Andy Pettitte called Brian Cashman today. The message was vague and uncertain, but the purpose was direct and to the point. Pettitte still hasn’t decided whether he’s going to retire, but he had to make sure his indecision wasn’t negatively affecting the Yankees offseason.
“If I had to bet at some point, I think he’ll play,” Cashman said. “But he’s telling me right now he’s leaning the other way. He just doesn’t want to hold us up.”
Cashman said there was nothing Pettitte said that gave him reason for optimism, he simply believes — because “this is what he always does” — that Pettitte will eventually have a change of heart and decide to pitch one more year. For now, though, it’s completely up in the air.
“He hasn’t put himself in play yet,” Cashman said. “We’re just going to stay in touch with one another… I’m focusing on what’s in play. He knows that.”
Cashman is not waiting for Pettitte. The Yankees are going to make the moves they have to make. What if Cashman spends all of his budget, and then Pettitte decides to come back?
“I never have a problem knocking on Hal’s door and asking for more money,” Cashman said. “I have a problem sometimes with Hal saying yes. I know my title is general manager, but I consider myself the director of spending for the New York Yankees. I don’t make it. I spend it.”
• While they’ve stayed in touch, the Yankees and Pettitte have never talked money. Cashman said he has no idea whether that will become a problem, but he doesn’t expect it to be an issue like it was two years ago. That, Cashman said, was a problem of communication, and there will be no such problem this time.
• Cashman would not confirm nor deny reports that he had dinner last night with Carl Crawford. His only comment on last night’s dinner: “I had steak.”
• For whatever it’s worth, Cashman never shot anyone down when they asked a Crawford question. He once again referred to the “wide net” he’s cast into the free agent and trade markets.
• Speaking of the trade market: “There are definitely pitchers out there available,” Cashman said. “And I know that we can line up with teams because of the deep farm system I think we have, and I think people recognize that. There are some players that are available on the trade market.”
• Cashman once again spoke to Kerry Wood’s agent, but said he has no idea whether Wood has been offered a closer job. He’s also not ready to push the Wood talks forward at this point. “Right now we’re going to wait on Cliff,” Cashman said. “By my choice.”
• I might have been wrong, but when Cashman said, “by my choice,” I took that as him making it clear that he’s choosing to wait right now. His choice could change at some point.
• It’s not only Wood who’s being put on hold. “There are different things that are within range,” Cashman said. “There are things that we could potentially conclude, but I described before (as) Hannibal Lecter in a straightjacket waiting on this Cliff Lee thing. It’s kind of restricting my movements a little bit.”
• Cashman would not comment on rumors of the Yankees being interested in Mark Prior.
• Cashman also would not say whether he has enough money to sign both Lee and Crawford.
• According to Cashman, Pettitte specifically said that he wants the Yankees to sign Lee.
• If some sort of opportunity presents itself and Cashman needs to stay in Orlando tomorrow night, he’s ready and willing to do that, but for now he’s planning to attend the Rule 5 draft and then get on a plane back to New York. Most likely, he’s done all he’s going to do at these Winter Meetings.
Associated Press photos