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Sunday, February 24, 2013
GM: A-Rod won't impact future talks

ESPNNewYork.com

Brian Cashman was one New York Yankees official who did not want to sign Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year, $275 million contract after the 2007 season.

But it appears Cashman won't hold that unfortunate investment against his pending free agent, Robinson Cano.

Speaking on "The Ian O'Connor Show" Sunday morning on ESPN Radio, the Yankees general manager also said he still expects Rodriguez -- recovering from his second hip surgery -- to return "at the All-Star break," and called the latest allegations that the star third baseman used performance-enhancing drugs "a very concerning story for everybody within this industry."

Cashman declared Derek Jeter, recovering from ankle surgery, "100 percent healthy" and on schedule for an Opening Day start, and pronounced his roster good enough to contend for a championship.

Cano is the best player on that roster, and the Yankees have opened negotiations with his agent, Scott Boras, in the hope of cutting a deal before the second baseman hits free agency in the fall.

Asked if the 10-year deal with Rodriguez would shape talks with Cano, Cashman said, "There's only so much you can spend, but we'll look at Robbie as an individual, not as it relates to whatever we're doing with Alex Rodriguez and our commitment and the regression we have experienced with Alex.

"[Cano] is a tremendous player, one of the best players in the game, and via free agency there will be a select number of teams that will have interest in him. I can't say everybody, because the contract demands that he'll have will eliminate a number of teams right off the bat. But every team would want a Robinson Cano on it. How many teams can afford a Robinson Cano, we'll see."

As for Rodriguez, named in a Miami New Times report among the major league players who allegedly received PEDs from a South Florida anti-aging clinic, Cashman said the three-time MVP should return in July as something less than the offensive force he used to be.

"I think obviously the days of the perennial MVP candidate may be over," Cashman said. "But we haven't seen that the last number of years regardless. ... Since he had the [first] hip surgery on the other side [in 2009], what we have gotten from him was an above-average player at third base. ... When you factor in age and everything of that nature, there's going to be certainly a regression. I'd say an above-average player at that position when he comes back is the hope."

Cashman also addressed the allegations that Rodriguez and other players received banned drugs from the Biogenesis clinic.

"It's a very concerning story for everybody within this industry," he said. "It has allegations towards people obviously in the game and involving people outside the game. So Major League Baseball is doing a full-court press, as they should, to determine the validity of that story. ... If there's truth to the story, then obviously people need to be accountable. And if there isn't truth to the story, then the Miami New Times people should be accountable."

Rodriguez, who admitted to prior PED use in 2009, has denied the allegations.

Asked if he believed Rodriguez's denial, Cashman told O'Connor, "I'm not in a position to really comment on it. I don't know what is or isn't away from our ballpark, so I couldn't say either way. I have no knowledge."

Cashman spoke hopefully of his 38-year-old captain, Jeter, and of the team he assembled around him.

"I deem him 100 percent healthy," Cashman said. "I don't think we'll see him in games for about another 10 days, and we'll probably start DHing him and then eventually shortstop, but we have a program that's lined up to have him ready for Opening Day. We're just being careful for somebody coming off a broken ankle. ... He is fine, he is lined up, and he will be the Opening Day shortstop."