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.