• Cashman Will Have To Come Out Of Hiding & Comment On Soriano Signing Eventually

    Posted by on January 15th, 2011 · Comments (30)

    Great stuff, as always, from Tyler Kepner

    History shows that the 31st overall pick is not very valuable. So why did Brian Cashman make such a big deal about it last week?

    Cashman, the Yankees’ general manager, did not just imply that he would hold on to his first-round draft pick instead of signing Soriano, who was 45 for 48 in save opportunities last season. He all but planted a flag with that pronouncement atop the Landmark Building in Stamford, Conn., from which he rappelled 21 stories last month while dressed as a Christmas elf.

    Yet once Soriano passes a physical, that pick will become one of nine that Tampa Bay will have before the start of the second round. While the Rays figure out how to pay for all those prospects, the Yankees will slide Soriano into their budget for three years and $35 million, in a deal that includes an opt-out clause after the first and second seasons.

    Circumstances change. A week ago, the Yankees believed that Soriano’s agent, Scott Boras, wanted a four-year deal for $14 million per season. Perhaps Cashman was more optimistic then that Andy Pettitte would return and help fill the rotation, and he figured the Yankees could not absorb Soriano’s contract as well.

    But Boras often starts with an exorbitant price, knowing he is willing to accept something less. And Cashman has said for weeks that Pettitte is not an option for the Yankees unless he tells the team otherwise.

    Maybe Cashman simply changed his mind; he did not return phone calls Friday. But Cashman takes seriously his reputation for honesty, and at some point he must explain his reversal. The organization has run smoothly since Cashman demanded a restructuring of baseball operations in October 2005, and he must blunt the appearance that this might have changed.

    Oh, the spin on this one, when it happens, is going to be something…

    Comments on Cashman Will Have To Come Out Of Hiding & Comment On Soriano Signing Eventually

    1. LMJ229
      January 15th, 2011 | 10:48 pm

      The thing that kills me most about this deal is the opt out clauses. It is a total win-win for Boras and Soriano. If he has a bad year, the Yanks are still on the hook for a huge salary. If he has a great year, he can opt out and try to land a bigger contract as a closer. What’s worse is his ability to opt out after the second year, when Mariano will most likely retire and the Yanks might be desperate for a closer.

    2. LMJ229
      January 15th, 2011 | 10:52 pm

      It will be very interesting to see how Cashman spins this one since it looks as though this was not his decision.

    3. Evan3457
      January 15th, 2011 | 11:09 pm

      Oh, Steve. Let’s get real here.

      They’ll have a bullspit party line all ready for the conference, and Cashman will talk about how the organization thought it all through again, and this move solves some of their problems.

      He’s not going to say, “I was against it, but my bosses overruled me.”
      He’s not going to say, “I argued against it, but higher-ups made the call.”

      Everyone’s going to be on board, and Cashman will repeat whatever mantra they come up with until he leaves the Yanks, and even then, he may never spill the beans about what really happened. It’ll be something about how Boras and Soriano came down in price enough to make giving up the pick thinkable, and how Andy’s retirement created the money in the budget for it.

      He’s not a public official; he’s a corporate official. He’ll say what he needs to in order to keep the owners happy.

    4. January 16th, 2011 | 1:06 am

      I felt Cashman bungled the Lee thing. He had no backup plan and he allowed Lee to control the process. Lee is very good, but he is below the level of talent that can get away with that. I think the brothers realized what happened and decided to keep a closer eye on things.

      Cashman can cover the whole thing up by merely stating that the contract negotiated was a better deal for the Yankees than the original deal Soriano was looking for.

    5. Raf
      January 16th, 2011 | 10:30 am

      Lee or any free agent controls the process, after all he’s the one that a team is trying to sign.

      There was a backup plan, that one doesn’t agree with it does not negate its existence.

    6. January 16th, 2011 | 10:54 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      He’s not a public official; he’s a corporate official. He’ll say what he needs to in order to keep the owners happy.

      Good. Then we can add “Ass Kisser” to his resume right under the line that reads “Wasted More Money On Bad Pitching Than Any GM In History.”

    7. Raf
      January 16th, 2011 | 11:10 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Good. Then we can add “Ass Kisser” to his resume right under the line that reads “Wasted More Money On Bad Pitching Than Any GM In History.”

      Telling people what they want to hear isn’t the same as ass kissing

    8. Raf
      January 16th, 2011 | 11:17 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      What’s worse is his ability to opt out after the second year, when Mariano will most likely retire and the Yanks might be desperate for a closer.

      I’d doubt they’d be desperate. Before Mo, there was Wetteland, who fell in their laps when the Expos couldn’t afford him. Before Wetteland? Steve Howe, a NRI, who picked up for Xavier Hernandez. Before Howe/Hernandez? Steve Farr, signed after Rags went to SF.

    9. Evan3457
      January 16th, 2011 | 12:28 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      He’s not a public official; he’s a corporate official. He’ll say what he needs to in order to keep the owners happy.
      Good. Then we can add “Ass Kisser” to his resume right under the line that reads “Wasted More Money On Bad Pitching Than Any GM In History.”

      You mean as opposed to “Dumbass Who Publicly Berates His Bosses and Gets Himself Fired From a Job Paying A Couple of Million a Year?

    10. January 16th, 2011 | 4:45 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Telling people what they want to hear isn’t the same as ass kissing

      Watch and learn. ;-)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGDr69VOv6g

    11. LMJ229
      January 16th, 2011 | 11:30 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      It’ll be something about how Boras and Soriano came down in price enough to make giving up the pick thinkable, and how Andy’s retirement created the money in the budget for it.

      Evan, you are exactly right, that will be the spin right there. Cashman will just substitute the word “thinkable” for “palatable”.

    12. LMJ229
      January 16th, 2011 | 11:45 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      I felt Cashman bungled the Lee thing. He had no backup plan and he allowed Lee to control the process.

      I’m not a big Cashman fan but I don’t think he bungled the Lee thing. He went hard after Lee, offering the most years and the most money. Lee just didn’t want to come to the Yanks. He wanted to go back to the Phillies. There is nothing Cashman could have done about that.

      As far as a back-up plan, I’m sure he must have one, we just don’t know what it is. My guess is he will throw all of his pitching prospects up against the wall and see who, if any, sticks. I’m not very fond of this plan.

    13. Evan3457
      January 17th, 2011 | 10:08 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      My guess is he will throw all of his pitching prospects up against the wall and see who, if any, sticks. I’m not very fond of this plan.

      I only wish that was the plan.

      With team incomes rising around the game, and team payrolls along with them, and with the Yanks self-imposed season opening payroll cap at something like $200 million, the Yanks can’t continue to afford to be the only team in baseball whose prospect must be successful from day 1 in order to make it. They have to allow some room for growing on the major league level.

    14. Raf
      January 17th, 2011 | 12:16 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Yanks can’t continue to afford to be the only team in baseball whose prospect must be successful from day 1 in order to make it. They have to allow some room for growing on the major league level.

      And they have; Cano, Cabrera, Hughes, Chamberlain, etc. The team has stuck with them through their struggles.

    15. LMJ229
      January 17th, 2011 | 1:33 pm

      Raf wrote:

      And they have; Cano, Cabrera, Hughes, Chamberlain, etc. The team has stuck with them through their struggles.

      The players you mention here were pretty successful right out of the gate. There are many, many more players that the Yankees traded before they were even given a legitimate shot, such as Austin Jackson.

    16. Raf
      January 17th, 2011 | 2:57 pm

      LMJ229 wrote:

      The players you mention here were pretty successful right out of the gate. There are many, many more players that the Yankees traded before they were even given a legitimate shot, such as Austin Jackson.

      They may have been, but they still had their struggles and growing pains. They’re doing what they’ve always done. Steve Balboni got a number of shots. Steve Sax was moved so that Pat Kelly could play full time. Same with Roberto Kelly and Bernie Williams. Posada was brought along slowly. So on and so forth.

    17. Evan3457
      January 17th, 2011 | 3:20 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      Yanks can’t continue to afford to be the only team in baseball whose prospect must be successful from day 1 in order to make it. They have to allow some room for growing on the major league level.
      And they have; Cano, Cabrera, Hughes, Chamberlain, etc. The team has stuck with them through their struggles.

      Hughes was instantly successful in his initial try, then he got hurt, but he had given them the flash of greatness they needed to see, to justify staying with him.

      Chamberlain is the very definition of instant success. The Yanks stayed with him in late 2009-2010 because of his success in 2007-2008.

      Melky, struggled for 5 games, then misplayed a fliner into an inside the park 3-run home run which turned Tim Redding’s one and only start for the Yanks into a rout in his 6th game with the team, and was never heard from again that season. When he came back in 2006, he hit .318 in May, and while he stuggled in June and dropped to .244 at one point, he rebounded in July, and hit .280 for the season as a 21-years old.

      The Yanks did give him 3 more seasons to prove he was more than a 4th outfielder, but the fact of the matter is he hit passably well in his first two years, or they wouldn’t have stayed with him through 2008 and into 2009.

      In 2005, Cano struggled for all of 7 games (2-23). He then had a 5 game streak, followed by an 18-game slump, through which he hit a combined .287. After 30 major league games, he was hitting .245. He then got hot for a solid month, and never dropped below .270 the rest of the year, winding up at .297. And Womack was never really a viable alternative.

      By contrast in his 1st 52 games in the majors, Dustin Pedroia was hitting .184. There is little doubt in my mind that had Cano had the temerity to hit .184 in his 1st 150 at bats for the Yanks under George, he’d have spent the next year and a half at AAA before being traded for a set-up man.

    18. Evan3457
      January 17th, 2011 | 3:50 pm

      Raf wrote:

      LMJ229 wrote:
      The players you mention here were pretty successful right out of the gate. There are many, many more players that the Yankees traded before they were even given a legitimate shot, such as Austin Jackson.
      They may have been, but they still had their struggles and growing pains. They’re doing what they’ve always done. Steve Balboni got a number of shots. Steve Sax was moved so that Pat Kelly could play full time. Same with Roberto Kelly and Bernie Williams. Posada was brought along slowly. So on and so forth.

      Roberto Kelly was brought up for two weeks in mid-1987, hit .300 in part-time play, was sent back down. Was brought up again after the Yanks dropped out of the race (6.5 out in 3rd, mid-Sept.), hit .250. He started 1988 with the Yanks, hit .250 through mid-May got sent back down, got called back up in mid-June, went 4-18, got sent back down, was brought back up again in September, and limited to pinch-running duty.
      Kelly was not up to stay until 1989, when Claudell Washington left as a free agent. He hit .302 and was allowed to stay until 1993.

      Kelly and Bernie came up when the Yanks were terrible, and were permitted to struggle because it didn’t matter much. In spite of that, Bernie was almost traded twice, I believe.

      Balboni is not a good choice to defend the Yanks as “patient” with their young players. They gave him a total of 200 AB over 3 years before giving up on him. Only the presence of Mattingly kept that from being another disastrous trade, because all the Yanks got in return for Balboni was Duane Dewey and Mike Armstrong. He went on to have two good seasons for the Royals (despite hitting .244 and .243, he actually finished 19th in the MVP voting both seasons) and helped them win the title in 1985, finishing 3rd in the AL with 36 HR. It’s not like Balboni was truly great, but the Yanks’ “starting” firstbasement in 1982 and 1983 were John Mayberry and Ken Griffey, Sr. The Yanks minimized his value, then traded him for basically nothing.

    19. LMJ229
      January 17th, 2011 | 4:00 pm

      Raf, you really can’t argue with the fact that the Yankees are not a very patient group when it comes to their young players.

    20. Raf
      January 17th, 2011 | 5:18 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      Cano was almost traded a couple of times as well. His name still comes up in trade rumors every so often. The team also stuck with Cano and Cabrera during their disastrous 2008 seasons.

      Steve Balboni was given repeated shots at the 1b job (82-83), but couldn’t capitalize. Not only did the emergence of Mattingly (83) make him redundant, but the Yankees were unable to land Jason Thompson in a`trade to play 1b.

      You cite Dustin Pedroia, but he came up in 2006 with the Sox 6.5 games back. He struggled, but was a positive contributor in 07.

      The rest prove my point about the Yankees sticking with young players. The organization tends to have short memories preferring to ask what a player has done lately than to take a career into context.

    21. Raf
      January 17th, 2011 | 5:21 pm

      LMJ229 wrote:

      Raf, you really can’t argue with the fact that the Yankees are not a very patient group when it comes to their young players.

      Define “patient.” No team will struggle with a player that is overmatched, but the Yanks have made room, and have stuck with struggling players, or have brought them along slowly. Dave Eiland, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada also come to mind as players the team has stuck with.

    22. Evan3457
      January 17th, 2011 | 6:09 pm

      Raf wrote:

      @ Evan3457:
      Cano was almost traded a couple of times as well. His name still comes up in trade rumors every so often. The team also stuck with Cano and Cabrera during their disastrous 2008 seasons.
      Steve Balboni was given repeated shots at the 1b job (82-83), but couldn’t capitalize. Not only did the emergence of Mattingly (83) make him redundant, but the Yankees were unable to land Jason Thompson in a`trade to play 1b.
      You cite Dustin Pedroia, but he came up in 2006 with the Sox 6.5 games back. He struggled, but was a positive contributor in 07.
      The rest prove my point about the Yankees sticking with young players. The organization tends to have short memories preferring to ask what a player has done lately than to take a career into context.

      Cano was almost traded a couple of times before he came up. One was the Randy Johnson trade. After he established himself, they haven’t seriously talked trade about him since. His lousy 2008 season came after 3 good seasons; the Yanks would’ve had to have been certifiable to “give up” on him at that point.

      More or less the same with Melky, he’d already had a decent season and a half, and was only 22 when he started going downhill in the 2nd half of 2007.

      That’s not the same thing that I’m talking about. It’s a lot harder to believe in your scouts and talent evaluators and stay with someone who hasn’t had any real success in the big leagues that it is to stay with someone who’s already shown they can play in the big leagues over 2 or 3 seasons, especially when they’re making minimum, and you’re trying to hold payroll down elsewhere to pay 10 superstar contacts all over your roster.

      That’s what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the Red Sox staying with Pedroia after 150 lousy major league AB, whereas the Yanks totally gave up on Balboni after just 200. 200 AB over parts of 3 seasons, is really NOT a fair trial for a young player. Bernie didn’t start hitting until he had about 400 AB, and didn’t start hitting well until he was closer to 1000 AB.

      Balboni was given all of 3 starts in 1981; 9 starts while the Yanks were at all in the race in 1982 (and only when the Yanks fell to 4th place, 10 games behind the Brewers with 21 to play did they recall him and let him start 20 of the last 21 games), 19 starts while they were in the race in 1983, then they sent him down for another 5 weeks, and recalled him when they were 7 out with 22 to play, didn’t let him start another game until they were 8.5 out with 14 to play.

      I don’t really think 31 starts when anything was at stake spread out over 3 years is “mutliple chances”. He went 22-95 with 4 HR and 17 RBI in those 31 starts, for what it’s worth.

    23. Evan3457
      January 17th, 2011 | 6:15 pm

      Raf wrote:

      @ Evan3457:
      The rest prove my point about the Yankees sticking with young players. The organization tends to have short memories preferring to ask what a player has done lately than to take a career into context.

      I disagree.

      None of the guys you mentioned fits the criteria I’ve laid out; which is: the prospect comes up and is allowed to struggle right away for an extended period of time, say, more than a month, while the Yanks are in the race.

      Not Kelly, Kelly, Balboni, Bernie, Cano, Melky, Joba or Hughes. Hughes got 6 starts in April, 2008, then got hurt before he could be pulled. In 2009, it was 7 starts in just over a month before he got moved to set-up. Ian Kennedy got 6 starts in about a month in Aprl, 2008, got skipped twice, then got two more starts before being sent down, then got called up for an emergency start, failed, and was never heard from again.

    24. Evan3457
      January 17th, 2011 | 6:18 pm

      Raf wrote:

      LMJ229 wrote:
      Raf, you really can’t argue with the fact that the Yankees are not a very patient group when it comes to their young players.
      Define “patient.” No team will struggle with a player that is overmatched, but the Yanks have made room, and have stuck with struggling players, or have brought them along slowly. Dave Eiland, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada also come to mind as players the team has stuck with.

      Posada never struggled with the bat once they gave him a real chance (OPS+ 101 in 1997, 115 in 1998). By the time he struggled a little in 1999, he had already been successful as the regular catcher for a title-winning team, even starting 6 of the 13 post-season games.

    25. Raf
      January 17th, 2011 | 11:01 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Yanks totally gave up on Balboni after just 200. 200 AB over parts of 3 seasons, is really NOT a fair trial for a young player.

      Of course it is; that ML experience is combined with what they see or saw in the minors. They saw the power potential, that he could hit the ball a long way if he could get a hold of one. Problem was that he didn’t get a hold of one enough to keep him around. A low batting average, a low OBP, high SLG. He was basically Tony Batista. Or perhaps Tony Batista was Balboni reincarnated.

      By the end of the 1983 season, the Yankees have a one dimensional player, who has spent 3 seasons at AAA Columbus, and is now 25 years old. At first base, they have Don Mattingly who is younger and better & Griffey who had a decent year in his own right in 83. Balboni can’t play the outfield, and even if he did, I doubt he’d start over Kemp, Moreno, Winfield, Griffey or Piniella. Don Baylor’s holding down the DH spot. Balboni needs to play every day. So, what to do?

      Gossage has no interest in returning, the Yanks need a bullpen arm and eventually acquire Mike Armstrong, giving up Balboni in the process. That the Yanks didn’t check Armstong’s medical records is a discussion for another time and place. Balboni settles in @ 1b with KC, Mattingly settles in @ 1b with the Yanks. Everybody wins…

    26. Raf
      January 17th, 2011 | 11:18 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      I’m talking about the Red Sox staying with Pedroia after 150 lousy major league AB,

      Pedroia hit the majors by the time he was 22, as opposed to Balboni, who got his start when he 25. Both players profile differently, offensively and defensively. When he started, the Red Sox were already hanging by a thread, 6.5 back near the end of August. Both Loretta (the primary 2b) and Pedroia start about the same number of games from that point out, even with the Sox eventually falling out of the race.

    27. Raf
      January 17th, 2011 | 11:19 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      There is little doubt in my mind that had Cano had the temerity to hit .184 in his 1st 150 at bats for the Yanks under George, he’d have spent the next year and a half at AAA before being traded for a set-up man.

      That speaks more to Steinbrenner’s baseball acumen than anything else.

    28. Raf
      January 17th, 2011 | 11:26 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Posada never struggled with the bat once they gave him a real chance (OPS+ 101 in 1997, 115 in 1998). By the time he struggled a little in 1999, he had already been successful as the regular catcher for a title-winning team, even starting 6 of the 13 post-season games.

      Point with Posada was that they brought him along slowly. I’m sure he could’ve handled primary backup duties in 1996 over Leyritz. The workload could’ve been better distributed in 1997, as it was a year later in 1998.

    29. Evan3457
      January 18th, 2011 | 1:27 am

      Raf wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      Yanks totally gave up on Balboni after just 200. 200 AB over parts of 3 seasons, is really NOT a fair trial for a young player.
      Of course it is; that ML experience is combined with what they see or saw in the minors.

      No matter what they saw in the minors (and in 1982, they saw a spectacular power show; Balboni slugged .650 in AAA), 200 AB is not enough to judge a prospect by, unless the prospect is no prospect at all. In any event, he went on to have 3 good seasons for the Royals once they traded him.

      They saw the power potential, that he could hit the ball a long way if he could get a hold of one. Problem was that he didn’t get a hold of one enough to keep him around. A low batting average, a low OBP, high SLG. He was basically Tony Batista. Or perhaps Tony Batista was Balboni reincarnated.

      I think if Balboni could’ve played a credible shortstop, the Yanks might’ve hung on to him longer.

      By the end of the 1983 season, the Yankees have a one dimensional player, who has spent 3 seasons at AAA Columbus

      He spent 3 seasons at Columbus because they spent 1982 futzing around with Dave Collins and John Mayberry at 1st.

      and is now 25 years old. At first base, they have Don Mattingly who is younger and better & Griffey who had a decent year in his own right in 83. Balboni can’t play the outfield, and even if he did, I doubt he’d start over Kemp, Moreno, Winfield, Griffey or Piniella.
      I don’t really think Balboni should’ve been given a chance in the outfield, no.

      Don Baylor’s holding down the DH spot.

      Baylor’s holding down the DH slot because they signed him as a free agent because they weren’t about to give Balboni a real chance to hold it down at the moment they should’ve at least tried it; they still had the same 5-man outfield, and could’ve alternated Kemp and Piniella at DH had Balboni been given a substantial trial and failed. If need be, you call Mattingly up at mid-season and play him at 1st and move Griffey to DH, which is what they wound up doing anyway, except that they made Mattingly play the outfield and Griffey play 1st. Before you talk about how well they judged Balboni think about that for awhile; they made Mattingly play the outfield, and Griffey play 1st for almost 40 games.

      Balboni needs to play every day. So, what to do?
      Gossage has no interest in returning, the Yanks need a bullpen arm and eventually acquire Mike Armstrong, giving up Balboni in the process. That the Yanks didn’t check Armstong’s medical records is a discussion for another time and place. Balboni settles in @ 1b with KC, Mattingly settles in @ 1b with the Yanks. Everybody wins…

      Except the Yanks, who traded a moderately valuable commodity for a middle reliever who broke down almost instanteously. Yanks were very lucky that after trading McGriff for nothing, and trading Balboni for nothing, they still had Mattingly in between them at AA.

    30. Raf
      January 18th, 2011 | 11:50 am

      Balboni didn’t outproduce Baylor in 83 and 84, and chances are probably wouldn’t have even if he did start the season.

      Mattingly had OF experience in the minors; he played more games`in the OF than he did @ 1B. Mattingly playing the OF while Griffey plays 1B isn’t much of a stretch.

      The Yanks had better options at 1B, DH, & OF. Balboni wasn’t going to play over any of the guys previously mentioned. I’m fairly confident Clyde King, Billy Martin, Johhny Oates and others saw the flaws that Balboni had, and gambled that he would not be able to capitalize on the one skillset that he had, his power. We would see the same thing a few years later with Bam Bam Meulens. Even when he got a full time shot, he performed so poorly, the Yanks decided to go with Pat Sheridan.

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