But, appearing Friday afternoon with Mike Francesa, the Yankees GM also reiterated what he said before departing the winter meetings in Indianapolis: the Yankees accomplished a lot this week and while they’re not done this offseason, they will take a step back for a bit.
“I think got a lot of business taken care of already with Pettitte and Curtis Granderson and now it’s given us the flexibility to take a breather here, review the landscape in free agency and trade opportunities and measure that with what we can promote from within,” Cashman said. “We have a limitation on how much money we can spend so some of the demands that are currently out there in the market just won’t fit the game plan.
With Granderson in the fold, Cashman didn’t dispute that it’s highly unlikely both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui will be back.
“It’s a balancing act,” Cashman said. “I guess the answer to that [both returning] could be yes but at the same time, we need more pitching. I can’t do it all with the price tags that are out there so we’re going to have to make some very difficult decisions…Ultimately I’ve got some tough decisions here because the next few moves, whether they’re any moves or some moves or a series of moves, they’re going to be important and just have to make sure I get it right, whatever we decide to do.”
The Yankees have about $180 million committed to next year’s payroll and Cashman said “yes” two different times when asked if keeping the payroll under last year’s was written in concrete.
“I have a set number I’m working off of that I can’t exceed,” Cashman said.
He said later: “We’ll stay in touch with this marketplace and if some changes take place in the demands of the players on behalf of their agents and come more in line with what we think makes sense and I think we have a chance to do something, then we’ll just do it.”
Asked if the Yankees could be counted out of the pursuit of any of the “prominent” players still available, Cashman said, “I wouldn’t rule anything out,” which, of course, no one ever does when it comes to the Yankees.
Still, “Some things are harder than others,” Cashman added. “And that’s right now why we’ve taken a step back.”
But by no means out of the fold on anything, particularly in regard to the rotation. If the Yankees didn’t make any more moves to that part of the club the rest of the offseason, they’d go into spring with CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes as the first five, with Chad Gaudin and possibly Alfredo Aceves as alternatives.
Not awful but…
“I’ve lived enough and long enough through this stuff that if we can push a little farther, just like we did last year with Andy Pettitte and thankfully Hal Steinbrenner allowed us to push through there and say, ‘we just don’t have enough, we need another,’” Cashman said. “If we keep that mentality going, we’ll be safe. I’d rather not think about, yeah we have enough. I’d rather think the other way where we don’t have enough. That doesn’t mean I’ll be able to solve the problem and get a security blanket feeling from it all, but I’d like to try.”