Did Brian Cashman learn nothing from Javier Vazquez's second stint with the Yankees?
The Yankees general manager was at a press conference announcing the Rafael Soriano signing on Wednesday and admitted that he had conversations with Carl Pavano's representatives about a return to the Bronx. While we understand kicking every tire and looking under every pillow for help with the rotation, this is really odd. Surely Cashman is aware of just how ugly it would get in the Bronx if Pavano came down with so much as a hangnail.
According to WFAN, things actually moved far enough for Cashman to throw $10 million on the table in an offer for Pavano. If your best friend was making choices like this -- going back with an abusive partner or investing money with a known charlatan -- you would probably be concerned. If they compounded that behavior by publicly calling their bosses dopes, you'd almost certainly step in to hold an intervention.
In admitting that the decision to sign Soriano came from over his head, thus explaining why he'd publicly say there was no chance of such a move hours before the move was announced, Cashman said that he thought it was an inefficient way of allocating the team's resources. Plenty of people have agreed that three years and $35 million is a lot for a reliever when the team is already set as a closer, but the fact that Cashman was actually offering Pavano another chance to acquaint himself with the city's medical facilities makes it a bit easier to swallow meddling ownership.
Cashman was careful to point out that there are worse problems than having Soriano shoved down your throat, which is particularly true in his case. Most general managers are held accountable for personnel decisions, but Cashman will skate by should Soriano flop because everyone knows he's not responsible. That makes it a bit harder to take anything that comes out of his mouth with any degree of seriousness, but it's not a bad way to go about keeping your job.
Speaking of things that are hard to believe from Cashman, he reiterated that Joba Chamberlain is being viewed only as a reliever by the team. An exasperated Cashman said it was the 200th time he's made this clear, a rather strange tone to take for a guy who oversaw the ping-pong match that's turned Chamberlain from one of baseball's brightest prospects to the fourth or fifth-best option out of the bullpen. Given the state of the rotation, you have to wonder why you wouldn't try to maximize Chamberlain's contribution but maybe Cashman knows something we don't know.
Like the fact that Andy Pettitte is coming back, for example. Joe Girardi said Wednesday that Pettitte is working out and throwing in order to be prepared for "whatever his decision is." There's obviously only one decision that requires being in game shape, so this qualifies as a bit of good news on a day filled with strange news from the Yankees.