Cashman taking 'baby steps' early in offseason
General manager adamant in saying he won't trade A-Rod or Granderson
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- On Wednesday, for what seems like the umpteenth time this autumn, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman insisted that he has no plans to trade Alex Rodriguez.
"I've already been on record right after the postseason: We're not trading Alex," Cashman said at the General Managers Meetings. "So hopefully, the Alex stuff stops. I'm reiterating: We're not trading Alex Rodriguez. I've talked to every team in baseball, I have not offered Alex in any trade and you'll be able to confirm that with them."
It was a slightly harder stance than Cashman took immediately after the Yanks were eliminated from the playoffs, when he said that he would at least listen to offers for Rodriguez, but his general message is the same.
Asked if any GMs submitted offers for the 37-year-old third baseman, who is due at least $114 million over the next five seasons, Cashman said, simply, "No. They probably read my comments."
Those guarantees apparently extend beyond Rodriguez. Cashman also said on Wednesday that he has no intention of trading outfielder Curtis Granderson, who can become a free agent after the 2013 season.
"I fully expect Curtis Granderson to be with us next year," Cashman said. "We picked up his option with the intention of having him here, so I expect that."
Other than those declarations, Cashman intimated that his first day at the meetings was quiet. The Yankees remain in preliminary discussions with all of their potential acquisitions, with Cashman calling the first few weeks of the offseason "baby steps for us."
Because the Yanks have $13.3 million qualifying offers outstanding for Rafael Soriano, Nick Swisher and Hiroki Kuroda, and because they are operating on a relatively tight budget, Cashman is somewhat limited in what he can do until those situations are resolved at the end of this business week.
"I don't foresee us really being able to do anything until we have decisions made on those qualifying offers," he said. "So that should give me some cover until Friday."
Cashman also is not certain whether Andy Pettitte will return, even if Cashman believes "it's in his blood that he wants to play."
He also does not know how much it will take to re-sign Mariano Rivera, who recently decided against retirement, even if he is "confident we'll be able to work through the issues."
And Cashman has no firm grasp on Derek Jeter's rehab timetable, joking about a Caribbean vacation while revealing that the captain will not be able to bear weight on his surgically repaired left ankle until January.
In other words, the offseason remains too young for Cashman to move with any sort of certainty. But he at least knows that Rodriguez and Granderson will be around, Rivera should return and Pettitte may not be far behind.
It's a start.
"I'm trying to line up conversations with agents as well as clubs," Cashman said. "There are different ways to climb the mountain. I might look at a different side of the mountain to climb, but I feel I've been doing that."