Cashman gets three years and changes begin for Yankees
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, OCTOBER 11- Brian Cashman obviously was not at fault for the New York Yankees failure of not making the postseason a second consecutive year. Instead the team announced Friday that their GM has a new three-year contract but the hitting and third base coaches have been dismissed.
Mick Kelleher and hitting coach Kevin Long were dismissed, though in the end it was the failure of an expected and high paid offense that did not produce. Cashman made some mid season adjustments to keep the Yankees competitive in a tight race for the second American League wild card, but they won fewer games, (84) than they did the previous year.
So why did the Yankees grant Cashman another three years, after $438 million of spending went to not seeing baseball being played again in the Bronx this month? Cashman has helped build the Yankees to 14 post season appearances in 16 years.
Simple: Cashman does not take the field. A combination of injuries and expectations of a roster not producing will eventually lead to failure, and the Yankees were once again an example of spending and expectations, but you have to play out the entire 162-game schedule.
As for Long and Kelleher, they became the victims because baseball is a game where changes are made when expectations and hopes do not come to fruition. And as much as there has been a call from fans to dismiss manager Joe Girardi, he did the impossible.
Under the circumstances, and trying to find a solution, Girardi often adjusted the lineup and used reinforcements that Cashman acquired. The results were the same resulting in a fourth place finish and one of the lowest scoring teams in the league.
“Nick Kelleher was not responsible,” Cashman explained to reporters late Thursday afternoon in a media conference call. And perhaps neither was Long responsible, who did his best to help a struggling lineup make adjustments.
On the dismissal of Long, Cashman said: “He tried everything in his power by his own assessment…. I know he publicly stated late in the year that he tried everything. The effort was sufficient, the results weren’t. We had higher hopes for the offense.”
Cashman added that a bone spur injury to Carlos Beltran to his right elbow was a serious blow for the entire team. And it was, as Beltran missed a significant amount of games and had surgery to remove the spur two days after the season concluded.
But Cashman, responding to a question did say, “Changing staff has to come to an expense.” So with the season about two weeks over, and with Cashman settled in again for a 17th year in his chair, the coaching changes are the beginning of what is expected to be an off season of activity.
That includes filling a void at shortstop for the retired and certain first ballot Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, and what to do with the return of Alex Rodriguez who becomes active upon completion of the World Series after sitting out a season long suspension from violating a strict baseball anti steroid policy.
The Yankee are expected to have Rodriguez when players report to Tampa, Florida in mid February and begin the first of what is hoped to be a productive three remaining years of that lucrative 10-year $275 million contract.
On the return of his 14-time all-star who played a role with the Yankees’ 2009 championship team, Cashman said there will be “contingency plans” in the event he is not up to par. Rodriguez, will turn 40 in July and will be the center of attention with the void of Jeter,and there is concern about his mobility manning third base especially being out a year and having surgery to both of his hips.
Cashman may look at free agent options, go with someone on the roster, or use a player in the Yankees under manned minor league system. Regardless, Rodriguez is expected in the lineup at third or in the designated hitter spot.
“Third base, safe to say we have some contingencies in place with Alex,” said Cashman when asked about the health and age of Rodriguez.
There is also the acquisition of Martin Prado, acquired in mid season who can play the position and was the Yankees most potent hitter down the stretch before going on the disabled list with appendicitis.
“I don’t know what to expect because he, (Rodriguez) missed a full year though he brings dedication and competes,” said Cashman. “Any alternatives for contingency purposes remain to be seen. We have to pursue all options… Just need to make sure I have the protection to provide alternatives to pursue third base options.”
Pitching was not the issue of failures. If there was anything about the 2014 Yankees it was how Cashman and Girardi were able to get good performances from a makeship staff that replaced four of five starters that were on the disabled list.
Cashman is hoping CC Sabathia can fully recover from a knee procedure, and that the seven-year investment in Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will be healthy to pitch an entire season, not having to be concerned about Tanaka needing Tommy John surgery.
He did hint there is reason to upgrade in the pitching department, whether it be free agency or from within.
The process of re-signing David Robertson who in his opinion, “Graduated with honors” and is a “bonafide closer,” is also an immediate priority. The obvious reference that his 39 saves this past season was not an easy task in filling the shoes of the all-time saves leader.
The GM concluded that this offseason will be no different from the last 16. “In this chair every winter has it’s challenges. I’m responsible for it all, offense, defense.”
And most of all that challenge is for the fan base.
Because no matter what Cashman does, the Yankees not playing baseball in October is unacceptable to the fans, and of course his bosses that gave him another three years.
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Saturday, October 11, 2014
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Work to do for Next Season
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, OCTOBER 1- Two days after the New York Yankees
completed an 85-77 season, their worst since 1992, Brian Cashman the
general manager said it the best way he could. It was rough, and there
are many uncertainties with the roster and does manager Joe Girardi
return for another season?
As of now, Girardi is still the manager and it appears he will be
offered an option to return for the 2014 season. Meetings with the
agent for Girardi are scheduled to begin Wednesday, and as Cashman
said at a noon press conference Tuesday, “We will provide a time frame
as to how it is going.”
Time frames and decisions will keep Cashman busy this off season. The
Yankees, for the second time in 19-years, are not playing baseball in
October and a discussion regarding next season in the press conference
room at Yankee Stadium to say the least is very rare this time of
There is the immediate matter of resolving what Girardi wants to do,
the Alex Rodriguez possible suspension, the pitching staff, and of
course an infield that may not see much more of Derek Jeter at
shortstop. And after the conclusion of the World Series, second
baseman Robinson Cano is a free agent and the Yankees may not be able
to afford him.
Those are just a few of the many issues Cashman has ahead, always with
the goal of getting the Yankees back to the post season.
“We got derailed this year by decision making as well as injures,” he
said. Cashman did say, Cano could be the first Dominican born player
with Yankee homegrown roots to have a plaque placed in Moument Park at
Yankee Stadium. However, Cano, and his new profiled agents, are
looking to make the second baseman the richest player in the game.
And the question, how do the Yankees get under next year’s $189
million luxury tax threshold? If the A-Rod suspension, currently under
appeal for violating baseball’s anti drug policies, goes through, that
threshold question becomes easier.
The Yankees would not have to pay Rodriguez another $25 or 30- million
if he sits out a full season, and if the appeal is not favorable, the
high powered legal team that A-Rod has will plead a case to the
Federal courts. If that is the situation, A-Rod would probably be
permitted to play baseball in 2014.
But that is one of the many significant issues Cashman has at hand. He
would like to see Girardi return for a seventh season. Through all the
injuries, and roster moves, Girardi guided the Yankees until the final
days of the season for one of two Al wild card post season spots.
That did not happen, though Cashman would not say it directly, that it
was not acceptable, he did admit not playing in October clearly is his
responsibility as the GM.
“We’ve been fortunate for a long time to avoid what happened to us
this year,” he said about the injuries to Jeter, Curtis Granderson,
Mark Teixeira, the uncertainty of A-Rod and the Yankees having to use
56 different players, 27 on and off the disabled list.
Cashman added, “What happened this year derailed other clubs,”
referring to the Braves of 1996, a team the Yankees defeated in the
World Series without David Justice. “I take full responsibility what
happened, I am the general manager,” he said about the Yankees fourth
place finish in the standings.
As for Rodriguez, Cashman said until otherwise known, he expects the
third baseman to be ready for spring training in mid- February. “I
operate under the assumption A-Rod will be here.”
When asked about the possibility of A-Rod not being available, or what
players the Yankees may pursue via trade or on the free agent market,
the GM said, “I don’t know what is available what is on the trade
market yet. “That may include other options regarding the playing time
The Yankees captain had two stints on the disabled list, was limited
to running on the bases, and there is every chance 2014 will be his
last season. Cashman said Jeter could be in the lineup everyday or be
placed in the designated hitter role, all depending on his health and
how the surgically repaired left ankle is.
“The left side of the infield is a priority,” he said about the
uncertainty of Jeter and Rodriguez, “Also at second base, questions
that have to be answered,” referring to the contract status of Cano.
He hopes Teixeira at first base is not a position to be concerned
with. ‘’His injury he should be fine and ready to go to spring
training,” commenting about the surgery to the left wrist. Cashman
also speculated there may be a need for right handed hitters.
On Ichiro, “He’s a great athlete. When he’s on base he obviously
changes the game for you.” The outfielder who will be 40-years of age
may not return after achieving 4,000 hits this season combined from
his playing days in Japan. “Don’t know yet. Depends on the situation,”
So the production of home runs was down, and increased when Alfonso
Soriano was reacquired by Cashman. The Yankees played small ball and
scored less runs. But in the end, it comes down to pitching and
Cashman has to address the future of free agent Hiroki Kuroda who did
not win a game in September, after a successful first half.
And does Michael Pineda finally throw a pitch after a 13-month rehab
assignment? Is CC Sabathia the ace? That, according to Cashman depends
on his health, the velocity of a fastball that diminished, and
avoiding the home run ball.
“Hope his numbers, are identical to the past,” said Cashman. “We
think he can pitch towards that front end. The performance will speak
Yes, Yankee Stadium is dark this October. However, the meetings have
started. This is not acceptable, not playing baseball this time of
year. And there will be every effort to make it better because the
Yankees have that fan base.
And Cashman knows also, empty seats at the big stadium in the Bronx
will not look good.
Comment Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com