Brian Cashman talks about being overruled on the Soriano deal

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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.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.