Of course, given the disparity in their clubs’ available resources (and their respective number of post season victories), one might also surmise that Billy Beane has reason to covet the status of Brian Cashman. In the wake of the latter distancing himself from the Yankees paying Rafael Soriano more than $11 million per year to serve as Mariano Rivera’s set-up man, the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden suggests “a picture emerges of a GM who clearly wishes he was running a small-market team like his pal in Oakland.”
You get the feeling that Cashman is tired of being labled a “checkbook GM”, while viewing that $200 million Yankee payroll as an albatross rather than a built-in insurance policy for making the postseason every year. A tip-off of this was Cashman’s off-the-cuff remark to the Yankee beat writers at the winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. last December: “I haven’t had a problem knocking on Hal’s door and asking for more money. I have a problem sometimes of Hal saying yes. I know my title is general manager, but I consider myself the director of spending for the New York Yankees.”
Ever since that $423 million splurge in 2008, Cashman has taken great pains to state his annual goal of trimming the payroll and it’s no wonder that he still seethes privately about that Hank Steinbrenner-approved $275 million Alex Rodriguez contract that will curtail that effort through 2017. Cashman longs to build a team in his own image – a team fashioned around a homegrown nucleus like that of 1996-2001, one of his predecessors and mentor, Gene Michael; a team especially anchored by homegrown starting pitching. Judging by the hard public line Cashman took with Derek Jeter this winter, I believe that Cashman, left to his own means, would’ve offered the Yankee captain no more than a one-year deal with a vesting option and been perfectly content to go with Edwin Nunez as his starting shortstop this year.