Just got home from the World Series DVD premier where Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi were asked one or two questions about being on the red carpet but were ultimately peppered with hot stove questions. Girardi said he’s talked to both Johnny Damon and Andy Pettitte, but he hasn’t talked to either about coming back next year. Those have been friendly, cordial conversations. Not let’s-get-down-to-business conversations.
Even if Girardi wanted to make a business phone call, the Yankees aren’t ready for those just yet.
“I’ve had my pro scouting meetings, now I’m talking to ownership about budgets,” Cashman said. “Obviously we’re working through every level on that. We haven’t game planned yet. We’re obviously going through everything that transpired from the meetings, but at the same time, now we’re meeting with ownership. Once I get confirmed numbers, then we can start putting together some ideas. I have not reached out to any agents really yet. I’ll talk to our guys first, and after I have conversations with our guys, I’ll be full blown into the market place.”
By “our guys” Cashman meant the Yankees’ free agents. Even if the team is looking to go in a different direction, Cashman will let his guys know what the Yankees are thinking before making any moves.
“I’ve had a number of agents call me,” Cashman said. “I don’t want to make the mistake of having a conversation with somebody else’s agent and then it plays out as if I’m pursuing that guy and someone misinterprets that and thinks we’re not pursuing our guys. We’re not even at that stage right. I’m going to try to be very careful and respectful to our players first, make sure they’re aware of where they are in the process.”
Once again, Cashman reiterated that last year’s free agent signings will make this winter much easier. The big pieces are in place. Girardi said the first thing the Yankees need to address is the rotation, and while Cashman didn’t assign a top priority, he did say that the bullpen ranks behind the rotation, left field and designated hitter.
“Is that an area of obvious need? No,” Cashman said. “I think you have to look more at the rotation. You have to look obviously at left field. Our discussion will have to be whether you retain a Johnny Damon, whether you promote an Austin Jackson or you look elsewhere altogether. The rotation, you never have enough starting pitching. What are you going to do with DH? I think all of those situations are a little bit more of a obvious priority than the bullpen at this point.”
UPDATE, 9:40 p.m.: I’m going back through some notes from tonight.
Cashman on whether the Yankees are going to try to get younger: “You always want to be younger, but being younger only with the idea of getting better.”
Cashman on whether the Yankees are going to try to cut payroll: “I think the big picture is to be real efficient with how we allocate our resources. I think last year is a good example that depending on who it is, we can step up in a big way, but I think we’re going to try to be careful. What careful means, it doesn’t necessarily mean slow, we’re just going to make sure that we try to spend it wisely and make the right commitments for us for the present and the future.”
UPDATE, 9:55 p.m.: Girardi said his conversations with Pettitte have given him no idea whether Pettitte is leaning toward retirement or pitching.
“He’s been busy,” Girardi said. “I know he had a golf tournament and Thanksgiving got here quickly. I’m sure he’ll take his normal amount of time.”
UPDATE, 9:58 p.m.: Girardi’s line about the need to address the rotation.
“I think the first thing you have to address is our rotation,” Girardi said. “Right now if you looked at our starters you’d say that we have two starters for sure and then you have a mix of some other guys, so I think that’s probably the first thing that we have to address. But I think that’s probably first on everyone’s list, pitching.”