NEW YORK (WFAN) – Coming off a devastating four-game sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series, many eyes will be on Yankees general manager Brian Cashman this offseason.
How will he address his aging team? Will he attempt to go younger or will he stick with his older guns? Will he attempt to deal the virtually untradeable Alex Rodriguez? Will he re-sign Nick Swisher?
The questions are endless.
But after the Bronx Bombers’ uninspiring performance, Yankees fans want the answers sooner rather than later.
As usual, the longtime GM didn’t disclose his plans, but he did address the A-Rod situation. While he fully expects the 14-time All-Star to be back in the Bronx and starting next season, he supported manager Joe Girardi’s decision to bench him in Games 4 and 5 of the ALCS.
“It was the manager with my blessing,” Cashman told WFAN’s Mike Francesa in regard to Girardi’s decision to sit Rodriguez. “… Joe Girardi has always had the final say on the lineups … It was my blessing to have Alex not play during this postseason as he continued to struggle. The manager has the final say, but the manager also reaches out to the coaching staff and the front office. Our job is to put the best team out there that can win games.”
It remains to be seen whether the Yankees will look similar in 2013, or if the roster will ultimately be mostly unchanged. The following players are free agents: Swisher, Russell Martin, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez, Derek Lowe, Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones and Freddy Garcia.
“I feel like this is the same as every winter for me,” Cashman said. “We always have quality free agents. We’re always trying to gravitate to great players, and I think we typically do. I’ve gotten accustomed to every winter being full of, ‘What are you going to do and how are you going to do it?’ … We’re going to be hopeful to continue to do what we’ve done in the past, which is bring a team back that people can look at and say, ‘You know what? That’s got a shot.'”
New York holds a $14 million club option on Robinson Cano and a $13 million club option on Curtis Granderson, both of which they’re almost guaranteed to exercise.
Rafael Soriano, who was brilliant in replacing Rivera as the closer, is owed $14 million for 2013, but he has the option to take a $1.5 million buyout and become a free agent.
“We’re going to back to the drawing board,” Cashman said. “Our philosophy is the same, it’s not going to change … Hopefully the choices that are available to us, we can secure the ones we want. And if not we’ll wait for the right ones to come along.”
If you were Cashman, what would your top five priorities be for the offseason? Let’s hear your ideas in the comments section below…