The Yankees hierarchy — owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner, along with team president Randy Levine — wanted to improve the team this offseason.
Levine said that the club is running a “$5 billion” business and thee team has a “sacred obligation” to its fans. He, like Cashman, played down any potential rift in the organization.
“Cash is the best general manager in the game,” Levine said.
When was the last time an ownership group, ANY ownership group, wanted the team to not improve? [At least since Rachel Phelps (pic) wanted to move the Indians to South Florida, of course.] That Levine would mention the dollar amount of revenues (presumably) of the Yankees entire enterprise is a way of collaring Cashman, the line employee. Get in line, Cashman. I don’t like it but I get it. As for the “sacred obligation” comment, well that’s Levine pumping up his own relevance and an effort to pander to the fans. Not a fan.
Handling the negotiations with Boras? No, not the GM:
As far as Soriano’s contract, Levine did the majority of the negotiating with Boras. The two sides agreed on a three-year, $35 million deal that includes player opt-outs after each of the first two seasons. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he considers Soriano his eighth-inning closer and Rivera his ninth-inning closer.
I know Levine is a skilled negotiator and all that jazz, but why not let your long time GM handle the GM-y things? Perhaps because Levine is a massive control freak? Perhaps.
And a lesson for the closers-turned-set-up-guys crew… say the right things now but be prepared to pull a 180 when you’re a free agent again looking to close:
“I don’t think there is a difference pitching the eighth inning compared to the ninth inning,” said Soriano, who led the American League in saves with 45.
Aside from about $7m per year, that is. Right, Raffy?
And the coup de grace, Cashman’s quote:
“I’m charged with obviously winning a championship. I’m charged with building a farm system. I’m charged with getting the payroll down, and this certainly will help us try to win a championship. There’s no doubt about that, so that’s in the plus column, but I didn’t recommend it, just because I didn’t think it was an efficient way to allocate the remaining resources we have, and we had a lot of debate about that.
“Like everything that’s available on the free-agent market and the trade market, you discuss all of it. You make your recommendations to ownership and then they choose what direction they prefer to go given the circumstance. My plan would be patience and waiting. They obviously acted. And we are better, there’s no doubt about it.
“There’s no dispute over the player whatsoever. He’s going to help us. We are better with Soriano — there’s no doubt about that. It’s all the other stuff wrapped around the deal, the money, allocating closer type money to an eighth-inning guy, those type of things. So we’ve, the people who cover me, asked me several times my interest level in this type of a concept and I think they know directly or indirectly that was something I would have been risk-averse to and that’s still the case. I’m not here to tell you anything otherwise.”
So there’s that.
At least Cashman didn’t want to re-sign Carl Pavano, right?