(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)
In a story
earlier today this past Saturday for The Post, Joel Sherman reported that the decision to trade for Alfonso Soriano was ultimately ownership's decision and one that GM Brian Cashman did not endorse. Sherman cites 2 non-Yankee executives who said Cash believed the Yankees' cash and prospect assets could be better spent than on Soriano. While not directly confirming the report, Cash's lengthy statement to The Post in response was telling:
“I would say we are in a desperate time. Ownership wants to go for it. I didn’t want to give up a young arm. But I understand the desperate need we have for offense. And Soriano will help us. The bottom line is this guy makes us better. Did ownership want him? Absolutely, yes. Does he make us better? Absolutely, yes. This is what Hal wants, and this is why we are doing it.”
It's cleverly stated so that he's not saying anything negative about Soriano or being dishonest about the Yankees' position, and kudos for that. But that last statement tells the whole story and it's one that continues to be told about the Yankee front office this year.
For Cash, this is just the latest in a series of notable quotes he's made this year, although this one is a lot less headline-grabbing than telling his starting third baseman to shut the f*@K up or blatantly throwing his pitching coach under the bus. It comes off as another attempt by Cash to distance himself from ownership's direction and attempt to protect himself from having the finger of blame pointed at him for the team's struggles this season. It's also another decision on his part to speak out that makes me think he really is tired of these games with the Steinbrenners and is trying to get himself not re-signed when his contract comes up.
For the Steinbrenners, this the latest example of them stupidly chasing names for monetary and off-the-field gains without considering the stance of their baseball people or the relationship that on-field performance has to off-field recognition. That assumes that Sherman's report is true, but looking back at the past decisions that were Steinbrenner-approved there's little reason to not make that assumption. A-Rod's new deal in '07, Jeter's new deal in '08, the Rafael Soriano signing, the Ichiro signing, and now the Soriano trade. All big names, all big money, and with the exception of Rafael Soriano all with the idea of extra money being made off the fans because of the players involved having "star power."
At the end of the day, Alfonso Soriano is going to help the Yankees. He's a better and more dangerous right-handed hitter than they have anywhere else in the lineup right now. The route to get to him, and the reasoning behind the decision, are up for debate and most of the time the Yankees come up on the losing end of that debate. They've once again added an aging player on a multi-year deal and committed guaranteed money to him in 2014 when they're supposed to be cutting payroll to get under $189 million. I believe Cash is smart enough to realize that's an idiotic strategy and one that's going to result in an even worse team next year. Based on their track record, I can't say the same about ownership.
(Photo courtesy of USATSI)