Yankees GM Brian Cashman called a trade of Alex Rodriguez “unrealistic,” but claimed he would listen to offers for his 3rd baseman – a player he conceded is not a superstar – if teams called to ask about him.
Appearing on a radio show, Cashman said CC Sabathia’s left elbow might require a surgical “cleanup” in the coming weeks, and he called hitting coach Kevin Long “safe” in wake of the lineup’s collapse during Detroit’s sweep of the American League Championship Series.
Cashman also excluded the chance of backup shortstop Eduardo Nunez being moved to another position, and he maintained that the team needs “to be very careful about what we do on multiyear deals as we approach 2014,” which may be unpleasant news for Robinson Cano and other New York Yankees looking to strike it rich despite Hal Steinbrenner’s mandate to reduce payroll to $189 million in 2 years.
But the most pressing offseason issue revolves around Rodriguez, who was so dreadful against right-handers in the playoffs that manager Joe Girardi pinch-hit for him and benched him and inspired talk that A-Rod could be dealt this offseason.
“It’s not like I’m going to hang phones up on any person who needs to make any overtures about anything,” Cashman said. “You’re talking about realistic stuff and unrealistic stuff. I do not believe it’s realistic at all for us to be moving forward with anything but Alex Rodriguez at 3rd base. Sports scores
“He’s still a better than average 3rd baseman. … That means despite the contract we had committed to him, that he’s an asset at this stage still. I don’t see us doing anything there. I don’t anticipate it. If someone wants to make phone calls, we’re very keen to do all that stuff with any of our players, and that’s fine. You can run into something that way.
“But listen, the sooner we put to bed any expectancy or expectation the Yankees will be solely concentrated on trying to move Alex Rodriguez. … I think that will be false. And it’d be just plenty of wasted energy on anybody’s part to be thinking.”
While Cashman left open the chance that something just as unexpected as his 2004 acquisition of A-Rod could unfold this offseason — sending A-Rod to another team — the GM claimed there is “no doubt” he expects the 37-year-old Rodriguez to be his starting 3rd baseman in 2013.
But Cashman agreed A-Rod’s days as a superstar are finished, something A-Rod himself has declined to concede.
“Do I expect him to return to the MVP-caliber type Alex Rodriguez? No,” Cashman announced. “Obviously you decline with age, and he’s getting up there in his age. … So no, that’d be very unrealistic to think too. But despite the age where he’s at, he’s still an above average player at that position.
“Is he a celebrity at that position? No. But I think when anyone signed that (10 year, $275 million) deal (in 2007), expecting him to be at that level at that age would be unrealistic also.”