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Who's the Boss?

It was surprising when the Yankees signed Rafael Soriano… mostly because Brian Cashman had been saying, pretty clearly, that he did not intend to. He explained that he didn’t want to give up a first-round draft pick for anybody besides Cliff Lee (and especially not a pick that would then go to the Rays), and that made good sense, especially since decent relievers can generally be uncovered from within the organization. Today, at the press conference officially announcing Soriano’s signing, Cashman admitted – or perhaps “confirmed” is the better word - that as many suspected (and several, including Buster Olney, previously reported) it was not ultimately his call. Per Joe LeMaire, on Twitter:

Yankees GM Brian Cashman acknowledges he did not recommend signing of Soriano. Says final call was Hal Steinbrenner’s.

Cashman: “I just didn’t think it was an efficient way to allocate our remaining resources.”

Huh.

That’s not surprising, as the Soriano contract is very much not Cashman’s style – not, as he says, an efficient allocation of resources. But I was under the impression that Cashman had successfully wrested control of the Yankees’ baseball decision, except perhaps in the case of a blockbuster like Alex Rodriguez’s most recent signing. And while of course Hal Steinbrenner owns the team and has a right to have input on how his money is spent, I find it puzzling that he would choose to interfere here, in the case of a middle reliever. Signing Soriano is not likely to have a huge impact on the team either way – they’re overpaying for him, but not by a crippling amount, and it’s unlikely to prevent the Yankees from making whatever other moves they feel they need to. Still, it seems like a weird thing for Hal to overrule his GM on. It’s a George kind of move.

Meanwhile, in further disturbing news: we also learned that Cashman not only considered Carl Pavano as a plug for the Yanks’ starting pitcher gap, but (per LoHud) had several discussions with The American Idle’s agent. Yipes! I choose to see this as just a sad, transparent attempt to make Andy Pettitte come rushing back into the Yankees’ arms…

UPDATE: Oh gosh – per WFAN (via Hardball Talk) the Yanks actually made an offer! One year, $10 million, supposedly.  “Carl, how would you like to hear 50,000 people screaming contemptuous insults at you every fifth day…”

18 comments

1 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 19, 2011 2:03 pm

I'd show up just to curse Pavano.

2 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jan 19, 2011 2:09 pm

Vazquez in 2010, Pavano in 2011, Kenny Rogers in 2012, Ed Whitson in 2013...

3 Sliced Bread   ~  Jan 19, 2011 2:13 pm

Pavano? What the FUCK, man? Cashman makes some weird moves. And while the Soriano deal maybe isn't his "style" - Cash is so not exactly known for being (how does he put it? ) "efficient with the fundage allocation." Dude's had a shit winter. Not saying he isn't trying, but shit winter.

4 Emma Span   ~  Jan 19, 2011 2:20 pm

Also, does this mean Carl Pavano actually TURNED DOWN THE YANKEES' OFFER? Talk about insult to injury... ha ha, injury, get it?!?

5 rbj   ~  Jan 19, 2011 2:54 pm

Pavano? Carl Fucking Pavano!? (OK, I can now understand the Bucky Fucking Dent thing of Boston)

I would rather have the Sergio Mitre experience. And Ivan Nova.

6 Shaun P.   ~  Jan 19, 2011 2:57 pm

Ugh ugh ugh all the way around.

7 Simone   ~  Jan 19, 2011 3:16 pm

The Yankees and Cashman have lost their damn minds. Carl Pavano?! Surely you jest!

8 bp1   ~  Jan 19, 2011 3:19 pm

Very surprising that Cashman would pull a Sonny Corleone and comment on family business in a public forum like that. Openly saying he disagrees with the signing, as the new player is being introduced? Holy crap. Didn't he learn anything from the Sheffield/Vlad bitterness? Sheff *hated* it that Cash wanted to sign Vlad instead of him. Now your new $11 million reliever is finding out that his GM didn't want to sign him either? And then he mentioned Pavano?!? Are you freaking kidding me? Is Cashman trying to get fired?

Yeah - there are bad signs all around. Watch out for plague, famine, locusts, fire from the sky, 3rd place finishes, all that sort of stuff.

9 Paul   ~  Jan 19, 2011 3:27 pm

Cashman doesn't give a fcuk. He's a very wealthy man and at the end of the season he'll either stick around or easily find another job. He has no reason to fear the Steinbrenners or Levine.

That said, I kinda hope he's gone. Pavano just goes to show that when he's bought into a player, no amount of contrary evidence will get him to change his mind (coughJavyVazquezcough). That's very dangerous in a GM - you wind up with decisions like Joba where no amount of evidence can change things. It's arguing philosophy and baseball is perhaps the most data-driven sport of all time.

10 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 19, 2011 3:27 pm

7) No jest. And don't call me Shirley.

11 Mattpat11   ~  Jan 19, 2011 3:48 pm

While I have no doubt that this was a call on high, I'm not so sure how this deal is "not Cashman's style." Wasn't he the mastermind behind Karsay, Farnsworth, and Marte?

12 Mattpat11   ~  Jan 19, 2011 3:52 pm

Jesus, I just read the rest of the post. I'm not at all surprised that they made an offer for Pavano.

Cashman can be pretty fucking stubborn (how long did we wait to find "equal value" for Farnsworth and Pavano the first time around?) and after bring Vazquez back, I had a feeling he would try to redeem himself on the other awful move of the decade.

13 Emma Span   ~  Jan 19, 2011 4:44 pm

[11] Yeah, it's not like he hasn't made bad middle relief signings in the past, but the last few years he seemed determined to look inside the organization to fill the bullpen, rather than overpay - and it was a pretty successful strategy, too...

14 Mattpat11   ~  Jan 19, 2011 5:09 pm

The Marte deal just happened.

15 seamus   ~  Jan 19, 2011 6:15 pm

i don't care about the pavano thing. Unfortunately the starting pitching market sucks and we do need some starting pitching. And he probably knew it'd be turned down. I think there were other reasons for that offer. I don't like Hal and company overriding cash on Soriano except that I actually like that we signed Soriano (not necessarily the deal itself). Anyhow, neither seems like a big deal as what Cash said is true, it's a pricy deal. And I think the fact that Hal is willing to override Cash like that will make it hard for other clubs to try and outpatient cash. It throws in an unpredictability factor in future negotiations where we are competing with other clubs.

16 randym77   ~  Jan 19, 2011 7:22 pm

Holy crap. I can't believe Cashman is that desperate. Glass-ass Pavano?

And on another subject... Has anyone ever been to that BBWAA awards dinner Chad Jennings has been plugging? What's it like? Do a lot of fans go? Do they let you take photos? What's the dress code?

17 Yankee Mama   ~  Jan 19, 2011 7:44 pm

It's one big ugh all around. Off season suckishness with no, I mean expensive relief in sight.

18 joejoejoe   ~  Jan 19, 2011 9:40 pm

Carl Pavano is more lovable than Randy Levine.

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--Earl Weaver