Brian Cashman spoke in vague terms, keeping his cards close to the vest Wednesday as he answered trade questions about Cliff Lee, the Yankees bullpen and the bench. But there was one trade he didn't have a problem discussing.
When Cashman plucked Nick Swisher from the Chicago White Sox in the fall of 2008, Swisher was coming off the worst year of his career with a batting average that had plummeted to .219. Two years later, Cashman is campaigning for his rightfielder to claim the final spot on the American League All-Star Squad.
"Thankfully Nick has come here and gotten back on track," Cashman said. "That was a good move."
Cashman spent an hour of his afternoon at Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx showing about 125 kids between 6 and 13 years old how they could vote Swisher - one of the five final vote candidates in the AL - into the All-Star game. When Cashman spoke Wednesday, Swisher held a slim lead over Boston's Kevin Youkilis.
"We're here to get our man Nick Swisher, who's been so important to the Yankees, out to the All-Star game in California where he belongs," Cashman said. "Nick's had a great year. He's done so much for us on the field and off the field."
Swisher has career-highs in batting average (.292) and slugging percentage (.502). He has 13 home runs, 50 runs scored and 47 RBIs.
In between helping the kids vote, Cashman posed for pictures and led a "we want Swish" chant. The Yankee general manager will appear at a similar event in the Bronx Friday.
But even in such a lighthearted environment, the reality and weight of Cashman's job were apparent. He constantly texted and answered phone calls and deftly deflected questions about his plans for the club with the non-waiver trade deadline less than a month away.