The pursuit of Curtis Granderson

These Rules belong to Phil
Valentine's Day Open Thread

For the Yankees, the last log on the hot stove has turned to ash. The team appears completely set as players begin reporting to the Tampa camp. We’ve reflected on the 2009 season, reflected on the moves the Yankees made in an attempt to repeat, and even reflected on the moves they didn’t make. There doesn’t seem much left to do before spring training begins.

Still, we can find some tidbits about the off-season to fill the gap. For instance, when Brian Cashman spoke at the University of New Haven last Thursday he revealed something about his pursuit of Curtis Granderson. The conversations that led to the Yankees acquiring the All-Star center fielder actually began before they won the World Series — began, in fact, just before the first pitch of Game 1. It might sound like odd timing to you and me, but not to Brian Cashman.

“I said, ‘Dave, we set our roster, so there’s nothing left for me to do now except for turning the page and talk about next year.’ That’s when he first mentioned Curtis Granderson might become available.”

At that point, 28 general managers had nothing to worry about except rebuilding their teams for 2010. It’s nice to hear that Cashman started working on the 2010 Yankees once his obligations to the 2009 team ceased. In that type of competitive landscape, he can’t really afford to fall behind.

After the jump, as to hide it from everyone who’s sick of the story, a bit about Damon.

Here’s Cashman on the endgame with Damon. He’s talking about the one-year, $6 million contract the Yankees floated in January.

“I told (Damon and Boras), ‘I don’t know if Hal (Steinbrenner, the team’s part owner) would approve it, but I’m not going to fight for it unless we know you will do it,” Cashman said. “Scott Boras said, “Bobby Abreu’s (new) contract is $9 million a year right now on the table so why would we do that? So I expect to see a Bobby Abreu contract.’ … I hope he does not sign for something less than our offer. That means he should have been a Yankee and that’s not our fault.”

These Rules belong to Phil
Valentine's Day Open Thread
  • Mike P

    The cult of cash is a worthy cause.

  • ramez hanna

    i think if damon price drops to 5 million they should jump on it
    release thames and pay him the 150 grand he is owed and restrict winn to only 200 atbats so he wont get paid more than the 1.1 million he is owed without the incentives.
    then sign damon for 5 million
    so it will be = 6 million the yankees offered him before+winn for free

    • Tom Zig


    • camilo Gerardo

      perhaps, or contribute the said 5 million towards the 2011 Left fielder if he doesn’t come from in house

    • radnom

      All indications are that the Tigers will pay him more than that, I don’t see it happening. Even if his demands did drop to $5m,
      I don’t think the Yankees would jump on it and if they did the Tigers would go at $6m.

    • Drew

      It’s over, man. Let go.

    • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      In other news, I heard a fascinating tale from an 8-year old earlier today. She told me that bananas occasionally lay eggs. That’s how you get plantains, according to her.

      What were you saying?

  • Elliot

    The most fascinating part of this offseason for me has been the willingness of Cash to shed a little bit of light on the sequence of negotiations and his thought process throughout. So I’ve found the Damon soap opera to be very interesting in that context.

    Cash has, overall, done a terrific job since he got his authority expanded.

    • radnom

      I think part of that is because Boras forced his hand in the PR battle.
      Cashman just can’t sit back and say nothing after Boras claims the Yankees never even made an offer to Damon or else he will look like the bad guy (especially considering how much the fans loved Damon).

      • Zack

        I agree with that, and I liked that Cashman has actually commented on it. But was it even necessary? Does any fan actual believe what Boras says? I mean did even the irrational fans buy into Boras/Damon’s “poor us” routine?

        • countryclub

          Yes. Plenty did and still do.

        • radnom

          I mean did even the irrational fans buy into Boras/Damon’s “poor us” routine?

          Unfortunately, I think the reaction to Winn signing means the answer to that question is a resounding “yes”.

          • Zack

            True. I mean I doubt either are telling the whole truth, but if I had to pick between Boras and Cash on who I believe then I’m picking Cash every time.

        • Chris A

          Trust me, there are plenty of people who think the Yankees were the bad guys in the Damon negotiations. I know plenty of them, and they tend to be the same people who have always wanted Joba in the bullpen, Girardi fired, A-Rod traded, etc…seems to be a pattern.

        • whozat

          Of course they did. It fit the narrative they wanted to believe, that Cashman is a beancounter that’s too corporate and stupid to appreciate the value of clubhouse chemistry.

          • Mike P

            Their seem to be a lot of amateur clubhouse chemists around. I wonder how they practice their hobby?

            • Mike P


  • Jake H

    I love Cash taking it to Boras.

  • Geek

    I like Cash for how he looks at the needs as both a Team and and a portfolio of assets. What changed last year is the consideration of the team chemistry. I believe Cash in terms of what they placed on the table, it was fair and balanced. I also believe that Boras and Damon wanted a mutil year deal and serious money. The Yankees did not blink and other teams have not been quick to come to the table with an offer that is significantly better than what Damon / Boras rejected. The Yankees have acquired very good players to fill the hole Damon left and looking back at what could have been is over. I don’t envision Damon again wearing pin-stripes and that may give him some uncomfortable moments in October.

    • andrew

      What changed last year is the consideration of the team chemistry.

      I won’t argue with you, but i’ll just say… agree to disagree.

      • Pasqua

        I’ll argue with him for you.

        “Team chemistry” is a completely arbitrary term that people use to rationalize a position that cannot be defended using the results of the on-field product.

        Isn’t it amazing how the average fan will announce that a team had “great chemistry” when their team wins and, yet, decry chemistry (or ignore the concept altogether) when their team loses?

        A winning team is a product of luck and talent on the field. It is not a product of who likes each other, or who “keeps it real” in the clubhouse.

        Hope you don’t mind me picking up for you there, andrew.

    • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      I have a PHD. in Alchemy. You are so wrong, dude! So wrong!

  • WizardLizard

    I saw Cash on the Yankees Hot Stove show a bit ago and he seems to have become quite ruthless. One of the hosts made a joke and Cash looked like he wanted to throttle the dude. He’s not messing around and I’m glad that he’s in charge of the Yankees. He says what he means and doesn’t bluff.

    • bexarama

      Yeah. He’s super rigid (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID). I kinda like it.

    • Elliot

      I think that’s about confidence and focus. One aspect of the Yankee front office that never got the play-up I’d have expected is the clean and for-real transfer of decision-making power to Cash. There has been no apparent backsliding, and they all seemed in synch right away — perhaps day-to-day control of the team had already mostly passed to H&H.

  • bexarama

    Is it just me or have the “the Yankees are doomed without Damon” people, who were actually kinda quiet for a while when they found out that the Yankees offered Damon the most by far, come back in full force? I do not enjoy this >:(

    Would I rather have Damon than a sort of weird Gardner/Winn/Thames/whatever thing we have going on in the outfield there? Yeah. But I’d also like Mauer catching and a rotation of Greinke, Sabathia, Halladay, Santana, and 1968 Bob Gibson (I only didn’t put Lincecum in there because watching him pitch is uncomfortable), but these things ain’t happening either.

    tl;dr: Cash is good at what he does.

    • thurdonpaul

      hell, if we get to pick, i want 1978 Ron Guidry.

      • Bob Stone

        I second that idea!

  • kenthadley

    Yanks have enough “payroll flexibility” to pick up a damon-type player in June/July if they determine they need one… the meantime there are 3-4 roster possibilities…..the observations of Cashman are straight-on…..he’s made a point with Boras for the next negotiation, and with every other agent out there….we pay good money…if you want to play for us, dont play us……

    • Snakes on the mother effin plane

      Like this.

  • pistol pete

    I’ve ranted for weeks to just let the Damon situation play out and pounce when he got real cheap. Cashman, however, went out and signed Randy Winn after telling everyone he needed a right handed bat. What a liar, Winn hit 158 righthanded last year. Cashman got pigheaded with Damon and it’s going to cost the Yankees. The garbage we have in left field couldn’t light a candle to Damon. Johnson would be better suited in the 6 hole and Damon in the 2 hole and Granderson would have been better in the 9 hole between 2 rightys, Swisher and Jeter. This lineup is weak in late games vs tough leftys and our bench of Cervelli, Pena, Hoffman, Thames and Winn/Gardner really scares nobody. He should still sign Damon but now it’s personal. It’s really laughable how Cashman acts so pompus now that the Yanks won last yr. That’s once in the last 9 yrs with the highest payroll. I hope Cashman doesn’t get to arrogant about his talents, let’s face it it didn’t take rocket science to sign CC, AJ, and Tex last yr and spend 1/2 billion. Now he acts like a genius with his posturing around the Damon mess. He’ll be spending money and prospects well before the trade deadline to get a bat and right the Damon wrong.

    • Klemy

      Fielding…Damon can’t light a candle to Gardner and Winn.

    • rbizzler

      I think Cash should sign Jim Rice to up the ‘fear factor’ of the bench.

      Would that make you happy? Me thinks not.

    • Snakes on the mother effin plane

      I do sort of believed that things devolved into the “personal” but with Boras moreso than with Damon.

  • Kiko Jones

    According to, Boras has coaxed a two-year, $14 million offer out of the Detroit Tigers for free agent outfielder Johnny Damon.

    • Elliot

      And if what’s out there is to be believed, 2/14 should still be a problem for Damon, since he could’ve agreed to those terms where he wanted to be.

      It remains to be seen (i.e., on the field) how all will play out, but on paper, I like the constitution of the team more than I probably would have had Damon been signed, even if Damon may be the best LF option in a vacuum.

  • Elliot

    I would love to see a case-by-case comparison of recent Yankee/Boras negotiations — maybe going back 10 years.

    • Klemy

      Seconded…might be a great read.

    • Bob Stone

      Also agree – Great idea for a story post.