Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cash Says Yanks Have Issues

Work to do for Next Season

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, OCTOBER 1- Two days after the New York Yankees
completed an 85-77 season, their worst since 1992, Brian Cashman the
general manager said it the best way he could. It was rough, and there
are many uncertainties with the roster and does manager Joe Girardi
return for another season?

As of now, Girardi is still the manager and it appears he will be
offered an option to return for the 2014 season. Meetings with the
agent for Girardi are scheduled to begin Wednesday, and as Cashman
said at a noon press conference Tuesday, “We will provide a time frame
as to how it is going.”

Time frames and decisions will keep Cashman busy this off season. The
Yankees, for the second time in 19-years, are not playing baseball in
October and a discussion regarding next season in the press conference
room at Yankee Stadium to say the least is very rare this time of

There is the immediate matter of resolving what Girardi wants to do,
the Alex Rodriguez possible suspension, the pitching staff, and of
course an infield that may not see much more of Derek Jeter at
shortstop. And after the conclusion of the World Series, second
baseman Robinson Cano is a free agent and the Yankees may not be able
to afford him.
Those are just a few of the many issues Cashman has ahead, always with
the goal of getting the Yankees back to the post season.

“We got derailed this year by decision making as well as injures,” he
said. Cashman did say, Cano could be the first Dominican born player
with Yankee homegrown roots to have a plaque placed in Moument Park at
Yankee Stadium. However, Cano, and his new profiled agents, are
looking to make the second baseman the richest player in the game.
And the question, how do the Yankees get under next year’s $189
million luxury tax threshold? If the A-Rod suspension, currently under
appeal for violating baseball’s anti drug policies, goes through, that
threshold question becomes easier.

The Yankees would not have to pay Rodriguez another $25 or 30- million
if he sits out a full season, and if the appeal is not favorable, the
high powered legal team that A-Rod has will plead a case to the
Federal courts. If that is the situation, A-Rod would probably be
permitted to play baseball in 2014.

But that is one of the many significant issues Cashman has at hand. He
would like to see Girardi return for a seventh season. Through all the
injuries, and roster moves, Girardi guided the Yankees until the final
days of the season for one of two Al wild card post season spots.

That did not happen, though Cashman would not say it directly, that it
was not acceptable, he did admit not playing in October clearly is his
responsibility as the GM.
“We’ve been fortunate for a long time to avoid what happened to us
this year,” he said about the injuries to Jeter, Curtis Granderson,
Mark Teixeira, the uncertainty of A-Rod and the Yankees having to use
56 different players, 27 on and off the disabled list.

Cashman added, “What happened this year derailed other clubs,”
referring to the Braves of 1996, a team the Yankees defeated in the
World Series without David Justice. “I take full responsibility what
happened, I am the general manager,” he said about the Yankees fourth
place finish in the standings.

As for Rodriguez, Cashman said until otherwise known, he expects the
third baseman to be ready for spring training in mid- February. “I
operate under the assumption A-Rod will be here.”

When asked about the possibility of A-Rod not being available, or what
players the Yankees may pursue via trade or on the free agent market,
the GM said, “I don’t know what is available what is on the trade
market yet. “That may include other options regarding the playing time
for Jeter.

The Yankees captain had two stints on the disabled list, was limited
to running on the bases, and there is every chance 2014 will be his
last season. Cashman said Jeter could be in the lineup everyday or be
placed in the designated hitter role, all depending on his health and
how the surgically repaired left ankle is.

“The left side of the infield is a priority,” he said about the
uncertainty of Jeter and Rodriguez, “Also at second base, questions
that have to be answered,” referring to the contract status of Cano.

He hopes Teixeira at first base is not a position to be concerned
with. ‘’His injury he should be fine and ready to go to spring
training,” commenting about the surgery to the left wrist. Cashman
also speculated there may be a need for right handed hitters.

On Ichiro, “He’s a great athlete. When he’s on base he obviously
changes the game for you.” The outfielder who will be 40-years of age
may not return after achieving 4,000 hits this season combined from
his playing days in Japan. “Don’t know yet. Depends on the situation,”
said Cashman.

So the production of home runs was down, and increased when Alfonso
Soriano was reacquired by Cashman. The Yankees played small ball and
scored less runs.  But in the end, it comes down to pitching and
Cashman has to address the future of free agent Hiroki Kuroda who did
not win a game in September, after a successful first half.
And does Michael Pineda finally throw a pitch after a 13-month rehab
assignment? Is CC Sabathia the ace? That, according to Cashman depends
on his health, the velocity of a fastball that diminished, and
avoiding the home run ball.

“Hope his numbers, are identical to the past,” said Cashman.  “We
think he can pitch towards that front end. The performance will speak
for itself.”

Yes, Yankee Stadium is dark this October. However, the meetings have
started. This is not acceptable, not playing baseball this time of
year. And there will be every effort to make it better because the
Yankees have that fan base.

And Cashman knows also, empty seats at the big stadium in the Bronx
will not look good.

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