Brian Cashman says a whole lot of nothing
New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said a lot recently and some of it made no sense. As quick as he is calling Alex Rodriguez washed up, he is telling the media a trade is unrealistic but would listen to offers, then following all that nonsense up with no solution on who would play third. Normally, his statements are well rehearsed, his responses crafty and calculated. Not this time.
During his most recent radio interview, Cashman said that Rodriguez was no longer a superstar, something most baseball fans are already aware of, but Yankees fans shouldn’t expect to see a trade, as that is unrealistic. He followed that statement up with the notion that he’d entertain any trade ideas presented to him.
Cashman went on, in this splendid interview, to rule out moving backup shortstop Eduardo Nunez to another position. Now before all of New York has flashbacks of his horrible fielding, think for a minute -exactly what do the Yankees plan on doing? Moving Nunez to third may not seem great today, but the kid can hit and after his stint in the minors in 2012, he did field better. Fielding can be taught, and he seems to be teachable. Nunez was also one of the few Yankees that hit in the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. When he stepped in for the injured Derek Jeter, he held his own, not only with the bat, but he seems to have a better arm than Jeter. There is hope in Nunez.
The funniest thing Cashman said during this recent radio interview was about how the team needs “to be very careful with multi-year deals as we approach 2014”. The constant referral to 2014 is one Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and Cashman have talked about often – the year the Yankees will get under the luxury tax. If the Yankees expect to pursue the gem of baseball, Josh Hamilton, this offseason, they have to get some, if not all, of Rodriguez’s salary off the books.
Cashman’s interview started as a how not to get rid of an aging, over paid, egotistical player and turned into how to turn the Yankees into the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wanting to not pay into the luxury tax is understandable, but unless Cashman and Steinbrenner want a riot on their hands in the Bronx, they better think real hard on this 2014 idea they have.
There is one superstar that will surely be coming looking for a lot more money and a long term deal soon. He is not just a player; he is the Yankees best player, Robinson Cano. He is not the only player looking to get a long term deal with the team, but he is the most important. If the Yankees are unable to resign him, they will slip into the cellar of the American League East as fast as the Boston Red Sox did in 2012.
If the Yankees most pressing issue right now is what to do with Rodriguez, which it seems to be, then telling other teams in the MLB that he is washed up doesn’t seem like the best move. Going on the radio, talking about the Yankees not looking to sign any more long-term contracts to get the payroll under for 2014 is funny coming from the man who inked Rodriguez to this incredibly long, very expensive deal.
When Cashman and the Rodriguez camp came up with this long deal, worth so much money with the most being at the back end, did Cashman not do the math and realize he would be paying an older Rodriguez millions as he was going into his 40’s? As much as there is supposed to be tradition and the Yankees battling for a title year in and year out, how does the Yankee hierarchy think this is at all possible without bringing in good players, or paying the ones you already have the money they deserve?
The Rodriguez contract was a mistake from the start with everything from his ego, to his relationship with, one of the greatest Yankees ever, Derek Jeter, to the biggest mistake of it all, how long the deal was and how much money the Yankees were tying up with one player for a decade.
One very bad contract should not have the Yankees wanting to run to the bottom of the AL East, they need to dust themselves off, realize they are the New York Yankees and find some players that can help this ball club win another championship. In “Yankee Land” it has been forever since the Yanks won a World Series, and with the core getting old and the farm system drained from all the “win now” moves, Cashman has no choice but to convince Steinbrenner to open up his wallet and not only pay the stars on the roster what they deserve, but go out and get some younger ones to replace those that are on their way out.
First things first, Cashman has to find a solution to the Rodriguez debacle and get out of it as cheap as he can, but telling the world and all of baseball the man is not very good anymore sure is not the selling point you would think he would utilize. Cashman is a smart guy and many of his ideas, if they were listened to in the past, may have put the Yankees in a better position, but they weren’t and the Yankees are up to their necks in money owed to aging, former stars.
Before any move, any thought of who to get this offseason, the team has to first figure out how the heck to get rid of Rodriguez and how to do it with the least amount of damage. By doing this, then the Yankees can start taking shots at some top free-agents, but Cashman, seriously think before you speak. All of New York wants Rodriguez gone as much as you seem to, but be smart, don’t admit to what every team in baseball already knows; Rodriguez is an overpaid, egotistical, pinch hitter. Come out and at least back the man your team paid so much for, even if you don’t believe what you are saying. Now is not the time to write an honest tell all book on a man that the team must dump in order to have the money to get the Yankees back to the World Series. There are players to build around and players that are signed for years to come, so zip it about Rodriguez, unless you’re telling a team all he can bring to them, because fans expect a winner in the Bronx and Rodriguez is not one, other than in his own head, so do what is necessary to get him a one way ticket out of town.