It started when they signed Rafael Soriano despite Cashman insistence that he was not interested. Things got worse during the press conference to announce Soriano when Cashman again asserted that he was against the signing.
It started off a firestorm of speculation as to what exactly was going on behind the scenes and who was happy or unhappy with who. Apparently though, according to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, things are just business as usual:
For the record, Hal Steinbrenner authorized Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to go into public attack mode against Derek Jeter after the shortstop’s agent referred to the negotiations as “baffling.”
The Yankees owner also encouraged Cashman to offer his reasons for not recommending the signing of Rafael Soriano at the very press conference that officially announced the signing of the right-handed reliever…
…Sure Cashman has focused on the draft and player development, and has fears of signing older players in a way associated with small-market franchises. But his model was the Red Sox, not the Reds. And let us remember, even if it foils the sexier storyline, Cashman favors checkbook baseball when he thinks it makes sense. He did, after all, push and push until Steinbrenner finally relented after the 2008 season and guaranteed Mark Teixeira $180 million.
Heck, during the 2009 season, Cashman worked out a trade for Mike Cameron in fear the team could not win it all with Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner in center, but Steinbrenner, pointing in particular to Teixeira, told the GM he already had enough expensive toys. So, yes, there have been plenty of times previously when Steinbrenner has not done what Cashman recommended.
Sherman gets into it further and explains the Cashman/Randy Levine dynamic. Essentially Cashman is in control of the baseball side of the operation and Levine is in charge of the brand. Sometimes these issues intersect and both sides make their case for a decision and Hal Steinbrenner ultimately makes the final decision.
That’s apparently what happened when the Yankees re-signed Alex Rodriguez. Cashman didn’t want to pay A-Rod into his 40’s because it was bad for baseball, but Levine knew that having A-Rod break the home run record in Pinstripes would be good for selling tickets and YES Network ratings. Steinbrenner made the ultimate decision to re-sign A-Rod.
Sherman also explains how similar decisions were made when it came to re-signing Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Derek Jeter. Cashman thought all three were extended for too long, but for the sake of the brand he was overruled.
The thing is that we as fans don’t know a lot of what’s going on behind the scene. So we speculate as to what’s going on. Without the full story it appeared that Cashman was merely overruled after being promised full autonomy when it comes to baseball decisions.
Sherman has offered us a good peak as to what’s actually going on under the Hal Steinbrenner regime and he’s right. Cashman upset and trying to break away from the team makes for a sexy story, but it is ignoring the facts. It appears that for the Yankees and Cashman it is business as usual and I no longer feel like Cashman is in any danger of leaving at the end of the 2011 season.