Jan
27

The sounds of Cashman calling Boras’s bluff

By

Judging by the way he’s spoken to the media this week, Brian Cashman is as sick of the Johnny Damon drama as the rest of us. I can understand, to an extent, the attention surrounding the situation. Damon is the best remaining free agent, and the Yankees have a perceived hole in left field. But they also claim to have a tight budget, making what appears to be a perfect marriage a bit dicier. And so, the more time Johnny spends on the free agent market, the more we hear about his prospects, both real and fabricated.

This week Cashman has seemed a bit irritated when a reporter raises the topic. Over the weekend, when Jon Heyman floated the story about the Yankees putting a weekend deadline on their offer to Damon, Cashman wasn’t too friendly when asked for a comment.

“Long long it’s taking certain people to wake up and smell the coffee, that’s what surprises me,” Cashman said. “Wake up and smell the coffee,” seems to be one of his favorite phrases. But who, in this instance, should roll themselves out of bed and take a whiff of the French roast? “When you get on the phone with agents, they tell you one thing, and certain agents can’t honestly believe what they’re trying to convey. Do they think I’m stupid?” Emphasis, of course, is mine.

I wasn’t with Cashman when he said this. I don’t know what tone he took, though having heard him speak before I can venture a pretty good guess. But even absent that information, it sounds like he’s referring to Scott Boras. If Bill Madden is right about Boras continuing to float mystery teams instead of talking numbers, I’d say it’s almost certain that the above quote could read, “…Scott Boras can’t honestly believe what he’s trying to convey.”

Yesterday Bryan Hoch asked Cashman about Johnny Damon, and he started off frankly. “I’m not having any discussions with him,” Cashman said. Fair enough. Straight forward, answering the question — things you expect. But then he added a bit of a zinger, again presumably targeted at Boras.

“His abilities exceed the money that I have.”

I definitely chuckled at this a bit. Boras has gone on and on about Johnny’s invincibility this winter, and now that his other major clients have homes he has probably ramped up that effort over the past week or so. I can only imagine Cashman’s annoyance at constantly hearing it from Boras. His quote is also, I think, a hint at the dissonance between Boras’s demands and the current market. Yes, Johnny is a valuable player, and in a different year he’d probably have received a multiyear offer. This year that will not happen. But Boras continues to bang the drum.

All parties seem to think the Yankees are moving on. That’s just public discourse, however. Until Johnny signs elsewhere, the possibility remains that he’ll again don pinstripes in 2010. But, in case he does sign in Oakland or Cleveland or some other team, the Yankees do have options. As Joel Sherman tweets, the Yankees are still considering their options, including Reed Johnson. Also, if Rocco Baldelli comes to Spring Training, it will be as a non-roster invite. That makes plenty of sense, considering Baldelli’s injury history and performance last season.

Over the weekend, Damon said he’d have a team by the end of this week. Please, oh please let that be true. I don’t think I have the stomach for much more of this.

Categories : Hot Stove League

113 Comments»

  1. A.D. says:

    Seems its a bit of a standoff between Cash & Boras, only Cash can’t really lose, would Damon be a great addition, sure, but not necessary. It’s necessary for Boras to get his client signed.

    • Warren says:

      This item does eat up column space, in a good way, and does give many a baseball writer a thing to keep talking about.

      Wonder if several writers got Cashman to play along, so to eat up the next few weeks of really NO NEWS in sports ?

    • Gerald Williams says:

      Why do all these bloggers keep complaining about the Damon signing? This is the type of story that brings people to your sites!

    • Bo says:

      So a LF who is clutch, proven hits 20+ homers and gets on base at a high clip isnt necessary? Esp when his replacement cant hit and lsot his job to Melky??

      • jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis says:

        allow me:

        http://bit.ly/9Q5M79

      • A.D. says:

        Do you understand what necessary means?

        • Bo says:

          So its not necessary to have a better player on the field?

          I kinda think it is. Just kinda.

          Then again by your definition Granderson isnt necessary either because they have Hoffmann. And Vazquez wasnt necessary either because they have other starters.

          So why even make moves to get better????

          • All Praise Be To Mo says:

            We’ll sign Damon at the price we determine. Why go out and pay $10 mil for him now? I’m sure if he comes back and will accept $4-5 million from us he’ll be a Yankee again. It’s about the cost/benefit to them team. Honestly, how much does Damon add over Gardner? 1, maybe 2 wins, if that? When you’re a team like the Yankees, why pay that much to win either 100 or 101 games, it’s not that big of a deal at that point.

          • A.D. says:

            So its not necessary to have a better player on the field?

            No, its preferred, I’d like them to see Damon back, but it’s not necessity at this point, the team can perform just fine given their pitching & rest of the line-up, even if LF is a black hole at the bottom of the lineup to start the season.

            So why even make moves to get better????

            This just doesn’t even make any sense.

            • I will explain.

              No, there is too much. I will sum up.

              YOU: Damon would be a great addition but he’s not necessary.
              SBGL: So Damons not necessary??????
              YOU: No. Do you know what the word necessary means?
              SBGL: No, I dont!!!! Nor do I know what an apostrophe is, or how to punctuate properly!!!
              YOU: Nice talking with you.

              … aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, SCENE!

              • king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

                have to admit, if you’d written…

                SBGL: No, I dont!!!! Nor do I know what “an” apostrophe is, or how to punctuate properly!!!

                …it could have brought the whole scene to grammy level…

          • jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis says:

            Then again by your definition Granderson isnt necessary either because they have Hoffmann. And Vazquez wasnt necessary either because they have other starters.

            you’re kidding right? no one thinks that but the made up figurines inside your head

  2. Short Porch says:

    Three words: Nippon Ham Fighters

  3. radnom says:


    Yes, Johnny is a valuable player, and in a different year he’d probably have received a multiyear offer.

    Or earlier this offseason.

    On another note, Joe I suggest perhaps letting the other guys handle any Damon stories from here on out? I think the “Left field closing arguments” must have gotten to you…I’m worried this Damon drama is starting to affect your mental health.

  4. JMK aka The Overshare's Garden Apartment Complex says:

    Meh, I don’t really care one way or another about Damon’s whereabouts. It’s annoying, but what else is there to talk about? I can only make so many Cody Ransom jokes, you know. Now, if the Damon saga reaches critical mass Favre-like levels, I’ll be upset. Until then, I’ll be here with my beer, stool softener while refreshing MLBTR at work.

  5. Zack says:

    If Boras is still trying to pull the “mystery team” crap then that’s pretty hilarious. It’s when you were a kid and you caught your friend in a lie, but instead of admitting it he just kept going and made the story even more ridiculous.

  6. Salty Buggah says:

    I have a feeling that in “Wake up and smell the coffee,” the coffee stands for something else.

  7. Ed says:

    Perfect title for this story.

    Boras is excellent at playing the media. At the start of the offseason, he throws out absurd demands that everyone laughs at. But while we’re busy laughing, those demands get repeated constantly and sink into everyone’s minds. Occasionally he’ll find a sucker to bite on them, like with Zito. Most of the time that won’t happen, but often the bar for negotiations gets moved higher. He’ll hear an offer for 3 years and publicly proclaim it’ll take 7 to get his client. Usually, someone will eventually give in and give 4 or 5 years at more money than the initial offer. The press will proclaim Boras to have lost, the team signing him may feel like they pulled off a victory, and Boras and his client will be thrilled with a contract that’s larger than most agents would have gotten.

    I think calling out Boras’s bluff publicly is the best thing Cashman can do to gain leverage. Damon’s case is a perfect time to do it as well, as it seems highly unlikely that another team will jump in with a better offer. I’d love to see more of this.

    • Guest says:

      I think I generally agree with your point. But, the problem with bluffs, and especially Boras’ bluffs, is occassionally you call them and it turns out your opponent has a royal flush.

      Just ask the Red Sox about a certain Yankee first baseman. They could have sworn Boras couldn’t get a better offer for Texiera. They were wrong.

      The difference with the Damon situation, of course, is that if Boras does have a better offer for Damon, it won’t be that big of a deal for the Yankees. The urgency isn’t that great.

      I guess the lesson is be careful about calling bluffs when the stakes are really high, but go ahead if you can afford to lose.

      • A.D. says:

        Thats the big thing, Boras frequently creates pressure when there is no pressure, and thus gets GMs to hastily sign big deals when there is no rush.

      • Ed says:

        Agreed on the risk of bluff calling. That’s why I liked that Cashman picked this time to do it – it’s really obvious that Damon isn’t getting an offer anywhere near what Boras has asked for publicly.

        As for Boston and Tex, that’s a different story. From the sounds of it, Tex just preferred to be a Yankee. The Nationals offered more than either the Yankees or Red Sox did, so it wasn’t just a money issue.

  8. Jack says:

    “Please Johnny sign somehwere before I start puncturing my eyeballs witha phillips head screwdriver”

    Everybody drink.

  9. Drew says:

    I like Boars a lot. I think what he does is great for his clients.

    In this situation I blame the player.

    At this point, it isn’t Boras holding out, he’s explained the market and situation to Johnny. Johnny is holding out for the next best thing. Hopefully he finds what he’s looking for. It’s as simple as that.

  10. Johnny says:

    Poor Damon. Beane has said the A’s top priority now is a utility infielder. Damon is running out of suitors fast.

  11. Rick says:

    its a cat and mouse game. As it always is. Agents vs GMs.

    but this comment was interesting to me, “certain agents can’t honestly believe what they’re trying to convey.”

    i think we all assume that to mean Scott Boras. But as reported today…Boras pitched Nady for $5million to the yankees…and we heard they would have considered Xavier Nady at the deal he signed with the Cubs. So where was the disconnect? i mean the way it sounds is the yankees and boras never even talked after the $5million offer was extended by boras. If so then some blame has to be put on Cash if indeed the yankees were interest in nady for the deal he got today.

    but also..we haven’t heard from Randy Winn’s agent…we have no clue what Reed Johnson wants…or Rocco. So those guys could very well be reaching for the stars much like johnny damon is/was. The agents comment from above may no just be scott boras folks.

    as for the damon stuff…hey listen. Boras and Damon screwed the pooch on that one. they sat the bar way too high. thats the bottomline. Damon wanted too much. and now he’ll be forced to take a “lowball” offer from someone. Thats the door they picked at the beginning of the offseason and there is no going back now.

    • DP says:

      Isn’t it possible Nady said “for the exact same amount of money I’d prefer the Cubs over the Yankees, but try getting money out of the Yankees first”? Let’s not blame Cashman unnecessarily.

      I refuse to believe the Yankees are in on Randy Winn at all, Baldelli made 500K last year (and barely played) and Johnson made 3M, and had his role reduced and performed worse. I doubt any of these three are the subjects of the quote.

      • Rick says:

        is it possible nady said that? yes absolutely it is. But thats not the feeling i got when i read sherman’s tweet about the situation. and i’m not trying to put unjust blame on cash.

        i don’t see why randy winn wouldn’t be in the mix. Can play all 3 OF spots. Plays slight above average D in LF…way above average in RF. Ok career numbers vs LHP…and thats with a HORRIBLE line last year. But just 1 year and the K-long factor always helps. Was very good away from San Fran. and had great numbers with men on base.

        • Brian says:

          If the Yanks were interested in Nady at $5 million, why are they sticking to the $2 million left for Damon? I don’t get it.

          • jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis says:

            they weren’t, they were interested in nady at the deal he signed with the cubs which was somehting like 3.3 with some incentives.

            reading is fundamental

        • Ed says:

          But thats not the feeling i got when i read sherman’s tweet about the situation.

          Don’t over-analyze statements that are made to fit a 140 character limit.

  12. Bobtaco says:

    Blame Madoff. I think he took a lot of JD’s money. Now Johnny probably feels like he needs every last $, and as much as he can recoup before he has to retire.

    • JMK aka The Overshare's Garden Apartment Complex says:

      Not Madoff, it was a different ponzi scheme. Some guy must have sold him a lot of Cutco knives…

      • jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis says:

        i had a friend in college who tried to sell me the “health juice”

        but you only have to dirink 2 oz a day!!! and the bottle is 64 oz!!!! thats 32 times!!!!! a month’s supply!!!

        no. thanks.

    • A.D. says:

      Damon had money with Stanford & he only had money with the bank, not the investment ponzi scheme, so he lost no money in the situation.

      They clarified it that yeah, I’ve got nothing to worry about. But unfortunately, the money is frozen.” PMC does not make actual investments, Boras said. “We have no link to Stanford, no financial connection to any investment company with any of our clients,” Boras said.

      http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/s.....amon,-Nady

  13. Salty Buggah says:

    I found it interesting when Cashmoney said this: “I have players that are willing to move with me when I decide to.”

    I’m not exactly sure what it means but I think he’s saying that he has options ready just in case something else he wants doesn’t work out. At first I thought why he hasn’t signed them yet but then I realized that he can afford to be patient with guys like Damon. He might be waiting for the opportunity to pounce in case something opens up (like Damon’s price going even lower). If not, he has options like Reed Johnson he can go to.

  14. Jeffrey says:

    I don’t think it’s a bluff from Boras.

    This year has shown that there is a lot more money in the game than appears to the naked eye. Who would have thought that Holliday would get $120 million from the St. Louis Cardinals of all people negotiating against themselves? That Sheets would get his $10m plus incentives from the penny pinching Oakland A’s, that Chapman would get over $30m from the Cincinnati Reds??? All of these deals from “small market” clubs.

    Boras will find someone to give Damon his money, maybe even the Yankees. All a team needs to do is to dip into its “hidden reserves”.

    • Salty Buggah says:

      It’s definitely a good market for the upper-echelon players. But for guys like Damon, it’s way tougher, like last year with Abreu. Just because elite players (or potentially elite, like with Sheets and Chapman) got their paychecks, I don’t think it means that the lesser players will too.

      • Salty Buggah says:

        Also, not only are those guys some of the most talented players, they’re under or around 30 while Damon is in his decline.

    • Zack says:

      I disagree.

      Teams find those hidden reserves for guys who make a difference. If a team signs Damon its not taking them from playoff-level team to championship level team. And he’s not a player a team can sign to move at the deadline or keep can take 2 draft picks either.

  15. JMK aka The Overshare's Garden Apartment Complex says:

    If I’m Boras, I just get more outlandish. Throw out something really crazy.

    Scott Boras: Hey Brian, yeah, here’s the deal—Johnny has an offer on the table for a group of investors trying to put a league together in Newfoundland, Canada. They’re willing to let him grow out all sorts of crazy hair styles, player-manage his own Native American-themed baseball team (the cheerleaders are porn stars from the island), and they’re offering him a base salary of $9 million, with incentives that include the possibility of him having legal Canadian tender bear his name and likeness, should he hit 30 home runs. The right field porch is 240 feet in Holy Shit, We Now Have Electricity Stadium.

    He’s also allowed to moonlight as a professional wrestler…but for 1 year at $7 million, with incentives that could push the deal to $11 million, he’ll stay in New York. That’s how much he likes being a Yankee.

    Brian Cashman: Holy shit is this cocaine good!

  16. SM says:

    Should a team ever come out a make its offer public? Should Cash say, we made an offer of 1 year $5M and he has not accepted (if true of course)? Is there too much downside and backlash that we should have given him more?

    • Zack says:

      There’s no real benefit for doing that. It doesnt matter what Cash offers, if he signs somewhere else then the MSM and some fans are going to say “You’re the Yankees, you should have offered more”

      • Mister Delaware says:

        “You’re the Yankees, you should have offered more …”

        … so we can follow the template of criticizing you for offering more. Yup.

  17. PaaakmaaaN the second says:

    I hope Johnny Damon signs with a team soon this is taking wayyyyyyyyy toooooooooo looooong.

    Anyone hear the news that the Rays could be moving to the Tri-State area?

    They said this in SportsNite on SNY. They said the Rays could move to New Jersey or southern Conneticut.

    I hope they do now i can go watch yankee games for cheap.

    • Bo says:

      There is a thing called territorial rights. They just cant move a team within 60 or so miles from established teams. No way the Mets/Yankees would let that happen. just like San Fran wont let Oakland move into San Jose.

    • Anyone hear the news that the Rays could be moving to the Tri-State area?

      They said this in SportsNite on SNY. They said the Rays could move to New Jersey or southern Conneticut.

      Off topic oaktaggery.

      I hope they do now i can go watch yankee games for cheap.

      I don’t know how that follows from the Rays moving to Connecticut or Jersey (which they wouldn’t anyway). Yankee home games would still be just as expensive, as a third team (with no local fanbase) wouldn’t drive prices down, and the Connecticut/Jersey Rays would charge premium prices for all their home Yankee/Mets games anyway.

    • Dude, I’ve warned you before about posting off-topic. Just because you lead with a Johnny line does not mean you can veer off-topic in the next sentence. Stop. Now. I’m done saying please.

  18. Bo says:

    It would be a huge mistake not signing Damon. Gardner is not a regular outfielder. he’ll get exposed just as he did last yr. But its just not him. its that this team has no depth. if one of the regulars gets hurt whats happens?? Id rather have Gardner as the backup 4th OF than whoever.
    Damon is perfect for this lineup and this team in the clubhouse. It’s not like hes asking for a 4 yr deal here. Pinching pennies now will only force them to go after a LF bat in June.

    Just think of the conniption fits here if they trade mcallister for a bat.

    • jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis says:

      this is your first solid argument on this point and you have got my attention.

      but at the same time depth doesn’t mean signing someone hwo is a starter and who is great, depth is having enough guys to throw at the wall to see who sticks, a la the bullpen. gardner, hoffman, golson, a guy like reed johnson, tatis (TATIS), or any combo of those guys is depth. its not the best but a guy who can hit lefties but nto righties and a guy who can hit righties but not lefties can split time esp on a team that has as many weapons as the yankees. if swisher goes down, yes, that sucks a lot. that’s why i would like them to sign someone like tatis who has above average offensive production and as he showed last yr can fill in for injuries successfully and productively. now, if it comes down to tatis at 2 mill and damon at 3 obv u take damon. but if damon wants 5+ and a guy like tatis wants 2 then you sign tatis imo

      • Rose says:

        Agreed. It’s not so much that NOT signing Johnny Damon is the huge mistake. It’s IF the Yankees stop here and don’t do anything else…it MIGHT be a huge mistake depending on critical circumstances that may arise.

        I’ll be ecstatic if we sign Johnny Damon on the cheap for one year.

        I’ll be very happy if we sign a Reed Johnson or Randy Winn for LF.

        I’ll be a little disappointed if we stick with what we have…but not to the point where I lose any confidence in the team…just that little bit of disappointment like if you win the lottery…but miss the powerball.

      • The “What happens if someone gets hurt” argument is the last refuge of a dying man.

  19. Rose says:

    The Boston newspapers are keeping close watch on this and have even written articles about it…hoping we don’t sign Johnny Damon.

    Right now we’re a better team anyway…but if we add Johnny Damon into the #2 hole as a luxury and on the cheap…we will most certainly be a dynamic force to be wreckoned with (not that we already aren’t).

  20. JohnC says:

    BUCK FORAS!!

  21. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why anyone wants to have Boras as an agent. I mean is there any evidence he’s ever increased the amount of money a player got over simply what the maret was offering?

    • Zack says:

      “I don’t think I’ll ever understand why anyone wants to have Boras as an agent”

      You cant understand? Really?

      There cant be any real evidence because there is no way to determine what a player’s true market value is and how much Boras beats it by compared to another agent. It’s perception, just look around at some contracts and ask if Boras wasnt the agent would Rick Ankiel get 3.75m from the Royals?

      • Well, they are the team that go rid of the worst SS in baseball…by trading for the 2nd worst SS in baseball.

        Anyway, I guess what I shoud have said is that I don’t know why higher tier players want to mess with Boras. Maybe he’s a very studious agent who pours rigorously over every minute rovision in a contract and is really good at wringing out perks at the margins or something, but in terms of just money, I think it’d be a stretch to say he gets any of his bigger name clients mch more money than what the market bears for them. Sabathia made out pretty damn well for himself, an he’s nota Boras client for example.

  22. mryankee says:

    I do not understand teh excitement around Reed Johnson. That name does nothing for me. Why not bring in Baldelli on a minor league deal if healthy he is a much better player.

  23. Cecala says:

    Looks like the Johnny Damon talk is over for good. On baseball tonight they just announced the Yanks are awaiting a physical with Randy Winn.

  24. Scott Boras is killing Damon. Until now his client still has no job. Spring is coming but no contract yet for Damon.

  25. [...] take a penny less than $26M over two years for Damon back in December, and Cashman ended up calling his bluff. So now the Yankees are paying Winn $2M in 2010 to do something. Whether that’s serve as the [...]

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