Heck, the Yankees general manager didn't even wait for the offseason to start. Once the World Series roster was submitted, Cashman's work was done on the 2009 season. "At that point I'm out of it," he says. "I'm in more of a fan situation." Cashman then used the 4 to 6 o'clock hours before each World Series game to make exploratory calls to each general manager. He placed about seven such calls before each game, not calling with any agenda but just to check in with each club, some of whom were already a month into their offseason work.
One of the calls before Game 1 was to Detroit's
Six weeks later Cashman and Dombrowski completed a trade (which also included the Diamondbacks) that sent Granderson to the Bronx, and two weeks later the Yankees struck again, dealing
It was the trade for Vazquez that Cashman ranked as the most important of the offseason. The 12-year veteran is coming off a career year in which he finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting after going 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP, the latter two personal bests). He gives the Yankees a reliable fourth option in the postseason -- more necessary this fall given the tightened October schedule -- and has not thrown fewer than 198 innings in the past decade. With
As fate would have it, outgoing Yankees left fielder
With right field in the new Yankee Stadium just a short pop-up away, Damon changed his swing and hit fly balls 42.3 percent of the time he made contact, a career-high rate (at least since 2002, the first year for which fangraphs.com has such data). He hit 17 of his career-high-tying 24 homers at home.
Granderson, meanwhile, put up his own career-high home run total last year but did so playing half his games in cavernous Comerica Park. In fact, only 10 of his 30 homers came at home. Even better (for Granderson and the Yankees): He's already more of a fly ball hitter than Damon, hitting fly balls on 49.3 percent of his batted balls last year, and only three of his homers went to the left-field side of center, according to this
Life with A-Rod will never be boring. From steroids to starlets, Rodriguez has an uncanny knack for cracking the headlines. The new chapter this spring -- besides the news that
It has been declared an open competition among
Not only have Johnson and Vazquez both been Yankees before, but they were even traded for each other, with Johnson the headliner of a three-player package sent to Montreal for Vazquez in December 2003. There had been speculation last fall that the Yankees would keep the DH slot open for a rotation of aging veteran hitters like Jeter, Posada and Rodriguez. But Johnson and his .402 career on-base percentage were too good to pass up for Cashman. The Yankees can easily slot him into Damon's vacant lineup spot. "Nick Johnson has huge on-base skills," Cashman says "He hits lefties, he hits righties. He doesn't strike out much. All those things, for me, I could plug him into the No. 2 role right in front of [
Ah yes, "if he can stay healthy." That's not Johnson's strong suit. In the nine years of his big league career, he has played 100 or more games only four times. He was already scratched from a game earlier this spring with a stiff lower back.