Apparently, at some point yesterday, Mark Teixeira told Marc Carig* that CC Sabathia is the best free agent signing in Yankees history. It’s a bold statement two years into a seven-year contract, but Teixeira likes to back his guys and Sabathia has been awfully impressive.
As luck would have it, Brian Cashman was in Joe Girardi’s office this afternoon when the beat writers got their private pregame session with the Yankees manager. Carig asked Cashman about Teixeira’s statement, and Cashman knew exactly what to do with it.
“Just to piss Reggie off, yes, he’s definitely the best free agent signing,” Cashman said.
It was, as you might expect, hilarious.
Truth is, it’s a little too early to judge the Sabathia signing as a whole. It’s been very good so far — “We probably don’t get to the postseason without CC a couple of times,” Girardi said — but it’s hard to put two years of Sabathia up against Reggie Jackson or Catfish Hunter.
“There’s a long way to go,” Cashman said. “A lot of those free agent signings that (George Steinbrenner) did back in the 70s went back-to-back.”
Eventually focus of the pregame session moved back to Girardi, but at some point Cashman jumped back into the conversation.
“I’ve got a free agent for you,” he said. “The best free agent that I was involved with signing was El Duque. Because he didn’t cost us any money and he won a ton of games.”
• Girardi said he expects to use his regular right-handed lineup tomorrow. There likely won’t be any surprising changes at any point, unless Francisco Cervelli catches a game. Given C.J. Wilson’s success against lefties, there was some talk of starting Austin Kearns tonight. “We talked about it a little bit,” Girardi said. “But you could say that about a lot of left-handers we’ve faced. We feel like Grandy is a different guy and Gardy puts (together) a tough at-bat. Gardy’s not like a guy who hits .200 off lefties. Gardy puts some tough at-bats in there, and there are a lot of different ways Gardy can get on.”
• In terms of catching Jorge Posada, tomorrow does not count as a day game after a night game. Girardi said he expects Posada to be out there.
• The Yankees still haven’t decided whether Posada will catch A.J. Burnett in Game 4.
• Speaking of Game 4… If the Yankees are down 0-3 heading into that game, Sabathia would seem to be an option on short rest. “It’s not even something we have discussed yet,” Girardi said. “Your plan is to try to win every day.”
• Alex Rodriguez is going to get booed — a lot — in tonight’s game. “Alex is used to coming into environments like this. I don’t think Alex makes too much of it. He’s had to go back to Seattle a number of times. He’s had to go back to Texas a number of times. Wherever you go in our division (he’d booed). I wouldn’t think Alex would get caught up in it. I think he’ll just go out and play like he always does.”
• Someone asked Girardi how many at-bats makeup a large enough sample size to be meaningful. He said 15 to 20 at-bats carries weight, but it also depends on how recently those at-bats happened. “We also have statistics that tell you how good of an at-bat it was,” Girardi said. “You can have a 4-for-5 and have four dribblers. We have statistics that tell us that.”
• You might remember that Julio Borbon had that great bunt play in the last Yankees series here in Arlington. “He could do it again,” Girardi said. “Their grass is thick here, so the chances of the ball getting to a first baseman really quick really isn’t great.”
* Speaking of Carig: There are times when you hear another reporter’s line of questioning, realize what they’re writing and think it’s a good idea for a story. As an ALCS preview, Marc wrote about a group of Yankees could be emerging as their next core. Check it out.
Associated Press photos of Girardi and Cashman