For a full half hour, Brian Cashman stood in the back of a banquet room and used a lot of words to say very little. This first day of the GM Meetings was coming to a close, and Cashman knew he wouldn’t able to say much.
“All the great words you can already predict,” he said as way of a warning. “Preliminary stages. Kicking the tires. … There’s something I typically say every winter that you guys throw back at me, like yeah, I have used that. It’ll come to me when I answer something.”
Sure enough, it came to him within seconds.
“I couldn’t say. I wouldn’t say.”
So what could Cashman say? What would he say? Well, it wasn’t much, but here are the highlights.
He believes (and hopes) Andy Pettitte will decide to play again
“I talked to Andy a few days after we got eliminated,” Cashman said. “In that conversation, he was going to take his family away, his son was playing in a tournament. He just said he’s going to take some time, talk to his family. It wasn’t going to take long. I didn’t ask how long ‘long’ was, but he’ll call me. I’m not going to push him. He’ll let me know when he’s made a final decision about whatever he’s choosing to do. I hope he plays. I believe that it’s in his blood that he wants to play. I believe that, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. But I think he wants to play, and I’m hoping he’ll call and tell me that.”
He doesn’t expect Mariano Rivera’s contract to be a problem
“He obviously wants to be here, and we want him back,” Cashman said. “That’s the hard part. So I’m confident we’ll be able to work through the issues, whatever they are.”
He doesn’t expect to get anything officially done during these meetings
“On the front end, it’s baby steps for us,” Cashman said. “We have qualifying offers out there, which if you add up, it’s a lot of money. I don’t foresee us really being able to do anything until we have decisions made on those qualifying offers regardless. So that should give me some cover until Friday. … I’ve got a little bit of an idea of which players are available on the trade market, but maybe I leave here with some other candidates that I wasn’t aware of, or you drill down in further conversation and you see if you can pry a guy that maybe isn’t available but you can try to take from somebody or convince them to give up. We’ll see. I don’t know.”
He still has no plans of trading Alex Rodriguez
“I’ve already been on record right after the postseason, we’re not trading Alex,” Cashman said. “So hopefully the Alex stuff stops. I’m reiterating, we’re not trading Alex Rodriguez. I’ve talked to every team in baseball, I have not offered Alex in any trade, and you’ll be able to confirm that with them. … No, (no team has asked about Rodriguez’s availability). They probably read my comments.”
Michael Pineda’s rehab is on track, but he’s still not in the immediate picture
“I think we’re going to put him off to the side,” Cashman said. “His rehab will take him into — which is going fine, but he’s just flat-ground throwing – but it will take him into late May (or) June. I think it’s best for us to pretend he’s not even there and then have him sneak up on us. And I hope he does, but I’m not going to count on him. I don’t think that’s going to be fair. Our fans need us to obviously put something there that you feel good about, and I don’t want to put something there that will take care of it in April and May and it’s kind of locked in, from June on we’re going to have this guy. That would be a mistake. He’ll be ready when he’s ready, and we’ll be happy to take him. But to count on him would be wrong.”
David Phelps is still considered a starter within the organization
“I don’t pencil him in anywhere right now, but I think he’s best as a starter,” Cashman said. “Good starters can all go to the pen. Pens are where failed starters go. He can do that. All our starters can do that. … Mo was a failed starter. Sorry Mo. The only failure he ever had.”
• Robinson Cano was named one of the top five finalists for the MVP award. Honestly, after watching this team all year, I don’t think I could have put Cano in my top five on an MVP ballot. Top 10 probably, but not top five. I probably would have put Derek Jeter higher.
• Jeter will not be able to play in the World Baseball Classic because of his ankle injury.
• Cashman dismissed any concerns about Jeter being able to play shortstop in the wake of his ankle injury. Cashman said the team’s medical staff is telling him Jeter will have time to train and be his old self. “He’s non-weight bearing until January,” Cashman said. “Despite that, all is good on that end.”
• Moving Curtis Granderson to left field is a possiblity, so is having a lineup with two light-hitting outfielders in Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki. Cashman wasn’t really in the rule-things-out mode.
• Cashman has spoken to the agents for all of the Yankees free agents, but he gave no indication of how far those conversations have gone.
Associated Press photos