My “Brian Cashman is trying to get himself fired” comment from yesterday was meant as a joke. Not a good one — a bit too dry; I think I told it better on Twitter before repurposing it for the post — but I don’t honestly think that the man is trying to get canned.
My real issue was that because of the other stuff that has happened lately — and because of how easy it is to turn a couple of data points of oddness into some big b.s. trend — eventually someone was going to make that sort of connection. Someone would list the random things like Cashman scaling down a building, losing out on Cliff Lee, hating the Rafael Soriano deal and all of that, and draw some distraction-inducing conclusion from it.
And someone did. Lupica, natch:
And there are people in baseball who wonder if Cashman has begun moving toward the door, if he really does want to go somewhere else and show the whole world that he is more a general manager than a money manager, that he doesn’t need to spend $200 million a year to build winning baseball teams.
Look at the wild, weird baseball winter Cashman has had already …
Then, as I suspected someone would, Lupica cites the highlights of Cashman’s winter, throws in extended recitation of that “Seinfeld” episode in which George tried to get fired by the Yankees and voila, Questions Have Been Raised.
And maybe it doesn’t matter because it’s just Lupica and that’s what he does. But a few days ago Brian Cashman said that dealing with the media garbage is the hardest part of his job. I presume this is the stuff he’s talking about. How nothing can be taken at face value. It all has to mean something. I don’t blame him for chafing at it. I know it’s silly to base your moves off of what the media might do, but I did kind of wish that Cashman wasn’t fueling the haters’ fire.
I know this is going to sound silly coming from someone who posts 20 times a day about all manner of unimportant topics, but sometimes things don’t demand a grand unification theory. Things just happen. Maybe they’re worth a few sentences on a blog here and there, but a full-blown 750-word column lends itself to grander explanations. Oftentimes ones that are purely illusionary.
The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.
Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”
Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”
Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.
Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.
According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.
While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.