Decision makers, relievers and a few links • 01.15.11
Reports of a divided Yankees front office continue to surface in the wake of the Rafael Soriano signing. It might not be a huge issue — baseball people disagree all the time — and it should come as no surprise that the people in charge of the money ultimately have the ability to spend it as they see fit. Brian Cashman might have disagreed, but he reportedly didn’t try to stand in the way when it became clear that ownership wanted to make the move, and Cashman reportedly still has the “full backing” of the Steinbrenners.
Frankly, from the very beginning, the Soriano signing never seemed like a Cashman signing. It goes against his bullpen strategy of the past three years, and it goes against his public comments of the previous week. But in the end, this is not his team, and if ownership wants to make a move, ownership can make a move.
Some other notes and links:
• Of course, good perspective on the Soriano situation comes from Tyler Kepner, who writes that at some point — probably when the signing becomes official — Cashman will have to address the perception of an organizational split, as well as the perception that he wasn’t honest when he said the Yankees would not sacrifice a first-round pick this winter. Kepner also calls the Soriano signing “a clear indictment of (Joba) Chamberlain.”
• Just a few words of my own on Chamberlain: Cashman seems to believe Chamberlain can once again be a reliable and possibly dominant reliever. Cashman seems to like Chamberlain in that spot. It seems to be ownership — and the fan base — that’s not so convinced.
• Speaking of Chamberlain, today the New York Post quoted a talent evaluator who said Chamberlain has value on the trade market but, “in the past two years his stuff has gone backwards.” The source said that there are still “some people” who believe Chamberlain can be a Major League starter.
• In a mailbag, Padres beat writer Corey Brock reports that San Diego is not expected to pursue former Yankees utility man Jerry Hairston Jr. Brock guesses that Hairston will get roughly $2 million on the free agent market.
• The A’s are reportedly in the running for Brian Fuentes. This news comes just one day after they agreed to terms with Grant Balfour. Oakland already has a very good young rotation, and it’s added some solid pieces to its weak lineup, now the A’s seem to be focused on building an awfully good bullpen leading up to young closer Andrew Bailey.
Associated Press photo of Cashman