06/18/09 3:21 PM ET
Cashman content with team he has built
Yankees GM doesn't foresee making a big deal at Deadline
By Nathalie Alonso / Special to MLB.com
However, based on his comments at a press conference with Spanish-language media at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman seems content with the pieces with which he has built his team -- so long as they are all functioning at full capacity. That has not been the case so far, since he has already had to make use of the disabled list several times this season.
"I am hopeful that most of the answers are right here, right now," Cashman said. "We need to get [starting pitcher Chien-Ming] Wang right. We got [relief pitcher Brian] Bruney back. [Backup catcher Jose] Molina will come back shortly thereafter, maybe two weeks from now. If we can get consistency out of our rotation and get them to pitch the way we expect them to, I'm not sure there will be much to do. We also have [Xavier] Nady coming back soon, we think."
Although he says he does not anticipate a major trade before the July 31 Trade Deadline, the general manager with the highest payroll in baseball does not rule out the possibility that a new face could join New York's roster if the opportunity arises.
"If we get everyone healthy and performing the way they are capable of here, there will be very little to do. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to try," said Cashman.
A major concern for Cashman and the Yankees at this point is the future of Wang. The former Yankees ace has taken five losses in his five starts this season and has an ERA of 12.65. In his most recent start on Wednesday night against the Washington Nationals, the 29-year-old righty gave the Yankees five innings in which he allowed three runs on six hits.
It was a more hope-inspiring outing than previous ones, but there is no telling whether Wang will be able to maintain his spot in the rotation for the rest of the season. If he does, the Yankees will have to decide what to do with Phil Hughes, the 22-year-old who has a 3-2 record since he was called up from the Minors at the end of April to fill in for Wang.
"It's a good problem to have," said Cashman. "Hughes has pitched well. If Chien-Ming Wang gives up his spot in the rotation because of performance, it's nice to have someone ready to step in. I think Wang will hold it, but we'll see."
Cashman did not give any indication as to what will happen with the Yankees' 23-year-old catcher, Francisco Cervelli, once Molina returns from the disabled list. In the absence of Molina -- and until recently of starting backstop Jorge Posada -- Cervelli has impressed the team with his glove and with his bat. He has committed only one error in 151 innings behind the plate and has posted a .278 batting average in 57 at-bats.
"We haven't had those discussions yet," said Cashman.
The GM also spoke about the progress -- or lack thereof -- of reliever Damaso Marte. The 34-year-old lefty was placed on the DL on May 3 due to weakness and tendinitis in his pitching shoulder and is set to resume a throwing program at the team's Minor League complex in Tampa, Fla.
"When you're dealing with medicals, you have to treat the patient as well as the MRIs," Cashman said. "So far, the MRIs are telling us to keep trying, but his rehab hasn't gone well. This last attempt, if it doesn't go well, then we would probably be looking at a surgery to find out what the MRIs really aren't showing."
Although in general Cashman appears optimistic about the roster he has built, the Yankees' motto -- at least since he assumed the role of general manager in 1998 -- has been that a season isn't a success unless it culminates in a World Series championship. In accordance with that standard, Cashman says it is too soon to evaluate the team's season.
"I will only be satisfied if we win. It won't matter if we have three big free agents signed that are playing tremendously," said Cashman, referring to starting pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett and first baseman Mark Teixeira, who all signed with the Yankees during the offseason. "It the team doesn't win, it doesn't mean anything."
Nathalie Alonso is a contributing writer to LasMayores.com, the Spanish-language Web site for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.