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Brian Cashman touts Carlos Beltran’s leadership qualities

Yankees GM won’t confirm or deny interest in having Beltran interview for managerial job.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, right, talks with

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, right, talks with the media at the annual GM meetings, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. Photo Credit: AP / John Raoux

ORLANDO, Fla. — Brian Cashman didn’t call the just-retired Carlos Beltran a candidate for the Yankees’ managerial opening, but when given a chance, he didn’t douse the idea with cold water, either.

“I think we have a personal and professional relationship, so I know he has aspirations to manage,” Cashman said Monday afternoon at the annual general managers’ meetings, a few hours after Beltran broke the news of his retirement on The Players’ Tribute website. “I’m not going to talk about who are potential candidates until we present those candidates to the media conference calls after [their interviews]. But he’s had a great career, someone I respect a great deal. His time with us was a benefit. That’s a future Hall of Famer there. I am aware of his interest in managing in the future and I’ll leave it at that right now.”

Beltran, who signed a three-year, $45-million contract with the Yankees before the 2014 season, played 2 1⁄2 seasons with them before being dealt to the Rangers at the 2016 trade deadline. The 20-year veteran, a mentor to more than a few Yankees during his time in pinstripes, including Aaron Judge, was on a World Series-winning team for the first time with the Astros this season.

“He had leadership qualities, no question about that. He was someone that people gravitated to in the clubhouse,” Cashman said. “I think managers or coaches or front offices could rely on him kind of directing things in a positive way or keeping the ship steered in the right direction from a players’ standpoint . . . He’s played the game a long time, he knows the game inside-out. He obviously has the respect of his peers, [is] bilingual, so he brings a lot to the table.”

Toward the end of his career, Beltran openly discussed his desire to manage and reiterated that Monday afternoon in his first interview after announcing his retirement.

Specifically discussing the Yankees’ job, Beltran told ESPNDeportes: “I personally think that’s a great job, a position with an incredible impact . . . It’s not every day that there are vacancies available for managing in the major leagues. Just think of this, Joe Girardi was there for 10 years. You never know, there are opportunities that God gives us, and if I get an opportunity [to interview], I will not rule it out.”

Cashman stressed several times that he would not confirm or deny any interest in having Beltran, who also could be a fit as a coach, interview for the job.

Cashman isn’t interviewing anybody for the manager’s job until Thursday. Though he wouldn’t confirm it, a source did confirm a report from earlier in the day saying the Yankees eventually will interview Aaron Boone and Hensley Meulens.

Boone, who hit one of the most famous homers in franchise history, the walk-off shot off Tim Wakefield to win Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, is an ESPN analyst with no coaching or managing experience.

Meulens, a player in the Yankees’ organization from 1989-93, was the Giants’ hitting coach from 2010-16 — a time frame in which San Francisco won three World Series — and recently was named Bruce Bochy’s bench coach. Bochy quietly has pushed for Meulens to get consideration for a manager’s job for several years.

Meulens, 50, who speaks five languages, has managerial experience, managing the Netherlands team in the most recent World Baseball Classic and spending three years managing winter ball in Venezuela.

“I know we’re on the clock, but you can’t skip the process,” Cashman said of any kind of time frame to fill the job. “You have to go through the steps regardless. Everybody’s going to want to hurry up to solve the problem, but you just have to take the necessary steps to solve it.”

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