Yankees' GM Brian Cashman Talks Derek Jeter, Cliff Lee And More

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman addressed much of what is going on with the team during an interview with WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Tuesday. Courtesy of Sports Radio Interviews, you can read the full transcript.

I have excerpted some of the key points, and added some thoughts of my own below.

On whether there is any tension lingering with Derek Jeter:

"No, we’re fine. We’re fine. Believe me, I’m a straight-shooter, he’s a straight-shooter and anything that needed to be exercised, they get exercised quick. No, I’m very comfortable around Derek. No worries on my part."

I think the fact that Jeter used the word “angry” to describe his feelings about the public negotiations sent everyone into a tizzy. And I think it isn’t a big deal. When Spring Training rolls around all of that will barely be remembered.

On Andy Pettitte and whether he’s leaning toward retirement:

"I think every year it gets tougher for him. He loves what he does, he’s excellent at what he does, but he’s in a unique position. I think anybody who’s a parent with young kids that has the financial ability to be there for them if they want to be home, I think that tug of the things that he’s missing really pulls at him. … He has the unique ability to say, ‘Enough.’ He’s going to do that here at some point sooner than later and it might be this year. … Honestly, he did tell me that he’s leaning towards retirement."

Pettitte has become baseball’s version of Brett Favre. When push comes to shove he just can’t stay away. He can still perform at a high level, and I believe he will be in the Yankee rotation in 2011.

On the pursuit of Cliff Lee:

"Just kinda waiting. I know he’s a big deer hunter and I feel like, to use a hunting analogy, I climbed up into a tree about a month ago and I’m still waiting for that buck to come in my sights so I can take a shot."

The Yankees are playing by Lee’s timetable right now. When the times comes, and it should be soon, they will place a huge offer in front of the free-agent pitcher.

On whether he’ll go after Carl Crawford:

"I wouldn’t comment. I am casting a very wide net with a lot of players, a lot of trade possibilities because I have to be ready to adjust on the run when necessary and so I’m putting ourselves in the position to do that. The heavy lifting was really with the Jeter negotiations and Rivera, as well as the main focus being Lee. That provided a lot of distraction … but now I’m fully up to speed with everything. … I wouldn’t comment on any other specific names. The obvious is Lee, it makes no sense to try to hide that one."

Cashman can try to hide it, but Crawford is the obvious Plan B if the Yankees don’t get Lee. He is the best position player on the market, and the only other true difference-maker. For Crawford, Lee signing in Texas would be the dream scenario.

On whether they’ll need to fill in more pitchers besides Lee:

"I think it’s better to go outside to hedge your bets. … New York’s not a city that really tolerates maybes too easily. Those maybes better become definites rather soon. That’s why it’s nicer to hedge your bets, get your depth and if something doesn’t work out, you can jettison it."

This explains why the Yankees do things like bring in middle of the road relievers like Chan Ho Park, who they signed and then released last season. You never know with pitching, especially relievers, so it doesn’t hurt to collect a bunch of them.

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