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New contract for Cashman?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Yankees ownership approached longtime general manager Brian Cashman offering to talk about an extension to his contract that expires after the 2008 season, SI.com has learned, but Cashman responded by telling his bosses that he doesn't feel the time is right to talk about his contract.

"I am not thinking about personal stuff. I am trying to do the job,'' Cashman told SI.com. "I consider myself a Yankee. I have received no offers, and there are no negotiations going on.''

But if there are no talks, that's Cashman's call. Yankees people say they love Cashman and want him to remain a Yankee for years to come. And he suggested he's amenable to discussing it in time.

Cashman's job recently got a little more interesting with the emergence of the very vocal Hank Steinbrenner, who's taken over for his father George Steinbrenner. But Cashman gave no indication that any of his new boss' public comments and deadlines had anything to do with his decision to delay negotiations.

"I've worked for the Steinbrenner family my entire professional life,'' Cashman said. 'I just hope all of our efforts will be mutually beneficial.''

Cashman, who is heading into the last year of his three-year, $5.5 million contract, came under heat early in the 2007 season when the team was struggling and George Steinbrenner was quoted saying Cashman was "on the hook,'' meaning that his job status was tenuous. But Cashman is apparently off the hook now.

Even so, he isn't ready to discuss his own situation with his new bosses. "I have a contract," he said. "I have busted my butt, and I have been a Yankee from Day One. I have no time to deal with anything beyond the roster and the team.''

George Steinbrenner hired him as an intern in the late '80s and promoted him several times. Steinbrenner has been an extremely tough boss, but the new boss Hank has certainly enlivened things around the Yankees by talking big, setting deadlines and even occasionally publicizing the team's plans. Other GMs speculate that Hank Steinbrenner's comments could become a hindrance to Cashman doing his job, but Cashman suggested no such thing.

Cashman has won three World Series rings since taking over for Bob Watson as general manager before the 1998 season and is the longest-tenured Yankees GM in the Steinbrenner era. His biggest moves included trading for Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens but he's come under some fire for acquiring pitchers who haven't panned out in recent years -- such as Jeff Weaver, Javier Vazquez, Carl Pavano and Kei Igawa.

Cashman also has re-emphasized youth the last few years, and three key pieces to the Yankees team are young pitchers Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, three recently-drafted players. Cashman was able to bring back Yankee icons Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada with new contracts this winter. He was trying to obtain superstar pitcher Johan Santana before Hank Steinbrenner's deadline Monday kicked in. But while the Yankees included Hughes in their last offer, Cashman was reportedly uneasy about that and has generally been very protective of their three coveted young pitchers.

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