On Monday, the Yankees signed Chase Headley to a four-year, $52 million contract. Cashman said Headley, not Rodriguez, will be the team's starting third baseman. Rodriguez missed the entire 2014 season due to a suspension for his involvement in baseball's Biogenesis scandal.
"I can't expect Alex to be anything," Cashman told the AP. "I've got to think the worst and hope for the best. Even before the suspension, he wasn't the same player at third base on the defensive or offensive side. And that was before the suspension."
"And now he's been out of the game for a year. He's approaching 40 years of age. And just to automatically assume given his circumstances that he'll be able to plug right in, play third as an everyday guy and hold up and be productive, I think that would be dangerous thinking from my perspective, in the seat I'm sitting in."
Cashman said Rodriguez will compete with Martin Prado to back up Headley at third and could play there when Headley is resting if Rodriguez proves he still has the athleticism to play the position.
Last week, Cashman said Rodriguez needs to lose some weight before spring training.
In 44 games in 2013, Rodriguez hit .244 with seven home runs and 19 RBI, missing time due to both a torn labrum and a quad strain. He is signed through the 2017 season.
- Molly Geary