Sunday, February 13, 2011

Random Yankee thoughts: pre-spring training edition

Why is Brian Cashman trying to alienate his own players? First, he picks a nasty fight with Derek Jeter during his contract negotiations and then further messes with the shortstop by publicly speculating on a position shift to center field. Now, he’s essentially accusing CC Sabathia of lying about his 30-pound weight loss.

Pitchers and catchers officially report tomorrow so we’ll get to see if CC overstated his weight loss. But what the hell is Cashman doing talking to reporters about that and not giving his player the benefit of the doubt? I can’t wait to see what CC says about Cashman sharing his doubts with the media. Cashman obviously feels much freer these days to share his opinions, but he really is not doing himself any favors by picking fights with his ace and shortstop.

• I’m kind of worried about Robinson Cano choosing Scott Boras to be his agent. The Yankees hold options for Cano’s services for another two years at reasonable salaries so this isn’t an immediate concern. But Boras will be angling for the biggest possible payout when the superstar finally hits free agency. As shown by the Jeter drama, the New York Yankees aren’t blameless when it comes to rough contract negotiations. But Boras is partly responsible for saddling the Yankees with the ridiculous and unmovable Alex Rodriguez contract. I can’t imagine what he’ll demand on Cano’s behalf.

• Phil Hughes seems to be taking his second-half troubles too hard. Yes, he wasn’t as good in the latter months as he was in the first half, which earned him a spot on the American League All-Star team. But he pitched superbly against the Boston Red Sox in September in a game he wasn’t even supposed to start, but the Yankees desperately needed. He pitched beautifully against the Minnesota Twins in the playoffs, but ran into trouble against the Texas Rangers. Then again, so did the rest of his team, which was outplayed in every way possible.

David Cone suggested that the Yankees’ quest to protect Hughes from injury by skipping starts and giving him extra rest was disruptive for the youngster in the second half, just as it was for Joba Chamberlain. But he also suggested that Hughes continue working on his changeup, which the young righty vowed to do. Cone, one of the best big-game pitchers of his time, likes Hughes chances of blossoming into an even better starter. So do I.

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