Thanks to Sam Frank for pointing out this one ; Brian Cashman is on Dan Patrick’s ESPN Radio show at this very moment disputing the story below, from the NY Times’ Murray Chass.

Jason Giambi did not fall on his sword yesterday. He did not say in crisp, clear tones, “Yes, I used steroids.” But he didn’t have to. He said enough to acknowledge that, yes, he used steroids.

That came as no surprise to the Yankees. Not that they will acknowledge it. General Manager Brian Cashman, in fact, said several times yesterday that the subject never came up three years ago when the Yankees were pursuing Giambi, a free-agent first baseman. But they had a strong clue that steroids played a part in Giambi’s life.

A person with knowledge of the contract said that before they signed off on Giambi’s seven-year, $120 million deal, the Yankees acquiesced to his request and removed all references to steroids from the guarantee language routinely included in contracts.

The Yankees were not innocents in this matter. They didn’t say to themselves: Delete references to steroid use? Well, all right if you insist, but why would you want us to do that?

They wanted Giambi badly enough that they relinquished the right to suspend him or stop payment on the contract or terminate the contract or convert it into a nonguaranteed contract if he was found to use steroids. No other words were deleted from that paragraph of the contract, the person said.

That act alone made it difficult for the Yankees to try to void the contract after The San Francisco Chronicle reported Giambi’s leaked testimony before a federal grand jury on Dec. 11, 2003. A hearing into a Giambi grievance over the termination would have produced some tantalizing testimony.

Cashman, truly earning his money this morning, says that Chass is “a Hall Of Famer…and Hall Of Famer’s don’t throw perfect games every day”, the Yankees GM denying that Giambi’s contract was altered in any way in relation to steroids. If that is the case, it shouldn’t be too difficult for the Yankees to produce a copy of said agreement and furnish it to the New York Times or their competition.

As each day goes by, it seems as though Giambi is only thought to have embarrassed the Yankees by getting hurt, sick and having a shitty season in 2004. If New York signed him with strong suspicion of how the slugger achieved his physique and expected continued MVP-level production, Giambi’s biggest sin isn’t that he used steroids or that he got caught. Jason fucked up by a) admitting his drug use in (supposedly) confidential grand jury testimony….and sucking up a storm on the rare occasions he was able to play last year.

How does the language in Gary Sheffield’s contract differ from that of Giambi’s, if at all?