Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cashman slip of tongue on Burnett teases fans

Brian Cashman should know that he more than most baseball executives really needs to watch his words very carefully.

Cashman, fresh off his new three-year deal to remain the general manager of the New York Yankees, teased millions of Yankee fans by saying that if AJ Burnett is with the Yankees, he will be in the rotation. The “if” part of that quotation seemed to imply that Cashman was dangling the possibility of an offseason trade of Burnett to another baseball team. The general manager claimed it was just an inadvertent slip of the tongue. But was it?

Was Cashman’s statement simply a bad choice of words or an unveiling of his intentions? Was he signaling to other teams that he is willing to trade Burnett, even if the Yankees have to eat a large portion of the final two years of his contract? Or was he perhaps trying to send a message to Burnett to get his act together or risk being shipped out of town?

Anyone can have a bad day so it is entirely possible that Cashman just misspoke. But Cashman is a pretty media savvy guy (even though he speaks about Yankees players a lot more than I would like or then is probably advisable). He knows that the media circus surrounding the Yankees hangs on his every word. I have a hard time believing that Cashman didn’t mean to open up the possibility of trading Burnett. But perhaps that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

If Cashman was just teasing Yankees fans by dangling the possibility of trading Burnett, it’s pretty mean. But not nearly as frustrating as watching a talented pitcher deliver inconsistent performances year in and year out.

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