Life after the collapse (cont.)
Life of Brian: Yankee forever?
Brian Cashman, a Yankee since the late 1980s, appears likely to return to the Yankees as GM -- though it might not be the most comfortable comeback, as Cashman knows he needs to make amends for his roughest season at the top of the team's baseball hierarchy. Knowing Cashman, he probably doesn't want to leave at a low point, however.
While Cashman's philosophy to emphasize scouting and player development is sound, the decision to hold onto kids Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera and let Santana go to the Mets looks like an error now. Hughes and Kennedy didn't win all year; Santana didn't lose in the second half. While the Steinbrenners respect Cashman's great work ethic, varying skills and track record, and want him back, that misstep isn't forgotten.
Cashman's been given until sometime in the first part of next week to let the Steinbrenners know whether he's returning (the New York Post suggested that Cashman already has signaled he's staying), and while he's never been into the extra prestige attached to the Yankees job, the guess here is that Cashman wouldn't want to go out after his one non-playoffs year, and probably also wouldn't want to miss the opportunity to enter the new Yankee Stadium as the club's GM.
Besides, the outside options are looking somewhat limited. It may be hard to find a team willing to match the $2 million-plus salary the Yankees will pay Cashman. (The Red Sox are said to have re-signed Theo Epstein for a salary of more than $2 million, but other teams generally don't pay GMs that well.)
Seattle looked like Cashman's best option when rumors were swirling that his friend Pat Gillick might land there in a key role. But Gillick surely won't be Seattle-bound now, not with Mariners chairman Howard Lincoln telling the Seattle Times he's staying. Lincoln was the reason why Gillick left Seattle in the first place, and Cashman surely knows about Gillick's distaste for Lincoln.
Mariners president Chuck Armstrong, a Kentucky product like Cashman, always has been a big fan of Cashman's. But Armstrong's presence alone wouldn't seem to offset the fact that Lincoln remains.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia and Washington never appeared to be appealing options for Cashman. Gillick could now remain as Phillies GM, and if he does stick to his original plan to retire, they may just promote longtime assistant Ruben Almaro Jr. Cashman attended high school and college in Washington, D.C., but the Nationals' situation is too messy to consider leaving the Yankees. Besides, the Nationals-owning Lerner family is still clinging to embattled GM Jim Bowden for now.
Around the Majors
In Milwaukee, the fans stayed and watched the Mets game on the big screen. Baseball is alive and well in Brew City.
The call to remove Ned Yost and replace him with Dale Sveum was a wise one. Credit Brewers owner Mark Attanasio on that one.
The young Brewers came through, but Corey Hart looked a little shaky the last week.
One scout on Cubs versus Dodgers: "The Cubs should beat the Dodgers easily. The Dodgers don't play good defense.''
That scout also worries about the Dodgers' bullpen. Jonathan Broxton is a "cardiac closer,'' the scout said.
As for Manny, one executive noted, "the Dodgers are almost forced to bid on him now.''
Game 1 will be Ryan Dempster versus Derek Lowe, a battle of free agents. But Dempster is almost sure to stay while Lowe's almost sure to go.
With a batting title on the line, Chipper Jones was only available for pinch-hitting duty this weekend. He had only three at-bats the final nine days of the season and finished on top at .364. The fellow chasing him, Albert Pujols, has been playing despite a severely-injured elbow all year and finished at .357.
Has anyone noticed the Royals (13-3 to finish the season) are the best team in baseball over the last two weeks?
The White Sox are taking the tough route. Going with a three-man rotation, they will now have to win a makeup game today vs. Detroit, then beat the Twins in a tiebreaker game Tuesday before entering the playoffs.
This hasn't been Ozzie Guillen's finest hour. But he was right about Javier Vazquez not being a big-game pitcher.
Todd Helton's back injury kills the Rockies' chances to trade him.
Pirates president Frank Coonelly must not have enjoyed compromising at MLB's behest and awarding Pedro Alvarez a $6.35 million Major League deal, as Coonelly escaped to Bradenton, Fla., rather than be there to greet Alvarez and his family at the signing. Regardless, this was a compromise the Pirates absolutely had to make, as the signing wasn't done in time, the extension was granted to only to the Pirates, and the Pirates have very little else to hang their hats on.
Sad to see Shea Stadium go. But does anyone else think it's funny that the greatest moment was not the two World Series won there but a fielding error by an opponent?
The closing ceremony for Shea would have felt a little more celebratory if the Mets weren't eliminated only minutes earlier.
I wonder if Willie Randolph felt any sense of relief on Sunday. If so, it's the only relief connected to the Mets these days.