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15 years ago  ::  Dec 03, 2006 - 6:08PM #1
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December 3, 2006 -- When George Steinbrenner handed the Yankees to Brian Cashman following the 2005 season, one of the most impatient people in the world was turning to a man who has become one of the most patient in baseball.

Gone are the days when the Yankees were the kings of impulse shopping. They still spend - Kyle Farnsworth, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu, for example - but Cashman is quietly gaining a reputation within baseball as a man who will wait. That's how he landed Damon last December for four years and $52 million when Damon was looking for a seven-year deal. In other years, the Boss would have given Damon what he wanted, over-paid for Abreu, and Barry Zito would be a Yankee today after the pitching fell apart against the Tigers in the ALDS.

Zito may still wear pinstripes, but it won't be for $15 million a year for six years.

With every other GM in baseball, Cashman will surface in Orlando, Fla., Sunday night for the start of the winter meetings, where rumors fly faster than the late-night whiskey gets poured.

"If it makes sense, we will look at it," Cashman said of his approach to the free-agent and trade markets.

Here is a look at the five things the Yankees may do:

1. Stay in touch with agents Alan and Randy Hendricks concerning Andy Pettitte's future. Randy said earlier this week Pettitte would decide by Christmas if he is going to retire or return. If it's the latter, and Pettitte wants to leave Houston, the Yankees will be the favorite to land the lefty.

2. Everybody says Dontrelle Willis isn't on the block. That won't keep Cashman from monitoring what other clubs are going to offer the Marlins for the type of pitcher (young and left-handed) the Yankees could team with Chien-Ming Wang and Phil Hughes and build a rotation around for years. Melky Cabrera gives the Yankees a chip to be part of a package for a starting pitcher.

3. Entertain offers for Farnsworth. He is owed $10.75 million over the next two seasons. Though he wasn't a bust in his first year as a Yankee, there are concerns about a back that locks too much. A return to the NL - he came from Atlanta - and a change of scenery may help. Scott Proctor's development has him ready to handle the eighth inning, which was Farnsworth's job.

4. Stay on top of what Shea Hillenbrand will do. Many believe Hillenbrand has two options: the Yankees and Angels. Cashman's patience already has paid off because Hillenbrand originally was looking for a three-year deal and now may accept a two-year pact to play first base. The Yankees are looking for a right-handed first baseman so Jason Giambi can be the full-time DH.

5. Cashman talked to Scott Boras at the GM meetings last month in Naples, Fla. Remember, Boras represented Damon last year and Damon took less years to be a Yankee. Could the same scenario develop with Zito, clearly the gem of a very weak free-agent pitching market?

If Zito is looking for $90 million over six seasons, the Yankees are out. However, if the price and years shrink, they will be in the mix because their current rotation makes a lot of people nervous when it comes to competing with the Red Sox during the regular season, never mind the postseason.

15 years ago  ::  Dec 03, 2006 - 6:46PM #2
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I agree this is a good article. Cashman isn't agressive, and sometimes it works out because as the market goes on prices will lower.
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