Since the moment Rafael Soriano signed with the Yankees, people have been reporting that the Brian Cashman wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger on the deal. It was his higher ups, it’s been said, going against Cashman’s wishes. Today Cashman confirmed that:
“I didn’t recommend it … I’m charged with obviously winning a championship. I’m charged with building a farm system. I’m charged with getting the payroll down, and this certainly will help us try to win a championship. There’s no doubt about that, so that’s in the plus column, but I didn’t recommend it, just because I didn’t think it was an efficient way to allocate the remaining resources we have, and we had a lot of debate about that … My plan would be patience and waiting. They obviously acted. And we are better, there’s no doubt about it.”
He was pretty up front about it all, actually, as was team president Randy Levine, who said that the Yankees have a “sacred obligation” to the fans. That obligation is to win now, and that’s the case even if it comes at the expense of Cashman’s long term plans.
Like I said when it went down: it’s not that big of a deal. At least not on the Yankees. If it was a battle for the soul of the team or if doing X prevents them from doing Y, sure, there’s an issue. But it’s not like signing Soriano will bankrupt the Yankees. It’s not like it’s going to make Brian Cashman an ineffective leader. If he goes to Hal Steinbrenner and says “hey, we need $5 million more for player development this year because the Soriano deal blew our budget projection,” he’ll get his $5 million.
Why? Because that’s all part of the “sacred trust” too. A trust that will only be at risk if there isn’t enough money there to fulfill it. Which, in the Yankees’ case, will be never.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.