From Newsday’s Ken Davidoff :

When Pedro Martinez met with George Steinbrenner and three Yankees vice presidents on Tuesday, there was a notable absence from Legends Field. Besides, that is, Martinez’s diminutive friend Nelson de la Rosa.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman wasn’t invited to the meeting and didn’t learn of it until Tuesday, according to an American League source, and Cashman was still upset yesterday over the development. Cashman didn’t return calls for comment yesterday.

So kicks off another Yankees offseason, in which Steinbrenner, in deciding who is best equipped to decide on his 2005 club, rotates among his New York employees, his Tampa employees and his mirror. The Yankees don’t just lead baseball in money spent each offseason. They also pace the industry in hurt feelings.

The Martinez meeting actually appears to be a minor transgression in the scheme of things. Two AL officials reiterated yesterday that a Martinez defection to the Bronx remained a long shot. Tuesday’s get-together happened largely because it served both sides’ purposes of sticking it to the Red Sox.