitter. Once you’re there, though, it’s a whole different story.  The sooner Hughes and Kennedy can both make the adjustments, the better off they’ll be.

As far as Alex Rodriguez’s injury, you just have to hope for the best. He had a strained hamstring last year that most people expected would become a DL stint and derail his MVP year. It turned out to just be a blip on the radar. Then again, even Derek Jeter missed six games with a quadriceps injury so you know it’s going to at least be a little bit of time.

Bad timing, especially with the offense beginning to warm up. In case you didn’t notice, I had the weekend [relatively] off up here in the tri-state area (got to hit Murray Hill on Friday; hiking in Harriman on Saturday. Variety.). I’m flying out to the Windy City on Monday and will be with the team in Chicago and Cleveland. Big trip ahead — time to pack.

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