General Manager Says He Reached Out To A-Rod, But Former Slugger Had No Interest; Also Talks Pursuit Of Otani

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Now, who will it be?

Prior to repelling down the side of a building in Stamford, Connecticut on Friday in preparation for a holiday celebration this weekend, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters that he is finished interviewing candidates for the team’s managerial opening.

He said he even spoke to Alex Rodriguez about the job, but only to get input on who the former slugger thinks would be a good hire. Despite reports that suggested otherwise, Rodriguez, according to Cashman, never threw his hat in the ring.

“I reached out to Alex a number of times,” Cashman said. “I look for a lot of guidance from a lot of people I have a lot of respect for, and Alex knows baseball as well as anybody. So, he certainly connected with me about what his thoughts are, the type of people he thinks we should play on.

“He never expressed interest in any way, shape or form. I engaged him, but, I don’t want to speak for him. I don’t think he has any interest in that position,” Cashman added.

Cashman will next offer his recommendation to Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner. There’s no timetable for a final decision.

It’s hard to say who the clubhouse leader is at this point. Various reports suggest all of the candidates — Rob Thomson, Eric Wedge, Hensley Meulens, Aaron Boone, Chris Woodard, and Carlos Beltran — made an impression during their lengthy sit-downs with Cashman.

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Cashman also discussed the Yankees’ interest in Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani.

Otani is expected to be posted by his Japanese club as early as Friday. MLB teams that pay the $20 million posting fee will have up until Dec. 23 to work out a deal with the 23-year-old right-hander, who is also a prolific left-handed hitter.

“This is an impact-type player that would make us better,” Cashman said. “I had a chance to personally witness Otani pitch, obviously, how he interacted with teammates, the camaraderie they had within the team. I think he’d be a perfect fit for us, someone that our new manager and coaching staff and players would enjoy having.”

Shohei Otani

Japan’s Shohei Ohtani at the plate in 2016 (Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images); Otani on the mound in 2015. (Photo: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)

Armed with a nasty repertoire of pitches, including a 100-plus mph fastball, and a swing suited for the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium, Otani figures to be a perfect match for the Yankees, provided they can beat out several other clubs for his services.

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Industry insiders believe the Yankees are the front-runner to sign Otani, but the playing field is relatively equal, at least from a financial standpoint. Otani can only be paid a certain amount due to the MLB collective bargaining agreement’s international player signing pool policy.

But the Yankees seem to be more attractive than most clubs due in part to the opportunities for exposure and endorsement dollars in New York City.

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