NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Who are you calling old?
Cliff Lee fired a shot at the Yankees during a WIP radio interview last week, saying the reason he didn’t sign with New York was because “some of the Yankee guys are getting older.”
Brian Cashman took exception to the 32-year old’s dig.
“Some of our core guys that we have relied on have gotten up there, but we have a group of young players that we’re excited about,” Cashman said. “All we care about is being called champions. You can say anything else you want about us. When you call us old, that’s fine.”
LISTEN: Boomer & Carton — Cliff Lee, you’re no spring chicken
At the core of the Yankees’ age issue are their superstars — Derek Jeter is 36, Alex Rodriguez (35), Mariano Rivera (41) and Jorge Posada (39). Dig a little deeper and you’ll see the Yankees’ problems aren’t quite so bad.
New York could start to think about transitioning Jeter from shortstop to make room for Eduardo Nunez, a Triple-A All-Star who hit .289 with four homers and 50 RBIs at Scranton-Wilkes-Barre.
Posada is due $13.1 million in 2011, the final season of a $52.4 million, four-year deal. But behind him and Russell Martin, 28, is 23-year old Jesus Montero, a Triple-A All-Star. He batted .289 at Scranton with 21 homers, 75 RBIs and a .517 slugging percentage.
Posada wants Lee to hear him loud and clear: “Not in our mind, not in here.”
The Yankees also have key stars in their prime. Mark Teixeira (30), Robinson Cano (28) and CC Sabathia (30) surely aren’t “getting older.” At least not yet.
“I think we’ve got a lot of veterans and we’ve got a lot of young guys. You look around the infield — Tex is pretty young, Cano is pretty young, and you’ve got Russell is pretty young still,” Posada said. “You’re going to see some veterans, but that’s every team.”
Cashman still has the Yankees chasing high-priced superstars, but the age he’s signing them at is getting lower — as is the age he’s letting them walk.
“Clearly I’ve made an effort to make the team younger,” said Cashman.
Cashman let Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui go, even when fans were clamoring for their returns. Yankee faithful were also begging for Lee.
“It doesn’t really matter,” Cashman said. “It was a marriage that was not meant to be. That’s life.”
What do you think of Lee’s comments? Below the belt? Sound off below!
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)