New York Yankees: Brian Cashman

Cashman: CC, Pineda still 'a ways away'

June, 16, 2014
Jun 16
CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda are still “a ways away” from returning to the mound, but New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman doesn’t see any options on the trade market to replace the two starters at the moment.

“Ultimately we’re always looking to improve our club. ... If anything ever presents itself we'll take a look at it, but as of right now the best we have and the best options we have are on our 25-man roster, at this point,” Cashman said Monday at the Yankees’ HOPE Week event at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum to recognize past honorees. “Obviously, we have varies of need on both ends [pitching and hitting], to be honest. So we'll just focus on trying to improve the club in small amounts or big amounts depending on what presents itself as realistic options. Realistic, meaning options that are attainable.”

The Yankees’ biggest need is probably with the pitching staff at this point.

Sabathia has been out with a knee injury. He was placed on the disabled list on May 11. Cashman said Monday that he has started tossing lightly on flat ground. Pineda will be shut down for seven more days before he begins throwing.

Pineda suffered a muscle strain on April 28. Yankees manager Joe Girardi recently said that Sabathia isn’t expected back until after the All-Star break and Pineda isn’t due back until August.

“We’re both looking at a ways away for both of those guys still,” Cashman said. “We look forward to getting them back and we anticipate getting them back but unfortunately it’s not on the horizon right now.”

The Yankees have also lost Ivan Nova for the season. Cashman said the most likely replacement in the rotation at this point is reliever Adam Warren. He intimated that the Yankees were unlikely to look to pitchers at the Triple-A level but didn’t rule out pursuing arm help on the trade market.

“You’re in a time frame now that within the game anything can happen with any team trade wise,” Cashman said.

Francisco on the way up: Cashman confirmed that catcher Francisco Cervelli (strained hamstring) will be activated Tuesday. Cervelli has been on the disabled list since April 13.

Catcher John Ryan Murphy will likely be sent down to make room for Cervelli.

“John Ryan Muphy's been great. He's done a tremendous job,” Cashman said. “We planned on him having a full development year at Triple-A for us, but Cervelli’s injury opened up the opportunity for him to come on up and we've benefited.”

But the GM added: “I don't have much interest in carrying three catchers.”

Bringing Hope: The Yankees kicked off their annual Hope Week on Monday. They will honor different community groups throughout the week. The Yankees recognized past honorees of Hope Week at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on Monday. Cashman, Mariano Rivera, Ivan Nova and David Cone were on hand.

“It really shines a light on some special things that are happening around this country. It's been impactful,” Cashman said. “It slows the world down a little bit and makes us realize what is around us.”
GirardiJerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsJoe Girardi's roster is taking form, but all of his pieces aren't in place just yet.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- There are about twice as many days left in spring training -- nine -- as there are roster decisions left for Joe Girardi to make.

And every last one of them concerns his pitching staff. He has one call to make in his starting rotation -- and probably four in his bullpen. And that's it.

His outfield is full -- Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Ichiro Suzuki, Alfonso Soriano and Jacoby Ellsbury are set.

Same goes for his infield: Derek Jeter, Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts and Mark Teixeira, backed up by Brendan Ryan, and Eduardo Nunez. Brian McCann is the catcher, and barring a trade, Francisco Cervelli is the backup.

[+] EnlargeDavid Phelps
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsDavid Phelps' versatility may keep him out of the starting rotation.
That leaves room for 12 pitchers, seven of whom are guaranteed jobs: CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova, David Robertson, Shawn Kelley and Matt Thornton.

The competition concerns for those last five spots, one in the starting rotation and four in the bullpen.

And the outcome of those competitions may go a long way toward determining whether the $438 million investment the Yankees made in new players this winter brings success or disappointment.

I am assuming that last rotation spot is going to Michael Pineda, despite David Phelps' solid performance -- six innings, four hits, two earned runs -- against the Red Sox on Thursday night. Pineda simply has a higher ceiling -- he was projected as a front of the rotation starter when the Yankees traded for him before shoulder surgery -- and unfortunately for Phelps, he is viewed by the organization as a guy who can work equally well as a starter or out of the bullpen. He suffers from the curse of versatility.

So most of Girardi's, and Brian Cashman's, work is done here. It is only the bullpen where there are still pieces to be shuffled and decisions to be made.

We know two things for sure: ninth innings will be very different, and David Robertson will pitch them.

Everything else is up for grabs.

The Yankees have hopes that Kelley, a strikeout pitcher, will be able to move into Robertson's old job as the setup man. But as Girardi said before Thursday's game, he probably is headed into the regular season without a dedicated eighth-inning guy, and he's hoping someone will pitch his way into the role over the early weeks of the season.

The Yankees signed Thornton to fill the role vacated when Boone Logan left as a free agent, but he has not had a good spring and it is unclear whether Girardi trusts him enough to use him against right-handed hitters, although his career splits are about the same against righties and lefties.

Dellin Betances has successfully reinvented himself as a reliever and has an excellent shot to make the club as a situational righty coming off a spring in which he has so far given up only one run and four hits over 9-2/3 innings, striking out eight and walking four. So, too, has Cesar Cabral, another lefty who has thrown eight scoreless innings and given up only two hits. He, too, would be a situational reliever generally brought in to face a single lefty.

Either Phelps or Adam Warren, and quite possibly both, will make the team as relievers, with Warren probably filling the role he did last year as the long man. An interesting possibility is that Vidal Nuno, a close also-ran in the No. 5 starter competition, will be brought north in place of Cabral because of his ability to retire both righties and lefties. But it is just as likely he will be sent down to Triple-A to keep him stretched out in the event the Yankees need an emergency starter.

If I had to make a call right now, I'd say the starting rotation will be Sabathia, Kuroda, Tanaka, Nova and Pineda, with Robertson, Kelley, Thornton, Betances, Phelps, Warren and Nuno in the bullpen.

But there are still nine days to go, and eight games left to play. A lot of things can change in that time, and a lot of decisions that had seemed like no-brainers a week earlier can become mind-benders as Opening Day approaches.

Yes, it seems as if fewer decisions face Girardi and Cashman as spring training draws to a close this year. But the ones that remain, minor so they may seem, could play a major role in the success or failure of the 2014 Yankees.

Cashman: No help for Yanks at deadline

July, 31, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- Help is not on the way.

The New York Yankees, who have dropped to just four games above .500 and 8 1/2 games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East, were unable to complete a deal by the conclusion of Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline, meaning they are likely to play out the remainder of the 2013 season with the players already on their aging and injury-depleted roster.

"We’ll have to contend with what we have right now unless we find ways to improve it," Cashman said on a conference call with Yankee beat writers Wednesday afternoon. "It wasn’t a deep market at all, and obviously what I was offering wasn’t enough."

Instead, Cashman said, the Yankees would attempt to piece together a competitive roster with the expected return of centerfielder Curtis Granderson, perhaps as early as Friday night, and the possible return of Kevin Youkilis, who is recovering from back surgery but could return in late September. Alex Rodriguez's status is, of course, uncertain.

"Once we get all of these guys back, we certainly will be a team that has a chance to take a run at this thing," Cashman said.

As the 4 p.m. ET deadline approached, there were reports that Philadelphia Phillies infielder Michael Young, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, had agreed to allow a trade to the Yankees and that the two teams were talking.

But it did not come together, and Cashman would not provide specifics about any potential trades.

"We had a lot of conversations with a lot of organizations," Cashman said. "But we didn’t get anything that would lead us to deal."

Cashman did say the Yankees might revisit the possibility of acquiring some of the players they had been interested in throughout August, when players will be required to clear waivers before they can be traded.

In the meantime, Cashman pointed to the Yankees' recent acquisition of Alfonso Soriano as "the big bat we got," and to the expected return of Granderson, who hit 84 home runs in his previous two seasons with the Yankees, to provide a lift to his struggling offense.

As for Rodriguez, he is scheduled for a simulated game in Tampa on Thursday, but after that, his future is decidedly unsettled; he is widely expected to be suspended, and perhaps even facing a lifetime ban, when baseball announces it discipline for players involved with Biogenesis, an announcement that could come at any time.

Cashman refused comment on any question regarding MLB’s pending actions regarding A-Rod, and when asked if he was frustrated by his inability to improve the Yankees through a trade, said, "Not at all. You can’t push for something that isn’t there."

And clearly, the Yankees' GM seemed to be focusing on the possibility that the Yankees could rally to attain the second AL Wild Card berth; they are currently 3 1/2 games out and behind three other teams for that spot.

"I didn’t say we couldn’t win the division, but you have to walk before you can run," Cashman said.

And in addition to his failure to complete a deal, Cashman offered one more nugget of bad news -- Francisco Cervelli, who was expected to be the Yankees’ starting catcher after an excellent spring training, is now unlikely to play again this season due to lingering pain in his broken right thumb, as well as soreness in his throwing elbow.

Cervelli will be examined by Dr. James Andrews for the problem in his elbow, which cropped up during his rehab from the broken finger, suffered on a foul tip back in April.

"None of this information is positive," Cashman said of Cervelli. "We’re running out of time and it’s looking like he’s done for the year."

You might say the same about the Yankees.

Cashman to A-Rod: File a grievance

July, 27, 2013
NEW YORK -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman spent much of his pregame press conference no-commenting on questions about Alex Rodriguez, but in defending the Yankees' team doctors Cashman dared A-Rod to file a grievance.

“The MRI is the MRI,” Cashman said. “It's fact. You can’t change the results of an MRI. So we’re very comfortable with it, and if anybody wants to utilize the process in place with the union, go right ahead. It’s not something we’re afraid of.”

He added: "We have a great medical staff so I can just tell you that. There have been no missteps."

Wallace Matthews and I reported on this Thursday in this news story:

Rodriguez did speak with team president Randy Levine late Tuesday night, has learned. Rodriguez, according to sources with knowledge of the conversation, told Levine that he did not trust the Yankees' team doctor, Chris Ahmad. ...

The bad feelings between Rodriguez and the Yankees over his injuries date back to this past October. Rodriguez thinks Ahmad should have found his hip injury during the playoffs. Rodriguez struggled in the postseason, going 3-for-25 with no extra-base hits and 12 strikeouts, which eventually led to his being benched and pinch hit for during the American League Division Series and Championship Series.

It turned out that Rodriguez had a serious hip injury. A source said Rodriguez told the team during the playoffs that he never felt better and mentioned a problem with his hip only after he was pinch hit for the first time in the ALDS.

The source said Rodriguez was examined by his original hip doctor, Marc Philippon, who also found no injury in the right hip.

"He blames Dr. Ahmad for missing his hip injury? He missed his own hip injury," a Yankees official said.

It turned out that Rodriguez, who previously had surgery on his right hip, needed an operation on his left hip.

Rodriguez said on WFAN Thursday he did not know he could file a grievance through the union.

Cashman looking for bats at trade deadline

July, 12, 2013
NEW YORK -- With Ivan Nova's emergence over the past two weeks, the Yankees will have six quality starting pitchers on their roster once David Phelps returns from the disabled list.

With that abundance of arms, and a current lack of offense, the Yankees could potentially dangle a starter in hope of swapping an arm for a bat.

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said "we'll see" when asked Friday about the possibility of using the pitching depth to make a move.

"You need the excess pitching and it's nice to have the excess pitching. We'll see," Cashman told "[We'll] stay engaged with the clubs and if anything makes sense we'll have to evaluate it."

Cashman reiterated that the Yankees are in search of offense, not arms, as the July 31 deadline inches closer. He did add that he's not sure if the Yankees will be able to find anything better than players on their disabled list, which includes third baseman Alex Rodriguez and left fielder Curtis Granderson.

The GM expressed confidence in his pitching staff, which has been boosted lately by the revival of Nova. After struggling to start the year, and being sent down to the Triple-A, Nova is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in his four appearances since returning, and has given up just three earned runs over his past 17 innings.

"It's been great. Obviously sending him out was a good move," Cashman said. "We sent him down to let him press the reset button and he worked on some things with Gil Patterson and he's come back a monster. He's got great stuff."

As Nova has blossomed, veteran Andy Pettitte has been struggling lately, as he has given up at least four runs in seven of his last eight stars. In his last two, he's yielded a combined 17 hits and eight runs in 12 1/3 innings. Cashman isn't concerned about the veteran southpaw.

"I think guys struggling for a period of time is not something unusual in a 162-game season," Cashman said. "He's healthy, he knows how to pitch and he's been there for us. I don't have any worry with that."

While the Yankees usually find themselves near the top of the division near the All-Star break, they currently are in the fourth place in the AL East, six games out of division lead, as well as 2 1/2 games out of the Wild Card. Cashman said that doesn't change how he works at the trade deadline.

"Last week we were in the playoffs," Cashman said. "This week we're 2 1/2 games out."

Cashman: DL is possible for Jeter

March, 20, 2013

Brian Cashman said Derek Jeter has taken a cortisone shot for his "cranky" left ankle, and the Yankees' GM could not rule out that Jeter might land on the DL to begin the season.

"At this stage, I just don't know, so all I can do is acknowledge it's a possibility," Cashman said when asked if Jeter might miss Opening Day.

Jeter is not in camp on Wednesday.

If Jeter can't start on April Fool's Day, then Eduardo Nuñez, Jayson Nix or possibly someone from outside the organization would be the favorites to play short.

We looked into Nuñez's potential this morning.

Olney: How will Yanks replace Tex?

March, 7, 2013
A team that will live in infirmaryJoe Petruccio for
Yankees officials know from experience that's it's within the realm of possibility that Mark Teixeira could be back and banging balls into the upper deck by late spring, or that his wrist problem could essentially wash out his season. Everything else can be working great for a hitter, but if there's a problem with the wrists or hands, that's a game-changer. Michael Bourn was a candidate for a top-10 MVP vote in the first half of the 2012 season, hitting .311, and in the second half, he batted .225, while fighting through a wrist injury.

But for planning purposes, the Yankees cannot worry about that. They listen to the projections from their doctors, and the timeline that has been presented to them is that Curtis Granderson will be back sometime early in the season, after a month, and Teixeira will be back soon after that. Given that information, they almost certainly won't go out and make some hyper-aggressive move; they're much more likely to scan the list of guys who are losing job battles in other camps, players who are cut free.

As they do their due diligence, they might at least talk about someone like a Scott Rolen. Don Kelly could be a fit (total speculation), if he doesn't win a spot with the Detroit Tigers. Maybe Russ Canzler, one of the kings of the waiver wire in the winter and was claimed and then lost by the Yankees in the offseason, will pass through again (although he put on a show for the Orioles Wednesday.

There are some silver linings for the Yankees. Buster has them right here, along with more links and possibilities (Insider)

First Pitch: Damon would be good ... in '09

February, 27, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. -- Was Johnny Damon in his prime a better player than Matt Diaz or Juan Rivera?


[+] EnlargeJohnny Damon
Eric P. Mull/USA Today SportsJohnny Damon is no longer an everyday outfielder.
Is Damon, who turned 39 in November, anywhere near his prime now?

Absolutely not.

I understand there is sentiment for bringing Damon back on a temporary basis to fill the gap created when Curtis Granderson went down with a broken arm on Sunday. But is is based in nostalgia and preserved in amber.

In other words, it ain't real. In baseball terms, the Caveman is a fossil.

Diaz and Rivera may not be the answer to what the Yankees need to get them from Opening Day to Cinco de Mayo, the projected date of Granderson's return.

But Damon is definitely not.

That's because what the Yankees need is not another left-handed hitter, nor another DH. They're already overloaded with both.

What they need is an everyday outfielder, and Damon has not fit that description since 2009, his last year with the Yankees. He had a great World Series that year and they still let him go, because they could see which way his career was trending.

Four years later, Damon has only gotten older, not better. His .222 batting average and .281 on-base percentage in 64 games with the Indians last season is more indicative of the player Damon is now. In August, the Indians gave him his walking papers.

To think the Yankees should pick him up, dust him off and expect him to turn the clock back four years, even for just five weeks, is not just unrealistic.

It is fantasy.

UP NOW: My news story on what Cashman said about signing Damon and another one on Joba Chamberlain's unscratchable itch. Plus, a blog on Tuesday's loss to the Phillies in Clearwater.

COMING SOON: Players Association meeting in the clubhouse sets everything back an hour or two today, but there is a game against the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. at The Boss. Here's the lineup. You can catch it on YES. The clubhouse will open after the pregame workout at around 11:30 or so, but no Morning Joe today because the manager won't speak until after the game. I'll have live updates via my Twitter feed, @ESPNNYYankees, so check in all day and as always, thanks for reading.

Cash reiterates A-Rod might miss season

January, 25, 2013
Yankees GM Brian Cashman did an interview on WFAN Friday during which he said there is "a chance" Alex Rodriguez could miss the entire 2013 season.

Just like he did on Jan. 8 in this story.

Almost three weeks ago, prior to A-Rod's hip surgery, in a blog item titled "Will we see A-Rod this year?" we asked Cashman if A-Rod could miss the whole season.

“There is always a chance,” Cashman said. “We are told he should be back. Is there a chance that things don’t go as well? There is always a chance. Until after surgery you won’t know. We have been told he will be back. There are always risks associated with surgery, regardless.”

Cashman has not changed his stance. The Yankees think (hope?) A-Rod will return after the All-Star break, but there are no guarantees. Internally, they have to believe whatever he provides is just a bonus after two major hip surgeries.

QUESTION: Do you think A-Rod will be back this year?

Cash: Yankees still shopping

January, 17, 2013
A month from today, Yankees regulars are scheduled to report to spring training in Tampa. And as of now, they still don’t have a right-handed hitting outfielder.

“I know it’s getting late, but we’re still looking," GM Brian Cashman told on Thursday. “We’re open for business, but we’re not going to do something just to do something. If we have to, we’ll go to Tampa with what we’ve got."

Right now, that means three left-handed hitters in their starting outfield -- Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki -- and no DHs, with the departures of Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones.

And, not a lot of options left.

The Yankees had expressed an interest in Michael Morse, but never even got a callback from the Washington Nationals. Justin Upton, who is being shopped by the Arizona Diamondbacks, has them on his no-trade list, but according to a source, that is not really an obstacle.

The real problem is that the Diamondbacks perused the menu of what the Yankees have to offer and saw nothing they wanted.

So now, it seems like Scott Hairston, the 32-year-old journeyman who had a career season for the Mets last year, could be the only choice and all indications are that he would rather play just about anywhere but in the Bronx, if only because the Yankees can’t promise him an everyday gig. Hairston’s agent, Casey Close, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The outfield situation obscures what has been an otherwise productive post-season for Cashman and the Yankees. They re-signed Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte to reasonable one-year deals to bolster the starting rotation. They avoided an arbitration battle with Phil Hughes, who shared the team lead in wins (16) with Kuroda last year.

And no matter how much antipathy you have for Kevin Youkilis, it’s hard to argue with Cashman’s assertion that he was the best available option as a fill-in third baseman while the Yankees wait for Alex Rodriguez to return from hip surgery.

And yet there are holes in this roster, created in part by the Hal Steinbrenner-imposed $189 million payroll ceiling for 2014, and in part because there really hasn’t been a lot out there this winter.

I proposed the following scenario to Cashman: Let’s say the Yankees add no more parts between now and the start of the season, and the Boston Red Sox start Jon Lester, a lefty, at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day.

Who’s the DH?

The names he gave me were Russ Canzler, Matt Diaz, Eduardo Nunez or perhaps Youkilis if Nunez -- gasp! -- plays third base.

Canzler and Diaz are non-roster invites who were signed to minor-league deals this spring. Nunez, of course, is NunEEEE, who played shortstop in the Dominican Winter League and hit a disappointing .275 with no homers and just 4 RBIs.

The loss of Morse may not be as big a deal as it seems; he will be 31 in a month, has a long injury history (knee and shoulder surgery in the past and missed the first two months of last season with a back issue), is a subpar defensive outfielder and has been suspended three times for steroid use, twice in the minors and once in 2005 in his first go-round with the Mariners.

But the fact that the Yankees apparently have little chance to snag Upton or Hairston leaves them with very limited prospects for upgrading the one glaring hole in their roster between now and Opening Day.

“Hey, we’ve got between now and July 31 to get something done,’’ Cashman said. “I’m sure something will develop. It always does.’’

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What if nothing turns up? Can you live with the Yankees' roster as it is?

In 2013, time is not on the Yankees' side

January, 2, 2013
The Yankees are no longer the dominant team of this or any offseason, ceding that title to Los Angeles' two clubs, while losing their own free agents to places like Cleveland. Still, Hal Steinbrenner's decision to cut payroll to under $189 million by the end of 2014 will, at the least, make the Yankees much more interesting.

There is no guarantee this club will even make the expanded postseason in 2013, but, if the Yankees were to get in, who is to say the legendary trio of Jeter-Mo-and-Andy don't have one more ring in them?

How ever the next 12 months play out, it is going to be a hectic year because there are a lot of issues surrounding this club. Let's run down the top five:

1) $189M or Bust: Hal is determined to save the $50 million per year that would come by having his payroll slashed by the end of 2014. The bloated payroll approach, along with smart management, has guaranteed the Yankees playoff appearances, but not titles. If the Yankees stick to this approach and it doesn't work, Hal will take the blame.

2) The Replacements: The Yankees are worse at catcher and right field, as this offeason closes out. Behind the plate, Russell Martin provided power in clutch situation that it is hard to imagine Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart or Austin Romine duplicating in '13. In right field, Ichiro Suzuki, at 39, is not as good as Nick Swisher, even if a lot of you disagree. I like the Yankees taking a chance on Matt Diaz as an Andruw Jones upgrade, but there are no guarantees with him.

3) Closure: This very well could be Mariano Rivera's final season. No one is betting against Rivera, even at 43 after a gruesome knee injury, but Rafael Soriano was so good that Rivera can only match him in the regular season, not be better. Andy Pettitte may finally, really, call it a career, though, I sort of think this time around the game might tell Pettitte it is time to go. I think he enjoyed his time back and will stay as long as he is still good.

4) Captain Chaos: Derek Jeter is going to be interesting to watch from beginning until end. After his amazing 2012, how will he bounce back from his awful ankle injury. The Yankees say he will be ready for Opening Day, but at soon-to-be 39, what will his mobility be at short? Can his body show the life it did in the second half of '11 and the '12 after looking lifeless for a year-and-a-half?

And then there is this: Jeter has a player option that, depending on incentives, will be worth around $10 million. Now, if he has another .316 season, do you think the Captain is going to accept a $7 million pay cut? Nor should he, for that matter. However, with $189M staring everyone in the face, every million you give to Jeter is another that can't go to help elsewhere. On the other hand, if Jeter regresses, can he remain the starting shortstop at around $10 million with limited range?

5) Heavyweight Battle: "In this corner, at 6-feet, 210 pounds, the Dominican Destroyer, Robinson Cano. In the other corner, at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, finance fanatic, spreadsheet savant, Hal Steinbrenner. Let's get ready to negotiate!!!"

With Scott Boras in Cano's ear and Randy Levine/Brian Cashman in Steinbrenner's, this will be epic. In the meantime, who doesn't expect Cano, 30, to have his best season in his walk year? He is too talented not to make it happen. However, what to pay Cano into his 30s will be debated on this here blog for probably around the next 12 months.

Those are five issues. We will get to more in the future. It's '13 and we didn't even mention No. 13 yet, but Alex Rodriguez's contract weighs on all the Yankees' plans. It should be a fascinating year.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Which issue concerns you the most and why?

Of course, they are old

December, 12, 2012
With the Yankees just waiting on Kevin Youkilis' physical and Ichiro Suzuki about to become official, the idea is back out there that they are too old.

Of course, they are.

This may blow up in the Yankees’ faces, but there was no real alternative this offseason because of their dual goals of competing in 2013 and falling under $189M in 2014.

So how do you do that? Well, the only players that are accomplished and willing to take one-year deals are old or hurt guys.

Jeff Keppinger, who will be 33 at the beginning of next year, got three years, for goodness sake. So if a guy like Keppinger is receiving a multi-year deal, then Youkilis with his average in the .230s will be all that is left -- for a cool $12 million, that is.

That is why of the players the Yankees have signed this offseason -- from Mariano Rivera to Andy Pettitte to Hiroki Kuroda to now Youkilis and Ichiro -- Youkilis is the baby of the bunch. He will be 34 by the time he gets to the Bronx in '13.

Unless Brian Cashman has a trade in the works, which is very possible, this is the road the Yankees had to take.

The Yankees will try to piece it together one more season. A veteran band trying to put together one more tour.

Rumor Roundup: Boras, Cano, Ibanez

December, 5, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Let's go to the rumor mill, as we wait for the Yankees to do something, anything.

1. In a media scrum, I just asked Scott Boras what he thinks of what the Yankees are doing or aren't doing.

"Well, I think it would be more the latter," Boras said. "I just had a meeting with [Brian Cashman] and he just said he is not in on a lot of players that he liked. He would like to be in on more, but right now he is working with ownership to see where he can go. I don't think any final decisions have been made, but at this point in time he is working through it."

2. It never seemed possible the Yankees and Boras client, Robinson Cano, could reach a deal before the season. They won't: Cano is headed for free agency after 2013.

"I think the Yankee policy is very clear, they always walk through the contracts and then address them," Boras said. "As they did with (Derek) Jeter and other players."

Plus, this close to free agency, with the Dodgers flush with money, Boras has the baseball world right where he wants them.

3. Raul Ibanez could be returning home. Joel Sherman of The New York Post tweeted that the Mariners are making a heavy push for Ibanez. Ibanez wants to return to the Yankees, but -- apologies for mentioning this again -- the Yankees are watching their nickels. Stay tuned.

Day 2: Josh Hamilton, $189M & 'possible'

December, 4, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- ESPN's and XM's Jim Bowden really feels like the Yankees may still sign Josh Hamilton. Brian Cashman is once again doing his laying in the weeds thing, before he possibly strikes, Bowden believes.

During Day 1 on Monday, I went on Bowden and Casey Stern's MLB Radio Network Channel show on Sirius/XM and, in the midst of our conversation, we came up with something that made some sense. At least, to me.

If the Yankees were to trade Curtis Granderson for a package of young players, they could turn around and use the money they might have spent on free-agent-to-be Granderson on ... Hamilton. Essentially, they would be making a deal of Granderson for Hamilton and the package of young players. Seems to make some sense.

The Yankees do have some doubts about how Hamilton could handle New York. So perhaps Hamilton isn't the guy in the ultimate scenario, but it seems obvious that this is one day the Yankees could make a big splash.

Cashman later appeared on Bowden and Stern's XM show, Bowden asked Cashman, "Is it financially possible to stay within $189M and sign Josh Hamilton?" Bowden even added, "Without trading Curtis Granderson?"

"We have a dynamic, creative front office and ownership," Cashman said. "We are always try to do everything that makes sense in our world."

So, you're telling me there's a chance?

Ultimately, Hamilton might ask for too many years and too much money and be too risky for the Yankees' new world. But I believe the Yankees will have something big coming. There are ways that they can do it and stay within their $189M limits.

QUESTION: Would you take a chance on Hamilton?

Cash's offseason focus concerns offense

December, 2, 2012
STAMFORD, CONN. -- After solidifying his pitching for next season, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman will start addressing the main culprit behind the team's early exit in the playoffs: the bats.

"Our pitching is pretty lined up," Cashman said after rappelling down a building dressed as an elf in Stamford, Conn. on Sunday. "I'm going to go from offense to defense now."

As baseball's winter meetings begin Monday in Nashville, Cashman heads in knowing that he has to make some additions to the Yankees lineup. He's lost starting catcher Russell Martin to the Pirates and outfielder Nick Swisher is a free agent and it seems highly unlikely that he is going to return. Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is also a free agent, although he's expressed an interest in returning.

"Obviously our offense has taken a hit," Cashman said.

While it seemed at one point that Suzuki's return was imminent, things have changed recently as the Yankees have focused on their pitching. Suzuki's agent, Tony Attanasio, has said the veteran has started talking with other teams. Suzuki thrived with the Yankees after being acquired in the summer, and seemingly would be a logical fit to return as a right fielder if the sides can work out a deal.

"That's market place," Cashman said of Suzuki's talks with other teams. "He's in the market place and is going to have action on himself. That's part of the gig."

While the winter meetings can spark trades and signings, Cashman acknowledged that the Yankees are usually not active at the meetings. He said the Yankees will try, but he doesn't want to get into a mentality where he has to do something as he believes that leads to mistakes.

Instead, Cashman said the Yankees have been active talking to players who have been non-tendered. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Yankees are the mix for outfielder Nate Schierholtz, but the general manager didn't comment if he's had talks with him.

"I wouldn't say who I've talked to but there's some non-tenders I've definitely reached out to and expressed an interesting in talking further with," Cashman said.

As Cashman goes to work on his offense, he's satisfied with his pitching staff. He's re-signed Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and Mariano Rivera recently and feels good about his bullpen. Cashman is pleased to have Rivera back for another year to anchor the ninth inning.

"Getting Mo back is obviously an important key," Cashman said. "He's had an amazing career and he's never had failure and I'm hopeful and I'm expecting that not to be the case either. He's going to be healthy by the time the bell rings and we look forward to him closing again."

As Cashman works on improving his team, his shortstop, Derek Jeter, has been in the headlines for photos seemingly showing him putting on some pounds as he rehabs his broken ankle. Cashman said Jeter hasn't reached out to him since, but the GM was able to laugh about it.

"It was very creative," Cashman said. "It was funny."



Jacoby Ellsbury
.271 16 70 71
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 73
RB. Gardner 85
OPSB. Gardner .756
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.77
SOM. Tanaka 139