|With 1 year left on his contract, Yankees GM Brian Cashman not thinking about 2009|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 05 January 2008 16:25|
With one year left on his contract and senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner leaning toward pursuing a trade for Minnesota ace Johan Santana, Cashman said Saturday he's not thinking about what he'll do when his deal runs out.
``Because of all the work that gets involved with doing the job, it kind of prevents me from really looking ahead past this year,'' he said. ``I'm just doing everything I possibly can to assist the transition with the new manager, the new owners, with the involvement now with the Steinbrenner sons. And then the rest will take care of itself at another time.''
New York and the Boston Red Sox talked with Minnesota during last month's winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., about Santana, who can become a free agent after the 2008 season. The two-time Cy Young Award winner remains with the Twins and ``right now, all's quiet,'' Cashman said.
Asked if he thought Santana would start the season with Minnesota, Boston general manager Theo Epstein said, ``I have a hard enough time keeping track of our own players.''
The Red Sox have made no significant player changes since winning their second World Series title in four seasons.
Epstein, Cashman, Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi, agent Scott Boras and Red Sox senior baseball operations adviser Bill James answered questions Saturday at a fundraiser for the Foundation To Be Named Later started by Epstein and his brother, Paul. About 300 fans attended the two-hour session at Fenway Park.
The Yankees won four World Series from 1996-2000, then lost in 2001 to Arizona. After that, their emphasis shifted to obtaining proven veterans, Cashman said. Some, like pitcher Kevin Brown, were past their prime.
``We got away from some of the core principles of our business operation, which is we just started going all veteran-oriented,'' Cashman said. ``We had a chance to really go into an abyss'' early in the 2005 season.
Cashman almost left the Yankees when his contract expired after that year. But when he was given full control over baseball operations, allowing him to emphasize his preference for developing young players, he signed a three-year contract.
That gave him one more year than manager Joe Torre. After last season, when Torre left for the Los Angeles Dodgers and was replaced by Joe Girardi, and owner George Steinbrenner's sons, Hank and Hal, became more involved, Cashman is headed into a season of transition.
``Things have changed here in the third year,'' Cashman said. ``I'm learning as I go along, too. But it is different. But one thing is that I've been with this family, the Steinbrenner family, for well over 20 years. So I'm focused fully on doing everything I possibly can to assist them in their emergence now as decision makers.''
Hank Steinbrenner said Friday in Tampa, Fla., that some people in the Yankees organization are leaning against trying to trade for Santana, a deal that likely would cost them right-hander Phil Hughes, center fielder Melky Cabrera and another promising youngster. Steinbrenner said the final decision will made by ownership, but Cashman's opinion is significant.
``He is the general manager, and he has the right to talk me out of it and he has talked me out of some things,'' Steinbrenner said.
Cashman also said Saturday that ``it's difficult'' to see former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens among five people asked Friday to testify before a House panel looking into the Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball. Clemens' former trainer, Brian McNamee, said in the Mitchell Report that he injected Clemens with steroids in 1998 when Clemens was with Toronto and with steroids and human growth hormone in 2000 and 2001 while with New York. Clemens has denied the allegations.
``Hopefully, at the end of the day, everybody involved will allow us to get to a higher playing field for everybody,'' Cashman said. ``Clearly, what this game is going through right now, and you read about it, it's obviously disheartening.''
Epstein steered away from commenting on the Mitchell Report.
``That's not what I'm thinking about right now,'' he said. ``I'm thinking about spring training, five, six weeks away, getting back out on the field where the game is played and enjoyed. And our fans have a lot to look forward to.''