I love The West Wing. It’s probably my favorite television show of all time. The show’s central character was President Jed Bartlet, and whenever Bartlet came to a decision, his response was a quick and blunt, “What’s next?” There was no sense lingering in the past. It was on to the next thing.
After a major trade and a free agent signing, Brian Cashman seems to be in the same state of mind this evening.
“We’ve done OK so far,” Cashman said. “Andy was the first priority. It gives me comfort to have Andy in the fold with what we’ve already got. And we like our team. We lost 50 plus home runs due to free agency when Johnny and Matsui elected. Now I’ve acquired someone who kind of mitigates that to some degree and provides youth, and he’s signed, and athleticism. And that’s all good. But is it enough? Are we where we need to be yet? We’re not a finished product. We have areas of need. We have people within the system that we can try and may very well be the answer. It’s just, is that the right way to go right now?”
Cashman said the Curtis Granderson trade has not completely eliminated the possibility of bringing back both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, though that doesn’t seem likely and “would come at the expense of a Gardy or a Melky.”
Cashman also wouldn’t rule out the idea of making another big trade that involves multiple prospects. “It depends on the player I’d be getting,” he said. “I would in the right circumstances. I don’t like to for good reason.”
Although Cashman said there is not a defined next target — pitching or an outfielder/designated hitter — it’s clear that someone who is strictly a DH ranks low on the list. Cashman described the free market as one in which you can look any direction and find a guy who can DH. Cashman acknowledged having at least talked to John Lackey’s agent, and it seems that pitching remains his highest priority. But only pitching within reason. Beyond CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte, Cashman rattled off a list of seven in-house names who could compete for a spot in the big league rotation (Hughes, Chamberlain, Aceves, Mitre, Gaudin, Nova, McAllister. “I used to have Kennedy in that mix and I don’t now,” he said). Cashman said the group of free agent starters he’s legitimately interested in is “not big” and said last year was the right market in which to be aggressive.
“The pitching is getting more expensive in all of my conversations,” Cashman said. “If that market keeps getting higher and higher, that might change my focus.”