The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


A year of trades for the Yankees12.23.10

One year and one day after last winter’s trade for a Javier Vazquez, a look back at the Yankees trades from December to December.

PH2009120703823December 7, 2009
RHP Brian Bruney to the Nationals for OF Jamie Hoffmann
Why? Because Bruney was due for an arbitration raise and the Yankees outfield depth was woefully low.
Good move? Didn’t really matter. Bruney probably would have been non-tendered anyway, and the Yankees at least got to take a look at a guy who’s now on the Dodgers 40-man roster. No harm done. Hoffmann was a Rule 5 pick who didn’t stick. Bruney was a reliever on his way out.

December 8, 2010
RHP Ian Kennedy to the Diamondbacks, LHP Phil Coke and CF Austin Jackson to the Tigers for CF Curtis Granderson
Why? Because the Yankees were worried about Jackson’s holes and didn’t have a spot for Kennedy. In Granderson, they seemed to be getting a proven player who basically represented Jackson’s best-case scenario.
Good move? Little too early to say. Jackson, Coke and Kennedy each had good years, but Jackson showed the holes that the Yankees expected — a ton of strikeouts, not much power — and Kennedy might have benefited from the change of scenery. If Granderson continues the strides he made in the second half of last season, he’ll be better than any of the three players the Yankees sacrificed to get him.

Rangers Yankees BaseballDecember 22, 2009
CF Melky Cabrera, LHP Mike Dunn and RHP Arodys Vizcaino to the Braves for RHP Javier Vazquez and LHP Boone Logan
Why?
Because the Yankees needed consistency and durability at the back of the rotation, and those had been trademarks of Vazquez for 10 years.
Good move? No. Vazquez was a complete disappointment, but Cabrera wasn’t very good either, and Logan for Dunn was basically a wash. This seemed to be a big trade, but in the end, the left-handed relievers were the best pieces. Even Vizcaino took a step back, making only 17 starts because of a torn ligament. The Yankees got a compensation pick when Vazquez signed the Florida, so that helps make up for the loss of a very young prospect.

January 26, 2010
INF Mitch Hilligoss to the Rangers for OF Greg Golson
Why? Because the Yankees needed outfield depth much more than infield depth.
Good move? Sure. Hilligoss had a nice year — .296/.365/.370 between High-A and Double-A — but Golson played a role in New York, and he should be around to do the same next season whenever the Yankees need him. Hilligoss would still be no higher than fourth or fifth on the utility depth chart. Golson is probably at the top of the outfield call-up list.

March 9, 2010
RHP Edwar Ramirez to the Rangers for cash considerations
Why? Because Ramirez had been designated for assignment to make room for Chan Ho Park.
Good move? At least they got something for him. Ramirez actually didn’t do much more than Park. He was ultimately traded to the A’s, pitched 11 innings in the big leagues and he’s now floating through free agency, probably destined for a minor league deal somewhere.

ALCS Yankees Rangers BaseballJuly 30, 2010
RHP Zach McAllister to the Indians for OF Austin Kearns
Why? Because McAllister was quickly becoming overshadowed in Triple-A, Kearns was hitting pretty well in Cleveland and the Yankees needed a right-handed fourth outfielder.
Good move?
Looked good for a little while, but ultimately no. Through his first 17 games with the Yankees, Kearns hit .275/.373/.451 and was especially helpful during that August road trip through Texas and Kansas City, but he was dreadful in September. McAllister didn’t pitch any better for Triple-A Columbus than he had for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and he was passed by a ton of talent coming through the Yankees system, but it wasn’t worth losing him for three good weeks from Kearns.

July 31, 2010
RHP Mark Melancon and INF Jimmy Paredes to the Astros for DH Lance Berkman
Why?
Because the Yankees needed to created a platoon at designated hitter, and Berkman gave them someone who could legitimately hit lefties. Melancon’s time and come and gone, and Paredes was an afterthought in the Yankees system.
Good move? Yes. Berkman got off to a slow start, but when he came off the disabled list he hit .299/.405/.388 through the month of September, and he was better than most of the Yankees hitters in the playoffs. I’m one of the few Melancon believer still out there, but he had his chances to prove himself in New York and never did. Unless Paredes significantly exceeds expectations, this will have been a worthwhile trade.

July 31, 2010
INF Matt Cusick and RHP Andrew Shive to the Indians for RHP Kerry Wood
Why? Because the Yankees had a chance to solidify the bullpen without losing any key pieces of the farm system.
Good move? You bet. No offense to Cusick and Shive, but they were pretty far off the prospect radar in the Yankees system. Wood, meanwhile, seemed to magically bring the bullpen together to make it one of the Yankees absolute strengths down the stretch. If the Yankees had continued their playoff run, the Wood trade would have been considered one of the great turning points of the season.

November 18, 2010
1B Juan Miranda to the Diamondbacks for RHP Scottie Allen
Why?
Because Miranda is out of options and had no spot on the big league roster.
Good move? Sure. It’s too early to know whether Allen will turn into anything of value — he’s not even 20 years old yet — but Miranda was completely expendable. With Jorge Posada ready to get most of the DH at-bats and Mark Teixeira entrenched at first base, Miranda had no place in the organization and it was best for everyone involved to send him elsewhere and get something in return.

Associated Press photos of Bruney, Cabrera and Kearns

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Yankees give back, plus some notes and links12.17.10

Good work by the Yankees, who hosted their Bronx Winter Wonderland event this afternoon in the Great Hall of Yankee Stadium. The team gave toys to approximately 5,000 children from the Bronx community. The event also included food, plenty of Christmas decorations and caroling from the Bronx-based Renaissance EMS (Education through Music and Sports). Mattel donated 2,000 toys, and the Yankees spent $25,000 on additional toys for the kids.

Good stuff. And on to some notes and links for the day.

Zack Greinke apparently wants out of Kansas City. FOX Sports reports that he’s asked the Royals to trade him, and the Royals have discussed trade possibilities with multiple teams. Today Greinke also changed agents, signing with Casey Close, who represents Derek Jeter.

Chad Gaudin has landed with the Nationals, agreeing to a minor league deal.

Apparently the deal between Dennys Reyes and the Phillies is off.

Apparently the trade between the Padres and Rays is back on. Jason Bartlett being traded to San Diego was reported during the Winter Meetings, but getting it finalized took a while.

• The top position player still on the market is Adrian Beltre, and the Angels have reportedly made a “significant” offer.

Kerry Wood’s signing is official, and he acknowledged that his offseason was all about rejoining the Cubs. “It’s never been about the money,” Wood said. “It’s about being home and being here at Wrigley, which is home for me.”

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One Chicago bargain and a handful of links12.16.10

ALCS Yankees Rangers BaseballKerry Wood came up through the Cubs minor league system, and he had his best playing days in a Cubs uniform. After two years away, he wanted to be back in that organization. Apparently he wanted to be there very badly.

Today, Wood agreed to a one year deal to rejoin the Cubs bullpen. The cost: One year, $1.5 million.

Mark Feinsand confirmed what was already obvious: The asking price to pitch for the Yankees was much higher. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Wood could have played in Chicago on a one-year, $3.5-million offer from the White Sox.

Apparently more than one pitcher has chosen a team ahead of a contract this winter.

A few more links from today…

• Feinsand reports that the Yankees have had “very, very preliminary” conversations about pursuing Rafael Soriano, but Joel Sherman says those conversations won’t go anywhere. The price is far too high for a setup man.

• Bob Klapisch reported today that the Yankees were working toward a deal with lefty Pedro Feliciano. There has been rumored interest in Feliciano since early in the offseason. The Yankees might also be looking into Brian Fuentes.

• The Yankees have reportedly asked for Freddy Garcia’s medical records.

Chien-Ming Wang is on his way back to the Nationals. As you might expect, it’s a small guarantee with heavy incentives.

• The Red Sox are still making moves, including a reported deal with reliever Bobby Jenks. They also sent Eric Patterson to San Diego as the PTBNL in the Adrian Gonzalez deal.

Magglio Ordonez is going back to Detroit.

Sad story about Steven Smith, a 24-year-old Yankees fan who died Monday in a three-car accident. If you didn’t know him personally, you might very well have known him as an active member of the Yankees Twitter community.

Associated Press photo

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Once again building a bridge to Mariano12.16.10

ALCS Yankees Rangers BaseballThe Yankees are hosting their annual Holiday Food Drive this morning at the Stadium. Mariano Rivera will be there to collect donations for an hour, then he’s going to speak to the media about his new contract. It’s a two year deal that once again puts the ninth inning in safe hands for the Yankees.

The eighth inning is, as usual, up in the air.

Joba Chamberlain and Dave Robertson give the Yankees two young internal options, but the bullpen didn’t come together last year until the Yankees added Kerry Wood at the trade deadline, and bringing in a similar veteran this winter could solidify the late innings.

But the options are dwindling by the day.

Chicago took a chunk out of the market yesterday, with the White Sox agreeing to a deal with Jesse Crain, and the Cubs nearing an agreement with Wood. The Yankees are also known to be looking for a lefty, and another of those also came off the board yesterday with Randy Choate’s deal in Florida.

There are still plenty of names out there, including the top reliever on the market, Rafael Soriano. If Soriano gets a ninth-inning job, the market also offers guys like Bobby Jenks, Jon Rauch, Grant Balfour, Octavio Dotel and Chad Qualls, guys who have late-inning experience and — like so many relievers — have seen various degrees of dominance and unreliability in their careers.

Brian Fuentes, Pedro Feliciano and J.C. Romero are still available from the left side.

As the Yankees shift their offseason focus, the free agent market is no longer able to remake their rotation, and most of the top available hitters are primarily designated hitters who don’t fit the Yankees plans. But free agency could still have a significant impact on the bullpen. The ninth inning is in good hands. Might be time to solidify the seventh and eighth.

Associated Press photo of Wood

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Notes from Day 3: Cashman edition12.08.10

ALCS Yankees Rangers BaseballAndy Pettitte called Brian Cashman today. The message was vague and uncertain, but the purpose was direct and to the point. Pettitte still hasn’t decided whether he’s going to retire, but he had to make sure his indecision wasn’t negatively affecting the Yankees offseason.

“If I had to bet at some point, I think he’ll play,” Cashman said. “But he’s telling me right now he’s leaning the other way. He just doesn’t want to hold us up.”

Cashman said there was nothing Pettitte said that gave him reason for optimism, he simply believes — because “this is what he always does” — that Pettitte will eventually have a change of heart and decide to pitch one more year. For now, though, it’s completely up in the air.

“He hasn’t put himself in play yet,” Cashman said. “We’re just going to stay in touch with one another… I’m focusing on what’s in play. He knows that.”

Cashman is not waiting for Pettitte. The Yankees are going to make the moves they have to make. What if Cashman spends all of his budget, and then Pettitte decides to come back?

“I never have a problem knocking on Hal’s door and asking for more money,” Cashman said. “I have a problem sometimes with Hal saying yes. I know my title is general manager, but I consider myself the director of spending for the New York Yankees. I don’t make it. I spend it.”

All-Star-Baseball3_t300• While they’ve stayed in touch, the Yankees and Pettitte have never talked money. Cashman said he has no idea whether that will become a problem, but he doesn’t expect it to be an issue like it was two years ago. That, Cashman said, was a problem of communication, and there will be no such problem this time.

• Cashman would not confirm nor deny reports that he had dinner last night with Carl Crawford. His only comment on last night’s dinner: “I had steak.”

• For whatever it’s worth, Cashman never shot anyone down when they asked a Crawford question. He once again referred to the “wide net” he’s cast into the free agent and trade markets.

• Speaking of the trade market: “There are definitely pitchers out there available,” Cashman said. “And I know that we can line up with teams because of the deep farm system I think we have, and I think people recognize that. There are some players that are available on the trade market.”

• Cashman once again spoke to Kerry Wood’s agent, but said he has no idea whether Wood has been offered a closer job. He’s also not ready to push the Wood talks forward at this point. “Right now we’re going to wait on Cliff,” Cashman said. “By my choice.”

• I might have been wrong, but when Cashman said, “by my choice,” I took that as him making it clear that he’s choosing to wait right now. His choice could change at some point.

• It’s not only Wood who’s being put on hold. “There are different things that are within range,” Cashman said. “There are things that we could potentially conclude, but I described before (as) Hannibal Lecter in a straightjacket waiting on this Cliff Lee thing. It’s kind of restricting my movements a little bit.”

• Cashman would not comment on rumors of the Yankees being interested in Mark Prior.

• Cashman also would not say whether he has enough money to sign both Lee and Crawford.

• According to Cashman, Pettitte specifically said that he wants the Yankees to sign Lee.

• If some sort of opportunity presents itself and Cashman needs to stay in Orlando tomorrow night, he’s ready and willing to do that, but for now he’s planning to attend the Rule 5 draft and then get on a plane back to New York. Most likely, he’s done all he’s going to do at these Winter Meetings.

Associated Press photos

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Cashman notes from Winter Meetings Day 112.06.10

Yankees Wrapup BaseballWhen the Yankees beat writers walked into Brian Cashman’s suite early this evening, the Yankees general manager was sitting in a chair in the corner, spinning a football in his hands and occasionally tossing it into the air. He was wearing jeans, flip-flops, a faded Yankees t-shirt and a dark, zip-up hoodie.

Cashman had been meeting with teams and agents all day, and said he never changed out of that outfit. This is going to be a long week in Orlanda, and Cashman plans to be comfortable.

“My whole day has been on a number of different players,” he said. “Some you probably wouldn’t think would be on our radar. We covered a lot of ground today to try to assess expected value and see if it matches up with something we’re trying to do.”

Obviously, Cashman met with Cliff Lee’s representation. “While we’re in the same area, I’m going to try to meet with him as much as I possibly can,” Cashman said.

Cashman wouldn’t go into detail about those Lee conversations — and he wouldn’t say exactly which other teams and agents stopped by his suite today — but it’s clear that Lee is a primary target. When Jayson Werth signed a massive contract yesterday, it might very well have affected Lee’s asking price, but it hasn’t affected the Yankees offer.

“I know what and where we’re willing to go,” Cashman said. “It’s not going to impact us, but it may impact them.”

ALCS Yankees Rangers Baseball• The only other free agent camp Cashman acknowledged talking to today was Kerry Wood’s. The Yankees have interest in bringing Wood back for the eighth inning, but Cashman realizes Wood could get a closer opportunity elsewhere. “If he does he won’t pitch here,” Cashman said. “I won’t compete with closer money.”

• Cashman on Jorge Posada: “He’s our DH. That’s what he is, unless he plays himself off of it.”

• With that in mind, Cashman mentioned Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine as internal options at catcher. “I think we have the catching answers from within,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean that you don’t make sure that you explore additional opportunities at the same time.”

• When the Yankees non-tendered Alfredo Aceves, they made sure to let Aceves know that they’d like to have him back on a minor league deal. Cashman called that “less risky” than keeping Aceves on the 40-man.

• Before non-tendering Dustin Moseley, the Yankees offered Moseley a Major League contract that would keep Moseley out of arbitration. “They wanted to pursue something greater,” Cashman said. “I wasn’t going to tender it if I was going to be put in arbitration. I need to control our costs.”

• The three key players who had, or will have, surgery this winter — CC Sabathia, Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner — remain on track for spring training. Mark Teixeira has also progressed to the point he’s back on his normal winter routine.

• Cashman on the Yankees outfield depth: “That’s an area that we could upgrade on. Our backup situations aren’t as strong as our everyday situations.”

• There will probably be more discussion about this in the coming days, but Cashman said he doesn’t believe there are any lingering issues because of the occasionally tense Derek Jeter negotiations.

• Cashman on George Steinbrenner: “He’s a Hall of Famer. They just haven’t made it official yet.”

Associated Press photos of Cashman and Wood

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Yankees offer arbitration to only Javy Vazquez11.23.10

Yankees Rangers BaseballBrian Cashman has said the Yankees will offer arbitration to only one of their Type A-B free agents.

Javier Vazquez will be offered arbitration. No one else.

The plan would be extraordinarily risky, but Ken Rosenthal reported this afternoon that the Yankees have already been assured that Vazquez will turn down the offer. If he were to accept, Vazquez would be in for a hefty payday on a one-year deal. If he declines, Vazquez will land the Yankees a compensation draft pick. He’s a Type B free agent, and already the Nationals and Marlins seem to be showing interest.

The Yankees elected not to offer arbitration to any of their other compensation-eligible free agents: Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Lance Berkman or Kerry Wood.

There was initially a report that Wood would be offered, but the Yankees already refused an option in his contract, and arbitration would have amounted to roughly the same thing. There was never much reason to expect an arbitration offer for either Berkman or Pettitte.

As for Jeter and Rivera: A one-year deal does not seem to be a bad scenario for the Yankees, but those would be for substantial money, and it seems the Yankees aren’t willing to risk that sort of payment, even on a one-year deal.

UPDATE, 6:57 p.m.: For the record, the Yankees also declined to offer arbitration to Austin Kearns, Nick Johnson, Chad Moeller and Marcus Thames.

Associated Press photo

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Cubs could be interested in Kerry Wood11.04.10

Given the way he finished the season, my guess is a lot of baseball teams will be interested in Kerry Wood this winter. One of them, might be the team is most associated with.

ESPNChicago has reported that the Cubs would be interested in bringing Wood back if they can fit him into their payroll (that does seem to be the trick, doesn’t it). Today, the Chicago Sun Times quoted Cubs general manager Jim Hendry saying he still has a strong relationship with the team’s former phenom.

“Everyone knows I have a wonderful relationship with Kerry, and that will be a life-lasting one,” Hendry said. “But to get into specifics now … would be foolish.”

One other name mentioned in that Sun Times article: None other than Nick Johnson, who could be a cheap option at first base if the Cubs medical team decides he’ll be healthy enough to play.

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What’s left for the Yankees?10.30.10

One week ago, Brian Cashman said re-signing Joe Girardi would be the “first order of business” this offseason. Now that it’s done, the Yankees can get to work on the rest of the list.

ALCS Yankees Ready Baseball1. Re-sign Derek Jeter
Have to get this one out of the way. It’s going to be a story as long it lingers, and it’s going to get done eventually, might as well do it quickly and move on. Chances are, it’s going to be for more money and more years than Jeter’s age and numbers suggest he’s worth. Thing is, that’s the way it works. Players like Jeter are underpaid when they first get to the big leagues, and they’re overpaid as their careers come to an end. All a team can hope for is to get equal value in the middle. When’s the last time a player a signed a 10-year deal, during which he never seemed overpaid.

2. Solidify the rotation
Obviously, this is where Cliff Lee comes into the picture. Going into the season with CC Sabathia as the No. 1, Phil Hughes as the No. 3 and A.J. Burnett as the No. 4 or 5 is a pretty good start, but it only works if the Yankees get a reliable No. 2 starter.

3. Re-sign Mariano Rivera
Because he’s not The Captain, Rivera’s free agency won’t hang over the Yankees the same way as Jeter’s. But it’s still a deal that needs to get done. It might happen before the Yankees land a starter, but I’d say it ranks third in terms of priorities.

ALCS Yankees Rangers Baseball4. Make a decision in the outfield
Brett Gardner showed a lot this season, Nick Swisher took a significant step forward and Curtis Granderson turned a corner in the second half. The Yankees have a good outfield. If they want an insanely good outfield, they could make a push for Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth. If not, they still need to find a fourth outfield who can fill-in at either corner.

5. Gauge the market for Joba Chamberlain
My friend Wally Matthews made a list like this one and included more or less this very same item. It’s not that I believe Chamberlain is finished – he’s still young with a big arm – but he’s heading for arbitration, which means he about to make real money, and it’s clear the Yankees no longer view him as a potential front-line starter. If another team does, he might be more valuable to the Yankees as a trade chip than as an eighth-inning candidate.

6. Find a pitching coach
I don’t see any reason to let any other member of the coaching staff go. I’d love to see the Yankees find a spot for Dave Miley or Butch Wynegar, who have big league experience and have done great things in Triple-A, but it’s hard to find that kind of opening. Instead, they just need to find a pitching coach. If it’s Scott Aldred, great. If it’s someone outside the organization, great. Just fill the spot and tell him to look up A.J. Burnett’s house on MapQuest.

ALCS Yankees Rangers Baseball7. Don’t lose Kerry Wood’s phone number
Chances are, Wood is going to find a job pitching the ninth inning for some other team. I’m not even sure it’ll be a bad team. A contender could easily come calling offering at least a shot at the ninth inning, which is something the Yankees can’t offer him (unless No. 3 on this list goes terribly wrong). But, just in case, I’m sure someone in the front office will hold onto Wood’s number. If he’s not available, another late-inning arm would be a good idea.

8. Big bat, small ego
For the time being, the days of a fulltime, Matsui-type DH are over. But the Yankees still need a guy who can fill that spot fairly regularly, and they need him to be OK sitting fairly often as well. If he can play the field in a pinch, all the better. It’s a role Marcus Thames played very well this season. The Yankees need to find another one of those.

9. Make minor assessments
Next season, it’s entirely possible – if not likely — the Yankees will have Ivan Nova, Andrew Brackman, David Phelps, Hector Noesi, D.J. Mitchell, Lance Pendleton, Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, Jeremy Bleich, Adam Warren and George Kontos jockeying for starts at Double-A or higher. That’s 11 legitimate prospects, and that’s only counting the guys who actually got as high as Double-A this year. Depth is absolutely essential when it comes to pitching, but the Yankees have such a surplus of nearly ready arms that they could prioritize and begin looking for alternatives uses, either in trades or in the bullpen. Does anyone miss Zach McAllister right now?

ALCS Rangers Yankees Baseball10. Come up with an Andy Pettitte contingency plan
One way or another, the sooner the better when it comes to Pettitte. If he wants to come back, great. Lock up a one-year deal and consider the middle or bottom half of the rotation complete. If he doesn’t want to come back, at least the Yankees know what they’re up against. Knowing Pettitte, this decision might take a while, and the Yankees need to have a Plan B either in place or in the works.

As an aside, I mentioned that Wally Matthews published a similar to-do list immediately after the ALCS loss. I read it earlier in the week, but intentionally didn’t look back at it until after I’d finished my own. The only thing I remembered about his list was that he suggested trading Chamberlain. Our lists are very similar, mostly because the Yankees offseason needs are pretty straightforward. Frankly, we’ve been talking and writing about most of this stuff since at least the middle of the season.

Also, I came up with this list before Cashman mentioned yesterday that he values a left-handed reliever as a significant priority. I don’t see it as that big of an issue. Cashman does. I’m betting the Yankees will stick with Cashman thoughts on the matter.

Associated Press photos

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Cashman notes: Patience and priorities10.29.10

Yankees Wrapup BaseballIt took one week for the Yankees to re-sign their manager. Whatever comes next is going to take some time.

Brian Cashman said this afternoon that he has not started negotiations with any of his own free agents. He has not been given a budget, he has not explored trade targets and he has not prioritized potential signings. He has simply called the agents for Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera to let them know what to expect in the coming days.

“Monday I’m going to have a meeting in Tampa with the Steinbrenners, with Hal and Hank,” Cashman said. “From there, nothing’s really going to happen until I sit down with my bosses, and get a feel and have some discussions about the lay of the land and how I think it should be approached from our perspective. So, I have made everybody aware of that, so they’re not wondering ‘Hey, am I getting a call soon?’ or ‘Why haven’t I gotten a call.’”

The Tampa meetings will last at least two days, and Cashman said he is going into them with “no anticipation either way” about his budget for this winter.

“They have not sent me any ideas or smoke signals,” Cashman said. “We haven’t had any of those discussions. Those will start Monday and Tuesday.”

Cashman indicated that his next focus will be on filling the pitching coach vacancy — “Now I have to turn my attention to the coaching staff,” he said. — but Cashman doesn’t expect that spot to be filled nearly as quickly as the managerial opening.

“I got Joe done in a week because I had somebody right in front of me that we wanted to hire,” Cashman said. “I don’t have that with the pitching coach so it’s not going to happen very quickly. We’ll certainly talk to Mike Harkey. We’ll certainly talk to Scotty Aldred. Those are two people internally at the very least, but we’ll look at external candidates as well. That’s what we’re going to start working on, or we have started to work on. Until Joe was done, that wasn’t really able to fully start. I also have other coaches to re-sign so it’s not going to happen quick. I wish I could say it would because it’s a hugely important position and it’s vital that we get it right.”

Yankees Marte Surgery Baseball• Cashman listed two priorities for the winter: Starting rotation and left-handed reliever. The rotation was obvious, but I was surprised to hear a lefty mentioned so prominently. “If I can find a left-handed reliever who can join Boone Logan, I think that will make our choices out of the pen better for our manager,” Cashman said. “It’s easy to talk about it. It’s harder to find it. Those are the obvious things that stand out for me: Continue to improve your starting rotation, find a left-handed reliever and then get after it.”

• Cashman mentioned LHP prospect Manny Banuelos by name, but stressed that the Yankees would “like to keep him in the starting rotation.”

• Gut feeling on Pettitte coming back? “My gut doesn’t really matter,” Cashman said. “It really just matters what Andy wants to do, so it’s just not productive to have guts.”

• Kevin Long has made a big name for himself, but Cashman doesn’t expect another team to lure him away from the Yankees. “I think he’d like to stay and we’d like to keep him,” Cashman said. “I think he’s exceptional at what he does, so that creates a great climate for getting something done. But it doesn’t guarantee anything.”

• Will the Yankees carry a primary DH next year or leave that spot for guys like Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez? “I certainly have my personal preference in it of what I think we should be doing,” Cashman said. “But I think in fairness, I don’t want to get ahead of my ownership meetings. I think that is something I need to discuss with them first, what I would recommend.”

• Kerry Wood remains an attractive late-innings reliever, but it’s unclear whether the Yankees have a chance to bring him back at a cost that makes sense. “I think Dave Robertson (and) I think Joba are both qualified and capable, without question,” Cashman said. “I think Kerry Wood performed at such a level that of course he’s a player that has put himself in a position that would interest anyone who needs to improve upon their bullpen. I think it’s all relative to overall financial and what our interest levels after we get a better clearer picture on Jeter and Rivera and Pettitte. The remaining pie, if there is any remaining, I think will affect decisions like that.”

• Not picking up Wood’s option (or Berkman’s) for 2011 was strictly a financial decision. “We haven’t had any pro scouting meetings whatsoever, so we’re not in the comparative mode yet of those players vs. potential available players on the market,” Cashman said. ” They were just obvious option years that in our perspective was way too high for us to consider exercising. They were pretty easy. I don’t think the players even expected those to be picked up. They were pretty easy decisions to make.”

• Cashman said the Chicago Cubs opening did nothing to change his view or expectation about Girardi coming back beyond this season. “It didn’t do anything, to be honest,” Cashman said. “I think I picked the right manager when we started the interview process three years ago to lead this franchise. We’re proud that we have at least one World Championship to show for that in his first three years on the job.”

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