Brian Cashman is “not comfortable anymore” talking to Alex Rodriguez

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Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger that he is “not comfortable anymore” talking to Alex Rodriguez given the litigious nature of the third baseman’s interactions with the club lately. Rodriguez’s lawyers recently filed a grievance over the team’s medical treatment of Rodriguez dating back to the post-season last year. Cashman defended the medical staff and expressed shock at the entire situation, saying, “We’ve never had anything like this. This is my 16th year. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

More, from McCullough’s column:

“If you all remember, last year, just let’s turn the clock back again. We enter the playoffs. He finally gets healthy from the broken wrist. I think you guys – not us – you guys, the media, asked him how he feels going into the playoffs. He said he felt the best he’s ever felt, or something to that effect, correct?

[…]

“We have a whole level of medical staff. We have team doctors. We have team trainers. We have a strength and conditioning coach. We have chiropractors. All of which get their hands on this guy. All of which he interacts with, every single one of them has their own level of dedications with each off our players, that they provide services for. And they’re all the same. No complaints. Nothing.”

Cashman added that the entire situation involving Rodriguez is “definitely a distraction” and called it “frustrating”.

After this season, Rodriguez will still have four years and $86 million left on his contract extension signed in December 2007. Currently at 648 career home runs, he can earn an extra $6 million by reaching 660 home runs. His ability to hit 12 more home runs is highly in doubt as Major League Baseball levied a 211-game suspension against him for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, which he is currently appealing.

The Yankees attendance and revenue is down, but it makes sense

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There’s a long article in the New York Times today noting that the Yankees attendance is down and that, based on financial figures released as part of their stadium bond disclosures, ticket and suite revenues through last season have fallen by $166 million since the end of 2009.

There is a lot of talk in the article about the exciting young team the Yankees have put together and how much they’ve won so far in the early going. And there is a lot of talk about marketing and demographics — Hal Steinbrenner talks about baseball’s “millennial problem” — but the story of the Yankees’ box office issues, such as they are, is pretty straightforward.

All teams suffer attendance and revenue decline when they play poorly. While the Yankees have not been bad for a long, long time, that’s a somewhat relative thing. They Yankees have sold themselves and sold their fans on the idea that nothing short of a championship is acceptable, so missing the playoffs for three of the past four years is bad for them. Fans don’t want to go see a bad team, be it Yankees fans, Rays fans, Royals fans or whoever.

Despite the recent lack of success, the Yankees have still, perversely, continued to price their tickets, concessions, parking and everything else as though they’re the only game in town. When demand falls and prices remain super high, fewer people are buying your product. Even if you’re the New York Yankees.

The Yankees are good this year. What’s more, they’re good in that exciting way that only young promising players bursting out onto the scene can deliver. It’s a wonderful thing for marketing and stuff, but even under the best of circumstances, ticket sales tend to lag on field success, often by as much as a year. Go back and look at World Series winning teams — especially the surprise winners — and you’ll see that it’s the year after on-field success when the real attendance bumps happen. I expect, if the Yankees continue to play well, their gate will get really nice by the end of the summer, but I suspect we’ll also see a more dramatic bump next year.

Taken all together, this is a dog-bites-man story. The Yankees are not some transcendent institution, immune from market forces. They’re just one of 30 Major League Baseball teams competing against other entertainments for a finite amount of the public’s money and attention. Nothin’ to see here.

David Price had a rocky rehab start last night

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Red Sox starter David Price has been rehabbing a left elbow injury since early March. Last night he made his latest rehab outing for Triple-A Pawtucket. It didn’t go well.

Price allowed six runs — three earned — on seven hits in three and two-thirds innings, requiring 89 pitches to do it. His velocity was good, but otherwise it was a night to forget. This was supposed to be Price’s last rehab start before returning to the Sox’ big league rotation, but one wonders if he’s ready for it.

Price didn’t talk to the media after the game, but Pawtucket’s manager said he was “upbeat” and “felt good.” For his part, John Farrell, upon hearing about the outing, said this:

“There’s no announcement at this point. We’ve got to sit with him and talk about what’s best for him, best for us as we move forward.”

The Sox could really use Price back in the rotation given their injury problems, but rushing him back if he’s not ready is certainly not ideal.

Stay tuned.