The Yankees brought Alfonso Soriano back to the Bronx yesterday after completing a trade with the Cubs. But if GM Brian Cashman had his way, the deal wouldn’t have happened.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post was told by “two executives not affiliated with the Yankees” that Cashman believed the team’s assets could be better spent. While Cashman wouldn’t confirm that publicly yesterday, he did indicate that managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner pushed for acquiring Soriano.
“I would say we are in a desperate time. Ownership wants to go for it. I didn’t want to give up a young arm [Corey Black]. But I understand the desperate need we have for offense. And Soriano will help us. The bottom line is this guy makes us better. Did ownership want him? Absolutely, yes. Does he make us better? Absolutely, yes. This is what Hal wants, and this is why we are doing it.”
Cashman has been overruled before, perhaps most prominently when he said he was against signing reliever Rafael Soriano to a three-year, $35 million contract in January of 2011. But Sherman details other instances where his ideas have been shot down, including his interest in keeping Russell Martin and letting Ichiro Suzuki walk this past offseason. This dynamic isn’t altogether unusual for MLB teams, as general managers routinely make recommendations and leave it up to ownership to sign off. Sometime they see eye-to-eye, sometimes they don’t.
Giving up Black was likely only a small part of Cashman’s hesitation, as the Yankees will be on the hook for $5 million of Soriano’s salary next season. That gives him less wiggle room to work with if the Yankees intend to keep their payroll under $189 million.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.