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Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Brian Cashman stays with Yankees

By Andrew Marchand

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman have agreed upon a new three-year contract worth about $9 million, the club announced on Tuesday.

The move has been little more than a formality because both the team's leadership and Cashman have repeatedly said that they wanted to remain together.

Cashman's previous contract was reportedly in the $2 million per season range.

Cashman, 44, has been with the Yankees organization since 1986 when he began as an intern. He has been the GM of the Yankees since 1998, when he succeeded Bob Watson. Cashman has the most years spent as the Yankees GM since Hall of Famer Ed Barrow held the post for nearly 25 years, ending in 1945. Cashman's tenure is the third longest currently in baseball.

The Yankees have won five World Series in his time with the team. Four of the rings have come with him as the GM. Also during his stint as GM, the Yankees have won six AL pennants, finishing first in the AL East 11 times and advancing to the playoffs in 13 of 14 seasons. He's presided over baseball operations during the transition from George Steinbrenner to the more collegial environment established by son Hal Steinbrenner.

"I have a big seat at the table, but I don't sit at the head of the table," Cashman said during a conference call. "I know my place. I know my job description. I know my responsibilities. And I know my abilities to make recommendations. They carry a lot of weight. It doesn't necessarily carry the day every day. I respect and understand that."

In 2006, Cashman successfully negotiated with George Steinbrenner for firmer control of how the organization operates. Since then, Cashman has tried to place more of an emphasis on the farm system.

Over the last five years, the Yankees have developed players like Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. This year, Ivan Nova became the team's No. 2 starter. Next season, Jesus Montero is expected to be the team's backup catcher and DH.

The Yankees think they could have two top of the rotation starters in Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances. Both are expected to start next season at Triple-A but could be with the major league team by the end of the year.

After signing his last three-year contract after the 2008 season, Cashman said there was "unfinished business." The Yankees had just missed the playoffs and Cashman felt he was being unfairly portrayed by some in the media.

While keeping up with his commitment to improving the farm system, Cashman went out and spent nearly half a billion dollars on CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira that winter. With those three on board, the Yankees won the 2009 World Series. In 2010, the Yankees lost in the American League Championship Series. This year, the Detroit Tigers finished them off in the first round.

Cashman's previous contract ran out on Monday. He has spearheaded the Yankees' offseason plans and led the negotiations with the agents for Sabathia. Sabathia accepted an extension on Monday.

"He's certainly the most important piece as we entered this process," Cashman said. "CC provides us a lot of security, and that's obviously why he makes what he makes."

A weak free-agent class for pitchers is headed by Edwin Jackson, C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle and Hiroki Kuroda. Bats are more plentiful, with Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran on the market.

"Pitching, pitching, pitching. That will be the main thrust," Cashman said, a sign the Yankees could explore trades involving low-priced players such as Montero and Brett Gardner. "I don't anticipate a bat being of need at all. I anticipate people knocking on our door about the current bats we have."

On other topics, Cashman said A.J. Burnett is likely to remain with the Yankees and stay in the rotation; wouldn't say whether the team intends to re-sign 40-year-old Jorge Posada; praised catcher Russell Martin but wouldn't say whether he will offer a multiyear contract; said he's open to re-signing pitchers Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, and third baseman Eric Chavez; and wouldn't commit to whether the Yankees would have an interest in Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, who may become available in the posting process from the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Without giving any specifics, Cashman touched on several players:

•  On Posada: "He's been one of the best catchers in Yankee history and a borderline Hall of Famer and obviously is in the free-agent category currently. So I think that's something that we'll have to discuss here in the short term but it's not something I'm prepared to talk to about today."

•  On Martin: "He came in here and we thought he was Thurman Munson-like. I wasn't here in the '70s, but you know what Thurman Munson stood for, represented, how he played the game and leadership that he provided in the clubhouse."

•  On Burnett: "He's had to deal with adversity because of the inconsistent performance. He hasn't shied away from it and he continues to take that ball every five days and do everything he possibly can to secure a win and be the best he could possibly be. ... I expect him to be in the rotation going forward."

•  On right fielder Nick Swisher, whose option was exercised Saturday: "He has been one of the better offensive right fielders in the game ever since he's been here. ... We're lucky to have him. It was any easy call."

Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.