Cashman, Yankees aren't thinking about reworking Girardi's contract

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks to reporters during baseball's general managers meetings Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) (Credit: AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

CHICAGO - Joe Girardi couldn't have more job security spiritually than he does right now as the Yankees' manager. He led the Yankees to their first World Series title since 2000, and his bosses are thrilled with him.

But that probably won't translate into a quick, financial reward for Girardi, whose three-year contract concludes after next season. In accordance with the Yankees' recent policy, the team appears inclined to let Girardi finish out his current deal before discussing a new one.

"Am I open to discussing it? I'm not even in a position to have thought about it," Brian Cashman said Wednesday as he departed the general managers' meetings. "I can tell you, right now, our coaches' contracts have expired. So I need to deal with who isn't signed, rather than who is."

Cashman let his contract run out last year before signing a three-year extension, and in recent seasons, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez have played out their agreements. The Yankees won't negotiate now with their captain and icon, Derek Jeter, while he still has a year to go. So this speaks to consistency, rather than reflecting poorly on Girardi.

"It's not come up. He is signed through next year," Cashman said. "It's not something that's been discussed at all. We have a practice in place. Whether we continue to follow that practice remains to be seen. But that's what it's been.

"All I can tell you is, fortunately, he's signed, and I'm glad he is."

When the Yankees let Joe Torre manage without a safety net in 2007, it proved a significant distraction; Torre, of course, left the team after that season. Yet this situation carries a dramatically different vibe, and Cashman said he wasn't at all concerned about Girardi's contract status serving as a distraction. "He's done a fantastic job," Cashman said. "We hired the right man for the job. He's already proven that."

Cashman departed the meetings having accomplished little beyond a few meetings with clubs. He met neither with agent Scott Boras, who represents Johnny Damon, nor with Arn Tellem, who represents Hideki Matsui, though both men were on site.

Tellem said of Matsui, a seven-year major-leaguer, "When I met him, his goal was to play 10 years in the major leagues. I think he will."

While the Yankees and Damon are going to disagree over money and years, as exemplified by Boras' comments Tuesday, the Yankees and Matsui appear at odds over his future role.

Matsui, who played zero innings in the field during the 2009 season, told Nippon Sports, a Japanese publication, "I believe I can play the outfield next year. This offseason, I will work hard to improve the condition of my knees. I want to return to the outfield."

Asked if he viewed Matsui solely as a DH, Cashman said, "Yes. For us. He may very well be an outfielder for somebody else, but that's how we played him this year. We had a great deal of success doing it that route. That's the route we'd go if we retained him."

As for agent Alan Nero's announcement Tuesday that Chien-Ming Wang, who is rehabilitating from right shoulder surgery, could be ready to pitch by mid-April, Cashman said, "Our doctors will present information on all of our players, including him, and we'll make decisions when we have to." The Yankees appear likely to non-tender Wang by the Dec. 12 deadline, which would make him a free agent.

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