It took one week for the Yankees to re-sign their manager. Whatever comes next is going to take some time.
Brian Cashman said this afternoon that he has not started negotiations with any of his own free agents. He has not been given a budget, he has not explored trade targets and he has not prioritized potential signings. He has simply called the agents for Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera to let them know what to expect in the coming days.
“Monday I’m going to have a meeting in Tampa with the Steinbrenners, with Hal and Hank,” Cashman said. “From there, nothing’s really going to happen until I sit down with my bosses, and get a feel and have some discussions about the lay of the land and how I think it should be approached from our perspective. So, I have made everybody aware of that, so they’re not wondering ‘Hey, am I getting a call soon?’ or ‘Why haven’t I gotten a call.’”
The Tampa meetings will last at least two days, and Cashman said he is going into them with “no anticipation either way” about his budget for this winter.
“They have not sent me any ideas or smoke signals,” Cashman said. “We haven’t had any of those discussions. Those will start Monday and Tuesday.”
Cashman indicated that his next focus will be on filling the pitching coach vacancy — “Now I have to turn my attention to the coaching staff,” he said. — but Cashman doesn’t expect that spot to be filled nearly as quickly as the managerial opening.
“I got Joe done in a week because I had somebody right in front of me that we wanted to hire,” Cashman said. “I don’t have that with the pitching coach so it’s not going to happen very quickly. We’ll certainly talk to Mike Harkey. We’ll certainly talk to Scotty Aldred. Those are two people internally at the very least, but we’ll look at external candidates as well. That’s what we’re going to start working on, or we have started to work on. Until Joe was done, that wasn’t really able to fully start. I also have other coaches to re-sign so it’s not going to happen quick. I wish I could say it would because it’s a hugely important position and it’s vital that we get it right.”
• Cashman listed two priorities for the winter: Starting rotation and left-handed reliever. The rotation was obvious, but I was surprised to hear a lefty mentioned so prominently. “If I can find a left-handed reliever who can join Boone Logan, I think that will make our choices out of the pen better for our manager,” Cashman said. “It’s easy to talk about it. It’s harder to find it. Those are the obvious things that stand out for me: Continue to improve your starting rotation, find a left-handed reliever and then get after it.”
• Cashman mentioned LHP prospect Manny Banuelos by name, but stressed that the Yankees would “like to keep him in the starting rotation.”
• Gut feeling on Pettitte coming back? “My gut doesn’t really matter,” Cashman said. “It really just matters what Andy wants to do, so it’s just not productive to have guts.”
• Kevin Long has made a big name for himself, but Cashman doesn’t expect another team to lure him away from the Yankees. “I think he’d like to stay and we’d like to keep him,” Cashman said. “I think he’s exceptional at what he does, so that creates a great climate for getting something done. But it doesn’t guarantee anything.”
• Will the Yankees carry a primary DH next year or leave that spot for guys like Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez? “I certainly have my personal preference in it of what I think we should be doing,” Cashman said. “But I think in fairness, I don’t want to get ahead of my ownership meetings. I think that is something I need to discuss with them first, what I would recommend.”
• Kerry Wood remains an attractive late-innings reliever, but it’s unclear whether the Yankees have a chance to bring him back at a cost that makes sense. “I think Dave Robertson (and) I think Joba are both qualified and capable, without question,” Cashman said. “I think Kerry Wood performed at such a level that of course he’s a player that has put himself in a position that would interest anyone who needs to improve upon their bullpen. I think it’s all relative to overall financial and what our interest levels after we get a better clearer picture on Jeter and Rivera and Pettitte. The remaining pie, if there is any remaining, I think will affect decisions like that.”
• Not picking up Wood’s option (or Berkman’s) for 2011 was strictly a financial decision. “We haven’t had any pro scouting meetings whatsoever, so we’re not in the comparative mode yet of those players vs. potential available players on the market,” Cashman said. ” They were just obvious option years that in our perspective was way too high for us to consider exercising. They were pretty easy. I don’t think the players even expected those to be picked up. They were pretty easy decisions to make.”
• Cashman said the Chicago Cubs opening did nothing to change his view or expectation about Girardi coming back beyond this season. “It didn’t do anything, to be honest,” Cashman said. “I think I picked the right manager when we started the interview process three years ago to lead this franchise. We’re proud that we have at least one World Championship to show for that in his first three years on the job.”