Finally out of that Pfister Hotel lobby, it’s easy to look back at the GM Meetings as a time when we learned absolutely nothing about the Yankees, but a few of Brian Cashman’s comments still stand out in my mind.
“I would sacrifice offense if I could improve my pitching.”
This was fairly late in a marathon media session on Tuesday, and the message was obvious: Cashman has a lot of big league hitters, but he’s a big believer that pitching is the “key to the kingdom” and he can never get enough of it. He’d already made the point that anyone who doesn’t have a no-trade clause is a viable trade candidate. How much offense would be willing to give up? Obviously Cashman didn’t go into detail, but he’s obviously considered the idea of sacrificing the lineup to help the pitching staff.
“No one has asked me about Granderson just because he’s a potential MVP candidate, I don’t think they want to bother.”
I have absolutely no indication that the Yankees actively want to trade Curtis Granderson, I just thought it was interesting that Cashman brought this up (especially considering, a few minutes later, he said the thing about sacrificing offense for pitching). Given last year’s production, Granderson’s contract is an absolute bargain, but he does get more expensive next season, and his club option for 2013 is $13 million. That’s not nothing. Given the fact he’s coming off a career year, is there any chance Cashman was trying to send a message of: Ask me about Grandy! Again, no indication whatsoever that Cashman wants to deal his center fielder, but he’s one of the very few GMs in the game who has a second legitimate center fielder already on the roster, and Granderson’s value is clearly sky high.
“I guess, generally, if I had a pot of money and a pot of prospects, I’d rather spend the money than the prospects, if they’re the high-end prospects.”
This was Cashman on the first day of the meetings, and a day later, Hal Steinbrenner seemed to be on board with a similar thought process (“I think every team would prefer to keep its prospects,” Steinbrenner said). It’s not necessarily a new way of thinking for Cashman, but it did seem to underscore his commitment to his truly elite young players, Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos especially. He later said specifically that Cliff Lee was a “unique circumstance” that would have led him to deal Montero, but nothing like that has presented itself since.
“I have no planned meetings with anybody right now, I can tell you that, but I wouldn’t comment on what the future may bring.”
This was on Wednesday after news broke that the Yankees were discussing/planning/expecting a meeting with C.J. Wilson in New York. Cashman made it clear that no such meeting was scheduled, and he refused to clarify whether it was the Yankees or Wilson’s agent who wanted to speak again. The thing to notice is that Cashman was clearly playing down any notion that he was aggressively going after Wilson. Maybe there will be a meeting, maybe not, but Cashman clearly didn’t want the perception that he’s go hard after the top starter on the market.
I’m not going to do something at these current costs.
This was Cashman talking specifically about the trade market. At one point he asked the gathered beat writers to name his most recent player-for-player trade. He seemed to honestly not know it off the top of his head (it was Sergio Mitre for Chris Dickerson last spring). If the offseason is about perception and expectation — and a lot of it is — Cashman was clearly creating a perception (for other GMs) of being unwilling to budge recent request, and he was creating an expectation (for the fan base) that no player swap is in the works.
Associated Press photo of Hal Steinbrenner leaving the meetings. A Cashman photo would have been better, but that’s the only Yankees AP picture I found from this week’s meetings