For the first time in public, Cashman admitted what has become increasingly evident: That his job has changed since the Steinbrenner sons took control of the team.
“The dynamics are changing with us. When I signed up with this current three-year deal, and this is the last year of it, it was with full authority to run the entire program. George had given me that. But things have changed in this third year now with the emergence of Hal and Hank Steinbrenner and that started this winter,” he said, “I’m learning as I go along, too. But it is different. But one thing is that I’ve been with this family, the Steinbrenner family, for well over 20 years. So I’m focused fully on doing everything I possibly can to assist them in their emergence now as decision makers.”
Cashman’s contract runs out in October. Asked whether he wanted to return, he didn’t answer directly.
“Because of all the work that gets involved with doing the job, it kind of prevents me from really looking ahead past this year,” he said. “I’m just doing everything I possibly can to assist the transition with the new manager, the new owners, with the involvement now with the Steinbrenner sons. And then the rest will take care of itself at another time.”
Cashman nearly left the Yankees after the 2005 season before agreeing to a three-year deal that included widespread control over baseball decisions. It’s clear from these quotes that Cashman’s power has eroded since Hank and Hal Steinbrenner came to power. At the moment, there is an internal struggle over whether to pursue Johan Santana.
“Right now, the Red Sox and Yankees, at least, are in the middle of this Johan Santana stuff,” Cashman said. “What’s the right thing for the now? What’s the right thing for the future? These are the wrestling matches that go on in the organizations and you have very spirited conversations about what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Cashman and Epstein were joined by Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi, agent Scott Boras and Red Sox analyst Bill James. That’s an impressive group.