Brian Cashman said he’s in no position to dictate the pace in his negotiations with Cliff Lee, but he’s ready to take the next step if Lee’s ready for an offer.
“If they’re willing to take one and they’re ready to close something out, I’m willing to get serious,” Cashman said. “We’re just waiting for them to get to that position.”
This comes on a rather bizarre day in the ongoing Lee saga. Some reports suggest the Washington Nationals are heavily involved. Jon Heyman is hearing two teams are willing to offer seven years, but there’s no indication of who those teams might be.
“I know what we are willing to do,” Cashman said. “I know how far we’re willing to go. We’d love to add Cliff Lee to the Yankee rotation. There’s no doubt about that. He knows that. I’ve got a great working relationship with the agent. The player has, I think, good ties to some of the players on this team. At the end of the day, it’s business. It’s all business. He’s going to weigh the opportunities presented to him and the offer presented to him and the locales presented to him – whatever they are – and measure it against whatever we’re willing to do. He’ll make a call. He’ll make a decision here at some point. We just have to respect the process, respect the player and his family and their intent and interest.”
Joe Girardi today acknowledged the obvious: That there is no Lee substitute on the market. If the Yankees don’t get Lee, and still want to add a front-line pitcher, they’ll have to make a trade. Of course, Cashman is already talking about alternatives, and keeping an eye on the “large net” he’s cast throughout baseball.
“Pitching is the key to the kingdom,” Cashman said. “If we can improve upon the pitching, great. Obviously we’ve been in the situation (in the past) where we’ve decided we can’t, so you ramp up the offense even more so. I’ve been there and done that, and I’m not afraid to do that again. I like what we have. Can I improve upon it? I think there are possibilities there. First preference, we go to the pitching side, but after a while, you might change your focus a little bit. That’s why I’ve got a large net cast. I’ll be able to adjust rather quickly if we choose to do so.”
Associated Press photo