Derek Jeter, Yankees Teammates Get Honest Assessment From Straight-Shootin' Brian Cashman

If ever there were a baseball team you'd expect to act like a big corporation - releasing deceptive statements, speaking in indecipherable jargon, and generally just obfuscating the truth - it'd be the New York Yankees, who're prepared to run with a payroll nearly six times that of last year's AL East champion. The Yankees are a business more than any other team is a business, and they've made that work as their identity.

And yet, of late, something has come over the front office. Something truthful, something refreshingly honest. Last week, at Rafael Soriano's introductory press conference, general manager Brian Cashman informed the media that he was against the acquisition. And Tuesday, in a breakfast hosted by Mike Francesca, Cashman again was surprisingly candid.

In response to a question from Francesca on the state of the division:

Francesa: Who's better team today - Red Sox or Yankees?
Cashman: Red Sox. But we have better bullpen.

And later, in response to a fan:

Fan: what happens with Jeter?
Cashman: I'd be surprised if he plays SS for all 4 years. I see him moving to OF.

As far as the first blockquote is concerned, Cashman made no effort to hide the fact that he badly wants another starter. The Yankees are currently set to throw CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, and a trio of question marks, and there's no denying that could be a problem.

And as for the second, this one isn't so directly honest, but if you read between the lines, I think the meaning is revealed. Cashman doesn't think that Jeter will be much of a shortstop by the end of his deal. One wouldn't expect Jeter to decline from great to poor in the span or three or four years. A decline is probable, but not a decline of that magnitude, suggesting the highest Cashman might rate Jeter's current defense is "fair". That, of course, is about the best anyone would say about Jeter's defense right now, but you'd expect the Yankees to speak a little more glowingly.

Brian Cashman has served as the Yankees' general manager since February 1998. Over the past 13 years, he's done an admirable job of handling the pressure while achieving steady success, but it seems the stress has finally worn him to the point at which he's lost the will to misdirect. Brian Cashman's got his opinions, and dammit, he's gonna tell you what they are.

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