Results tagged ‘ Joe Torre ’

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.

Put it in the books

Torre.jpgJoe Torre’s book comes out today, with the former Yankees manager touring the tri-state area on a media blitz to promote “The Yankee Years.” We’ve all seen and heard so much about this book already, and I’m looking forward to finally getting a copy in my hands and reading it cover to cover to accurately judge it.

What about you? Is this the type of thing that you’ll pick up on the first day, or are you content to wait it out? I’ve seen on some of the blogs that diehard Yankees fans are vowing not to pay for the book, and plan to read it from their local libraries. Others still are sick of all this “he-said, he-said” stuff and are just ready to see the boys on the field in Tampa.

There’s something to be said for that, as I look out the window and see yet another coating of snow to be cleared from my car. But before we can get to sunny Florida, there are a few more hurdles – and one is the Torre book. Hey, it could be worse. We could be talking about medical waste in Brian McNamee’s basement.

I’ll be at the Barnes & Noble at 555 Fifth Ave. this afternoon at 12:30 p.m. to see what – if anything – the skipper has to say. Then later it’s off to Pleasantville (New York, not the movie) to check in with Brian Cashman. Busy day.

By the way, if you’re in the camp that won’t read Torre’s text — or you just want a refreshing change of pace — I have a suggestion for you.

Jane Heller was nice enough to send me a copy of her just-released book, “Confessions of a She-Fan,” and many of you would relate. It’s a look at the ’07 season through the eyes of an extremely passionate die-hard fan, the kind that live and die with every win and loss. Know anybody like that? 

Kicking off a busy week

I’m back after a four-day respite – thanks to Anthony DiComo for minding the store while I jetted down to Florida and New Orleans for a quick getaway.

With the Super Bowl in the books, this upcoming week is chock full of baseball events in and around the tri-state area. If you’re interested in telling Joe Torre what you think about his Yankees past, there are opportunities – if you want to hear Brian Cashman talk about the Yankees future, there’s that too.

Here’s a lineup card of what we’ll be looking out for:

Thurman Munson Awards Dinner
Honoring Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran and the ’69 Mets, to benefit AHRC-NYC.
Tuesday, Grand Hyatt New York, 7 p.m.

An Evening with Brian Cashman
Hosted by Ed Randall to benefit Bat for the Cure prostate cancer awareness.
Tuesday, Burns Film Center, Pleasantville, N.Y., 7 p.m.

Joe Torre book signings
Tuesday: Barnes & Noble, 555 Fifth Avenue, New York City, 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday: Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, Little Falls, N.J., 7 p.m.
Wednesday: Borders Books, 100 Broadway. New York City, 1 p.m.
Wednesday: Bookends, 232 East Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood, N.J., 7 p.m.

Anything interesting happening with the Yankees?

Oh, just another day in paradise. When people ask, “What do you do during the offseason?”, my response is almost always that the Yankees don’t have an offseason. Sometimes the winter is more intense than the summer.

The Yankees completed one important piece of business on Monday, signing Andy Pettitte to a one-year, $5.5 million contract with multiple incentive levels. Obviously this is a huge pay cut from the guaranteed $16 million Pettitte made in ’07 and ’08, but this was as high as the Yankees were going to go.

Pettitte knew that it was time to make a decision, and $5.5 million — with the chance to make up to $12 million in incentives — sure beats $0 for sitting at home. With the addition of Pettitte to the 40-man roster, Chase Wright was designated for assignment.

One other tidbit: Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Hideki Matsui are all on track for now.

Now, on to the Joe Torre business, which is sending us all back in our own little time machines. Someone was asking me about my taxes and I actually slipped up and wrote the wrong year … and not even that usual January mistake, I fouled up two years. Seems like this book has us more focused on the ’07 Yankees than the current version.

A-Rod is supposedly laughing off the ‘A-Fraud’ stuff — and look, if you didn’t already know that Alex had some difficulty keeping a low profile, you weren’t paying attention. Some things haven’t changed — by the way, has anyone heard anything about Madonna lately?

Brian Cashman thinks the Yankees might rally around each other as a result of this latest controversy. Hey, you know this team. If it wasn’t this going into the spring, it’d probably be something else.

I want to reserve judgment on this book until I actually hold it in my hands, and based on what I’ve pieced together from excerpts floating around the Internet, that seems like the proper course of action. It seems that there will be a lot more context to base the most salacious parts on when ‘The Yankee Years’ is consumed in its entirety. 

Torre sounds off on Yankees

feather.jpgJoe Torre has some less-than-complimentary things to say about the Yankees in his upcoming book, ‘The Yankee Years,’ for which he collaborates with Tom Verducci.

As you’d imagine, the tabloids are having a field day with some of the leaked text:

New York Post: In an explosive new book called “The Yankee Years,” Torre gets most personal in his attacks against Alex Rodriguez, who he says was called “A-Fraud” by his teammates after he developed a “Single White Female”-like obsession with team captain Derek Jeter and asked for a personal clubhouse assistant to run errands for him.

New York Daily News: In “The Yankee Years,” due to be released on Feb. 3, Torre describes
general manager Brian Cashman as a less than supportive ally who
betrayed him on several fronts, and says that his star player, Alex
Rodriguez, was often referred to by his teammates as “A-Fraud” and was
obsessed with his perceived rival, shortstop Derek Jeter.

It’s only fair to note that the book also recounts the good times too. Here’s what Random House notes in a brief summary posted on their Web site:

“The Yankee Years chronicles the amazing stories
on the diamond. The stirring comeback in the 1996 World Series against
the heavily favored Braves. The wonder of 1998, when Torre led the
Yanks to the most wins in Major League history. The draining and
emotional drama of the 2001 World Series. The incredible twists and
turns of the epic Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship
Series against the Red Sox, in which two teams who truly despised each
other battled pitch by pitch until the stunning extra-inning home run.

So we’ll reserve judgment until we see the complete book, but certainly some of Torre’s claims will create a ripple effect through the organization. Do some of these comments change how you view Torre?

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