When the Yankees beat writers walked into Brian Cashman’s suite early this evening, the Yankees general manager was sitting in a chair in the corner, spinning a football in his hands and occasionally tossing it into the air. He was wearing jeans, flip-flops, a faded Yankees t-shirt and a dark, zip-up hoodie.
Cashman had been meeting with teams and agents all day, and said he never changed out of that outfit. This is going to be a long week in Orlanda, and Cashman plans to be comfortable.
“My whole day has been on a number of different players,” he said. “Some you probably wouldn’t think would be on our radar. We covered a lot of ground today to try to assess expected value and see if it matches up with something we’re trying to do.”
Obviously, Cashman met with Cliff Lee’s representation. “While we’re in the same area, I’m going to try to meet with him as much as I possibly can,” Cashman said.
Cashman wouldn’t go into detail about those Lee conversations — and he wouldn’t say exactly which other teams and agents stopped by his suite today — but it’s clear that Lee is a primary target. When Jayson Werth signed a massive contract yesterday, it might very well have affected Lee’s asking price, but it hasn’t affected the Yankees offer.
“I know what and where we’re willing to go,” Cashman said. “It’s not going to impact us, but it may impact them.”
• The only other free agent camp Cashman acknowledged talking to today was Kerry Wood’s. The Yankees have interest in bringing Wood back for the eighth inning, but Cashman realizes Wood could get a closer opportunity elsewhere. “If he does he won’t pitch here,” Cashman said. “I won’t compete with closer money.”
• Cashman on Jorge Posada: “He’s our DH. That’s what he is, unless he plays himself off of it.”
• With that in mind, Cashman mentioned Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine as internal options at catcher. “I think we have the catching answers from within,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean that you don’t make sure that you explore additional opportunities at the same time.”
• When the Yankees non-tendered Alfredo Aceves, they made sure to let Aceves know that they’d like to have him back on a minor league deal. Cashman called that “less risky” than keeping Aceves on the 40-man.
• Before non-tendering Dustin Moseley, the Yankees offered Moseley a Major League contract that would keep Moseley out of arbitration. “They wanted to pursue something greater,” Cashman said. “I wasn’t going to tender it if I was going to be put in arbitration. I need to control our costs.”
• The three key players who had, or will have, surgery this winter — CC Sabathia, Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner — remain on track for spring training. Mark Teixeira has also progressed to the point he’s back on his normal winter routine.
• Cashman on the Yankees outfield depth: “That’s an area that we could upgrade on. Our backup situations aren’t as strong as our everyday situations.”
• There will probably be more discussion about this in the coming days, but Cashman said he doesn’t believe there are any lingering issues because of the occasionally tense Derek Jeter negotiations.
• Cashman on George Steinbrenner: “He’s a Hall of Famer. They just haven’t made it official yet.”
Associated Press photos of Cashman and Wood