This time of the year, it’s hard to get many specifics from Brian Cashman. Obviously it’s not in his best interest to say who exactly he’s trying to acquire, or exactly how much he’s willing to spend, and he didn’t give many details during today’s coat drive in Manhattan.
But he did admit that last winter’s budget was stretched a little bit because Russell Martin became available, and he made it clear that the Yankees spending plans are always open for debate.
“There’s always the target area (for the payroll),” Cashman said. “But obviously we’ve always been in the position thankfully that depending on what becomes available, how it looks, what our current circumstances are, if we’re quote unquote in trouble, we have an ownership that’s receptive to having conversations obviously regarding that. I’ll give you an example.
“Like last year, Russell Martin became available so we stretched to make that work. There wasn’t an intention there. But that was something that he allowed me to do a little bit more on because … we weren’t expecting that. We were going to go with the young catchers. But when he became non-tendered, and if we could get a deal at a certain amount, it took a lot of conversations with Hal Steinbrenner. He allowed that to happen and it was a real big benefit for us and we appreciate that.
“So you have those give and takes that take place. Sometimes it’s no, and sometimes it’s yes, but obviously the flexibility, as you already know, there’s no set number where you can’t exceed it that obviously exists in other environments.”
• Cashman said he still hasn’t talked to Jorge Posada or Posada’s representation. “I’ve got to talk to Seth and Sam Levinson, his agents,” Cashman said. “I’ve got to talk to Jorgie. He’s been a fantastic Yankee, but we’ve made no determination ultimately on (whether he’ll be back). I’m not ready to talk publicly about anything until we’ve had a chance to talk to Jorgie and his agents.”
• Ivan Nova had a routine check up with Dr. Ahmad yesterday and everything was fine. “Full clearance,” Cashman said. “That forearm strain is completely gone.”
• Joba Chamberlain continues to progress from Tommy John: “I could tell you right now (he’ll be ready by) the summer time, he’ll tell you the spring,” Cashman said. “The one thing on Joba that we probably have to be careful about, he wants it yesterday. He’s working his tail off. He’s going to try do everything he possibly can to be ready as soon as he possibly can, and ahead of schedule, that’s where we have to make sure we work with rehab personnel that he takes his time.”
• Cashman said he has not heard whether Eric Chavez has decided to play or retire next year.
• The Yankees knew Jonathan Sanchez was available on the trade market, but Cashman said the Yankees made no attempt to get him and did not feel like they missed out on him. “I know there was a report out there that we were disappointed,” Cashman said. “We were aware, but no. We didn’t have any trade discussions on it.”
• The Yankees have discussed their coaching staff, but Cashman would not comment on which coaches will be back next year. He said that announcement will wait until the staff is finalized.
• Has Cashman gotten any calls on his catching depth? “There are definitely teams that, if they feel they have a chance to get their hands on them, there would be interest in those guys,” Cashman said. “I’ve had a lot of teams express, if you’re ever going to do anything there, mark us down (as being interested).”
• Cashman said there will be some conversations about specific things the Yankees want their individual players to work on this win, but those conversations haven’t taken place yet. “We enter the winter process letting them get away from it,” Cashman said, “then getting their conditioning going in the right direction.”
Associated Press photos