12/08/11 4:22 PM EST
Cashman talks coyly about interest in Darvish
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was coy in discussing the 25-year-old right-hander, refusing to say if the club intends to participate in the posting process with a bid.
"I can't tell you," said Cashman. "It's one of those things where there's been a lot of discussion over the last few years about him coming over.
"It's just one of those things where you wait and see if he gets posted. Then obviously everybody on this side of the fence will evaluate it -- meaning all of the Major League clubs, about whether they want to participate or not."
Darvish was 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA this season for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, and he had 276 strikeouts to lead the Pacific League. The Yankees are known to have scouted him, and observers say that his drop-and-drive delivery should project well in the Majors.
"It's hard to say," said Cashman. "He's extremely talented, but in terms of how it transitions and everything else like that, I wouldn't even want to speculate. He's obviously got a great deal of ability."
Cashman has said that the Yankees did not possess the financial flexibility to sign a big free-agent pitcher, watching C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle come off the board this week.
But Cashman also said that he won't hesitate to ask managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner for more money. The Yankees may have been burned on the Kei Igawa signing at a cost of $46 million, but Darvish is regarded as a much different talent.
"Timing is everything, when people become available," Cashman said. "Sometimes if you like somebody a great deal, it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be in a position to participate. Obviously, he's extremely talented, so if he's going to get posted and stuff, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out."
The Yankees did acquire the rights to negotiate with a Japanese player this week, bidding a reported $2 million to talk with Seibu Lions infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima. They have until Jan. 6 to reach an agreement.
Pujols' agent touched base with Yankees
DALLAS -- The Yankees never feigned even a glimmer of interest in fitting Albert Pujols for pinstripes, but the slugger's agent did reach out to general manager Brian Cashman just to make sure.
Cashman learned of Pujols' monster contract with the Angels via text message during Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, and he said that Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, touched base early in the process on his client's behalf.
"I said no; I gave it a nice, respectful no," Cashman said. "We've made our commitments, we have guys we're committed to, and so ... even though you can say he can fit on anybody's club, realistically our money is spent in those directions. How do you add that with our commitments? You just can't. It's not feasible."
Cashman said that with Alex Rodriguez's massive contract, as well as Mark Teixeira on an eight-year, $180 million deal that includes a full no-trade clause, there was never going to be any room at the inn for Pujols.
"They just checked in. It was more, I'm sure, on [Lozano's] list of things -- 'I have to ask, because I've got to do my job,'" Cashman said. "But even Dan Lozano recognized [that with] Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, [Jesus] Montero -- there's no vacancy here. I think if you were in my chair, you'd be in the same decision-making mode."
Asked for his reaction to Pujols' arrival in Anaheim, Cashman made a light-hearted attempt to steer the conversation back to the Yankees' brightest prospect.
"Obviously he's one of the greatest that's played," Cashman said of Pujols. "He makes everybody significantly better. If he played for anybody, he'd make them all significantly better. He's a special player. I don't know him personally, but I see what he does with that bat. It's Montero-like."
Boras knows Yanks want to bring back Jones
DALLAS -- The Yankees would like Andruw Jones back as a reserve outfielder who can mash left-handed pitching, and agent Scott Boras says his client is aware of general manager Brian Cashman's interest.
"I know they liked him," Boras said. "Cash told me that he thought he filled the role that he had very well. He was very well respected in the clubhouse, so I'm sure they want him back."
Jones hit 13 homers in 190 at-bats on a one-year, $2 million contract. While the part-time role wasn't the 10-time Gold Glove Award winner's first choice, Boras said Jones knows that playing every day is unlikely.
"I think he wanted to play more than what he played in New York," Boras said. "Certainly, hitting 13 home runs in a couple hundred atbats, he's probably deserving. He understands he's not going to be a full-time player."
Rivera recovering well after surgery on throat
DALLAS -- Closer Mariano Rivera is recovering as expected from throat surgery, general manager Brian Cashman said on Thursday.
Rivera, 42, had polyps removed from his vocal cords on Friday in New York after having difficulty speaking for more than a month. The procedure should not affect Rivera's readiness for Spring Training.
"I've been told everything is fine," Cashman said.
Baseball's all-time saves leader, Rivera said that he would be unable to speak for a week following surgery, and he then would be back to normal after another week.