ESPNNewYork.com's Ian O'Connor wrote about how the New York Yankees have the ingredients to win the American League title this season. But Yankee GM Brian Cashman makes it clear that he believes everyone is trying to catch the Texas Rangers. Here's the beginning of O'Connor's column with a link to the rest of it:
NEW YORK -- High above the Yankee Stadium playing field, Brian Cashman was watching the big-screen TV mounted in his office, watching a kid he did not trade (David Phelps) try to outpitch a veteran he did not trade for (Ryan Dempster).
Cashman was sitting behind his desk, the TV on the wall to his left, a busy draft board on the wall straight ahead, the busier Bronx streets below the windows to his right, when he was asked if the New York Yankees or Texas Rangers represented the team to beat in the American League.
"Oh, Texas," the general manager said without blinking. "They're the two-time defending champs who just fell short in the World Series. They know how to turn it on, and until somebody takes them out in our league they're the team to beat and the team everyone else is gunning for."
The same team the Yankees would pound, 8-2, with young Phelps getting the victory and the not-so-young Dempster getting a beating he won't soon forget. Sure Cashman was a bit worried when the Rangers traded for the Cubs' right-hander. "Texas is better with him," he said, "and Dempster's a heck of a pitcher."
A heck of a pitcher the Yanks felt they didn't need.
"First, I had to match up with the Cubs," Cashman said. "And then I had to go see if Hal [Steinbrenner] would give the money, which I don't think he would have."