Brian Cashman, on how the Yankees will proceed in the free agent market:
“I don’t want to make the mistake of having a conversation with somebody else’s agent and it plays out as if I’m pursuing that guy, and somebody misinterprets it (and) that means I’m not pursuing our guy. We’re not even at that stage yet. So I’m trying to be very careful and respectful to our players first, makes sure they’re aware of where they are in the process.”
But what happens when that somebody else’s agent — say Matt Holliday’s agent — is the same guy as “our guy’s” agent — Johnny Damon? I’m imagining this conversation:
Cashman: Scott, we want to talk to our own people first, so I called you so we can discuss Damon. I’ll give him $5 million on a one year deal.
Boras: That’s not gonna cut it, Brian. Damon is irreplaceable. He’s a gamer. He’s given his all to New York, and the fans want him back.
Cashman: He’s not irreplaceable, Scott. We could go out and sign Matt Holliday.
Boras: Good point! Screw Damon. Holliday is the second coming of Teixeira!
And there you have it: professional malpractice and “talking to someone else” in the space of thirty seconds. OK, maybe it’s not that blatant, but the lesson holds: don’t believe much of what you hear when it comes to agents OR general managers. Everything is negotiable and everything is being negotiated, always.
Still, as a general consideration, Cashman’s “talk to the someone elses later” is a smart move. It’s way easier to let the teams with real budget constraints make their best offer to Matt Holliday and John Lackey and whoever else, and then come in late and beat the best offer by a couple of million. If I was Cashman, I’d simply call every representative of any free agent out there and say “when you’ve got what you think is your best offer, call me. I’ll let you know whether I’ll beat it within two hours.”
If he does that it’ll be way easier for him to relax this winter.