It turns out that Yankees GM Brian Cashman‘s frustration, that I wrote about this morning, was not just about missing out on free agents because of the Yankees budget situation, but it also has to do with him losing authority to even make offers, according to Dan Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal.
Here is more from the WSJ:
On Thursday, people within the Yankees organization confirmed that this was in fact true: Cashman arrived in Nashville unable to make offers to players, and without that power, targets like Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez took deals elsewhere…
…Another Yankee official downplayed the seriousness of the situation, saying that most general managers would have to go back to ownership to vet potential deals.
“What does Scott Boras know? Are you kidding me?” the official said, arguing that Boras is trying to stir things up because he lacks good markets for his players. “The only reason that Cash didn’t have the authority at that point, if you want to use the word authority, is that he wasn’t making any offers, there was nobody out there that he thought, at these prices, that he should make offers on.”
But another official confirmed that this represents a departure for the Yankees, who have given Cashman more authority in the past.
Cashman has had to get permission to make offers in the past, but those are usually huge offers like Mark Teixeira‘s before 2009 or unique situations like signing Hiroki Kuroda last offseason before they were able to trade A.J. Burnett. Typically a $3 million offer to Eric Chavez wouldn’t need permission though.
The Yankees are different these days. Now even a $3 million offer is a big deal and Cashman’s hands are tied as he literally isn’t allowed to make offers.
This isn’t just about Cashman losing authority. It also brings to light questions of just how smart cutting payroll at this time really is. I get it, the Yankees are tired of being labeled as the team that just spends. The problem, though, is that they’ve already spent quite a bit and cutting payroll with $50 million already committed to Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira, neither of the two are going to even come close to earning their paycheck, it puts them in a rough spot.
It is also coming at a time when a lot of baseball teams are flush with cash. I mean, Shane Victorino is coming off the worst year of his career and just got $39 million. This is forcing the Yankees to miss out on even mediocre free agents.
Hal Steinbrenner needs to realize that the timing is not right. It was never really optimal, but the A-Rod injury changed things in a major way. When Hal is keeping Cashman from doing his job and filling four major holes in the lineup maybe he should realize it’s time to re-think their position on the budget.