The Yankees and their recent acquisition, Rafael Soriano, have been connected in rumors for a while now, but his signing was still a pretty big surprise to most of the blogosphere.
The reason is because their general manager Brian Cashman has been pretty vocal that he wasn’t interested in signing a closer to be his setup man. He said emphatically that he already had a closer and that he wouldn’t give up a draft pick for a middle reliever.
So what happened? It appears that he was overruled.
Buster Olney of ESPN reported this afternoon that there was a split opinion in the Yankees front office and that the deal was more “ownership-driven”. Peter Gammons of ESPN specifically named team president Randy Levine as the one who orchestrated this deal.
This is a big deal because the last time Cashman signed his contract he did it only after he was guaranteed complete autonomy in baseball decisions. That was after the 2005 season and since then he has been overruled twice. The first time was when Alex Rodriguez was re-signed after the 2007 season and this is the second time.
Cashman’s contract is actually up after the 2011 season. If he feels he is being undermined he could decide to split with the same organization he has been with for over two decades.
Worse than losing Cashman though, if there is a split in the front office the Yankees can not operate optimally. That was how it worked in the early part of the past decade and it wasn’t pretty. Only when Cashman got complete autonomy that things turned around. With that being undermined the Yankees have a lot more at stake than losing just one draft pick.