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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Video: Cashman talks Soriano, A-Rod, Jeter and more

Posted by: vmercogliano - Posted in Misc on Jul 26, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

It’s been a wild afternoon here in the Bronx, so rather than pregame notes, here is a breakdown of Brian Cashman’s lengthy press conference.


Alfonso SorianoHow early did you target Soriano? “Well, we’ve been obviously trying to improve our offense to no avail this season. The available players in the market place, or the expected players that you’d think would be available in the marketplace, we’ve had to wait. I’ve talked to (Cubs GM) Theo (Epstein) on a number of occasions, and ultimately, it just feels like this week – and I feel like it’s going to continue – that opposing teams are starting to be willing to try to conclude things. By far, he is the best available bat to date – one that I could certainly get my hands wrapped around. I think that there might be some other bats that become available here over time, as well. I don’t know if I can predict whether we can secure those guys, because obviously you’re going to be in competition in terms of getting them. But this was one that was a match that we could make with the Cubs, and a player that has been here before and loved playing here and was very interested in returning. I know we’re going to be better for it. We’ve obviously been decimated – especially against left-handed pitching – which is something that he’s been very good at. So, all hands on deck.”
Was this trade something that you wanted to get done by today? “Well, we’ve wanted to for some time. I think all Yankee fans have seen this team. We’re fighting; we’ve got a lot of guys who are professionals and they’re competing their tail off, but on the offensive side, we’ve been limited due to injury. So, we have had an interest for some time to upgrade when we could. We’ve done some smaller things – whether it’s promotions from within, whether it’s waiver claims, we did a trade towards the end of spring training – but this is the first opportunity we’ve had to address some more offense for us. It would have been done sooner if we could have.”
Do you expect to make more upgrades to this club? “That’s not going to stop. I don’t know if we will be able to or not, but ownerships commitment is still the same. They have a strong desire to reinforce this team and find a way to get into the playoffs. This season is now shorter, and the best way to do that is get everybody healthy, as well as reinforcing if there’s any possible upgrades that we can match up on… Ultimately, trades and reinforcements from the disabled list will put us in much better position to make the playoffs.”
How important is it that Soriano provides some lightness in the clubhouse? “I do know that, in the scouting tools that we have, we do try to stay away from players that – over the years, we used to be attracted to all kinds of players and all types of personalities. If they could play, that’s all that mattered. I do think with the evolution of social media and the explosion of the internet and ESPN – everything – having high-character guys that work hard and get along with everyone, and obviously have talent to boot, is important. I did not acquire Soriano to lighten up our clubhouse, because I do think that our clubhouse is a really tight-knit group. They care about trying to win, they care about winning and they work extremely hard. We are not used to running out the type of talent that we’ve been running out because of these injuries. But we’ve been running out a team with a big heart and dedication and commitment, with responsibility. We have guys in there who are getting more opportunities than maybe they would have gotten, and they are doing everything in their power to take advantage of it. We are in striking distance of a playoff spot because of that effort, regardless of the lack of talent… Soriano, obviously, is a very talented guy. He’s not the same player that he used to be, but he certainly provides some thunder from the right side that we are lacking. And yeah, he’s a good guy. He’s always been a good guy and he’s always had a good smile. When we had him here, he was young, and I have heard from Theo Epstein about the impact that he had over there and how well he was liked in their clubhouse and by their fan base.”
What does Travis Hafner have to show to stay on this team? “He’s a hitter. I know he’s struggled since April. The first concern would be that his history has been health. He’s healthy; that’s the most important thing. Then it comes down to, I know he’s gotten a number of days rest here in this most recent series with Texas. He’s in there tonight, last I checked, and so one thing I’ve always been able to count on from watching Travis in his career is that, when he’s healthy, he can hit. He has struggled here recently for an extended period of time. I’d say the only thing that he needs to do is hit; what he does best. He’s another guy that has high-character. He’s a great person and he’s well-liked in that clubhouse. He cares about winning and contributing in a positive way, and I suspect that is beating him up and working against him right now, that he’s not playing as well as he’s capable of playing. But we still have confidence. I know that every time he comes to the plate, he’s capable of a lot… He has struck out a little bit more lately than normal and he has walked less. Those are the facts, but his outs have been hard… We have a lot of sophisticated stuff, like his hit velocity, ball off the bat is still high… We just do need to get the results going; for him and for other guys. He’s still here for a reason, because we believe that there is upside there. With that bat in this stadium, we’d like to take advantage of it.”
What is the bigger challenge when making trades: Giving up prospects or future luxury tax concerns? “It’s always a challenge. I don’t want to give up prospects – I just don’t… It’s just would I want to give up those, is the problem. Sometimes I might need some help in that category, cause listen, ownership wants things to get done, also. You’re always balancing out your conversations about the present and the future. Presently, we’re not worrying about the future as much as the present. Corey Black has a big arm, and so the Cubs got one of the guys in our system who is a flame-thrower. He can get up to 96, and as they’re going in their direction, this makes a lot of sense for them. Obviously, presently where we’re sitting, this makes a lot of sense for us. But those are tough things to have. That’s why you get in the room with a group and present things everyday to the owners, and then you map out a course of action. But I definitely have stuff in the system to pull things down… It’s also competing with these other clubs. This market is really thin on offense, so if someone comes to the marketplace with a bat, they’re going to have a lot of people to talk to. Pitching seems to be out there a lot, but the bats aren’t. That’s why moving now when the opportunity is there makes a lot of sense.”


Alex RodriguezWere you surprised or upset about A-Rod expressing some mistrust with the organization in yesterday’s WFAN interview? “I’m not going to comment, really, on the Alex stuff. Feel free, I guess, to reach out to Alex and ask him. It’s something that’s hard to keep up with and follow. I can just provide you with the facts, and that’s what I’ll continue to do. we’re running a baseball team, and I will provide you with the most accurate information that I can provide on a daily basis about anyone and everybody who is either healthy on that field or hurt.”
Did he do anything today physically? “Alex was in Tampa today. He is going through the rehab protocols that we went over on that conference call yesterday. Today’s protocol was treatment, and I believe a recumbent bike. That’s it. Tomorrow he is scheduled to go out on the field and do some defensive drills, and hit off of a tee and toss. And do some conditioning, I believe. Today was not a baseball day.”
Have you heard anything about A-Rod’s involvement with Biogenesis? “No comment.”
At any point do Alex’s comments become an annoyance or a distraction? “I’m not going to comment. At this stage, we’re keeping the eye on the ball. At this stage, the eye is on the 25-man roster and how we can improve it… The extra noise, I’m not going to comment on.”
Is it bothersome that the medical staff is being questioned? “We have a great medical staff, so I can just tell you that. There have been no missteps. Everything that I’ve told you and that I said on the conference call yesterday are facts… It’s very simple, and that is our intent… If anybody wants to utilize the process in place with the union, go right ahead. It’s not something that we’re afraid of.”
Does a possible A-Rod suspension allow you to consider taking on more salary? “No.”
Are you guys trying to get A-Rod to stop with the radio appearances and saying things that contradict the club? “No comment.”


Is your expectation that Jeter will play tomorrow? “I haven’t talked to our doctor yet. I know Derek has been working with the club on the road, and through that, he’s going to be assessed by the doctor today. I’ll get an update on that when I get in the clubhouse.”
Is there a possibility that he’ll do a minor league rehab? “Until I get with the doctor and get his assessment and talk to Derek Jeter and talk to our training staff about the next step – the next step in this process is about the doctor assessing where he’s at right now. Obviously, he’s come a long way since we made the decision when we were going into Fenway Park that we were going to DL him when he wanted to play and be out there. We felt that it wasn’t in his best interest – or ours – to do that yet. We didn’t think he was ready for that physically because of the quad strain… He is now doing a lot of baseball activities, but if it’s something that he’ll be ready for tomorrow, I can’t answer that yet.”

Video by Vincent Z. Mercogliano/Photos by Associated Press




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