Report: Yankees GM Brian Cashman was against acquiring Alfonso Soriano

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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.

Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.

Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.

Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.

Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.

The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.