Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yanks moving at a snail's pace

Brian Cashman was at a premiere for the release of the official Major League Baseball DVD celebrating the Yankees' 27th World Series title yesterday. That's about as much celebrating as Cashman is going to get to do this offseason (and it doesn't sound like he enjoyed it that much).

But the Yankees are moving at an extremely slow pace this offseason, with Cashman saying that he has not yet spoken to agents for his three key free agents: Andy Pettitte, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. Cashman did say he plans to focus on his players before speaking to other free agents, a welcome change from previous years when Yankee players had to wait in line while he pursued the biggest fish in the free-agent market.

Joe Girardi, who also attended the premiere, said he has spoken to Pettitte a couple of times in the last few weeks, but that he didn't expect Andy to make a quick decision on his 2010 plans. The Yanks are hopeful he comes back as that will lessen the pressure of having to search for pitching in a pretty weak free-agent class. If Pettitte does decide to pitch one more year, then the Yanks should quickly come up with a strong contract offer that avoids the drama and bad feelings engendered by last year's negotiations.

While there has been no official movement on either side, the odds of Johnny Damon coming back with the Yanks look pretty grim from where I'm sitting. The Daily News reported this week that Damon could be willing to take fewer years on a contract in exchange for a raise, which I don't think the Yankees will do. Cashman said he hasn't gotten his budget yet, but the team is reportedly looking to cut payroll and may decide to look elsewhere if Damon insists on a raise from the average $13 million he made during his just expired four-year deal.
No word on where things stand with Matsui, but the consensus seems to be that the Yanks are planning to move on from the World Series Most Valuable Player. He's been a good Yankee for a long time so he will be missed by fans and by his teammates, notably Derek Jeter, who says Matsui is one of his favorite players. But I'll bet the team won't miss the horde of Japanese reporters covering Matsui.

Thanks to Jimmyack205 via Wikipedia for the photo.

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