Oct. 17 Brian Cashman pregame interview
Q. Brian, the Jeter news, he is going to be out four to five months, is there something new information there with the ankle? Is it more maybe a complex break or ligament damage as well as the fracture?
BRIAN CASHMAN: There is no new information. I believe that Dr. Anderson just put in a more conservative timeframe on it, as explained to me.
So there's no new information. Nothing seen worse than what our team doctor saw. But in terms of the timeframe, I just think wanted to be more conservative with it.
So that's what we're going to go with. My understanding is that it's possible he will be ready earlier than that timeframe, but it is best to at least put out there four, five months as a safer bet.
Q. With all due respect, this can't be the lineup you envisioned in your potential last game of the season, can it?
BRIAN CASHMAN: No. But we've had lineups that the adjusted lineup yesterday wasn't one I envisioned or pinch hitting for Alex is not something we envisioned, but you're in a position to make decisions on a daily basis about trying to find the best way to win.
We do have a deep bench. We have players that could be everyday guys for other clubs. And I think first and foremost you have to recognize that people are struggling. You can move the lineup around or you can replace them if you have legitimate alternatives.
We do believe we have legitimate alternatives that we have been forced to look at. It is as simple as that.
Q. Brian, do you fear that there could be long range repercussion from Alex being put in this situation? Somewhat putting himself in this situation, but on such a national stage? In other words, you know, how difficult do you think it is going to be going forward from here?
BRIAN CASHMAN: We will go forward. Alex will go forward. You know, the one thing about this game, as we've all appreciated over time, is that you're going to have some good times and you're going to have some tough times. But when you're going through the tough times, it doesn't have to be the end all and be all. Opportunities will exist to continue to get back off that mat and get back in the ring and battle.
And Alex is going to wait for that opportunity. Right now it looks like in theory we'll do that against left handed pitching, right now, in this particular time, in this particular moment.
That doesn't mean that he's done; that he's finished; that he is not capable. He is still a big threat, but for whatever reason right now we are adjusting to what we are seeing. And in the short term it doesn't mean that that will necessarily take place in the long term. And it doesn't mean by doing so we're not going to have to deal with legitimate questions like you just asked.
So, you know, that's all for another day. All we are concentrating on is the here and now and what is best for us today.
Q. Brian, can you address the Keith Olbermann report today that the Yankees are discussing the trade for Alex?
BRIAN CASHMAN: I've had no discussions whatsoever with the Florida Marlins. Certainly would never have any trade discussions under the circumstances.
Again, I did not read what was put out there, so I know I probably should be careful I can tell you, there are no discussions whatsoever. They are false. We are not down the line on any trade talks on any of our players, including Alex. And I haven't engaged any general manager about trade discussions, you know, since the deadline for the most part.
I certainly haven't had any discussions with any GMs other than the pregame meetings with Dan Duquette with the Orioles, with the umpires, and then with Dave Dombrowski.
Here during the Tiger series we're receiving congratulatory texts or emails or phone calls from people as we move forward, or as we won. But I've no trade discussions, so false. 100 percent false.
Q. Cash, the decision to bench Alex is a pretty big decision. Three times in the postseason, potentially the last game of the year. It is the kind of decision that a manager makes on his own, or is this something that is discussed organizationally before you do it?
BRIAN CASHMAN: It is discussed organizationally. The relationship I have with the manager is strong, and we always that's the way I want it to be. We always go through what the lineup should be and how it should look we think. He asks my opinion. He asks his coaches' opinion. And that's the way it's been.
But at the end of the day, he'll have the final call. And I can honestly tell you we've had conversations throughout the day not this particular day, but throughout the days when we go through this that you can have a conversation after the game the night before, you can have a conversation the next morning, you can have a conversation later in the afternoon. You engage a lot of different people from your coaching staff, from your front office. And it can change. It can really change.
So based on there's a lot of different information you can gravitate too. There are a lot of different legitimate ways you can go. So Joe's looking for input, and I'm certainly going to provide mine.
But at the end of the day, every day we're coming up with what we think is giving us the best chance to win.
Q. Is this purely a baseball decision? Or is it in any way connected to some reports we read the past couple of days about something that may have happened at Yankee Stadium?
BRIAN CASHMAN: Purely baseball related. This is all about winning, regardless of the report that is out there that is a non baseball related story. It's not going to affect our decision making about who is best to put us in the position to win on a daily basis.
Q. Brian, with Derek's injury and the fact that he's getting a little older, will that cause you to possibly get some shortstop insurance, maybe trade for somebody in the offseason or sign a free agent just to have insurance in case he's slow coming back from the injury?
BRIAN CASHMAN: I don't I haven't looked at that at this stage. We do have Eduardo Nuñez, we have Jayson Nix. So it's not something we focused on. And I wouldn't think that that's something I would gravitate to.
Q. You frame Alex's benching, understandably, in kind of that short term sample of how he's looked in the playoffs. Obviously he is not the only one who's not hitting in the playoffs. And I can point to Cano, but you are not going to bench Robinson Cano, I get that. When did Alex lose the chance to work out of his troubles? Like it seems like a fundamental shift in the way you guys see him. When did he sort of lose that status with you guys, that he could work his way out rather than get benched?
BRIAN CASHMAN: This isn't just a short term decision. It's a short term decision based on the strikeouts that have occurred against the right handed pitching during the playoffs. But if you look at his splits versus right handed pitching and left handed pitching for the season, it's not a short term sample.
So he has struggled with right handed pitching this year altogether. It's .600 OPS, somewhere in the .600s OPS against right handed pitching for the season. He's .900 and change OPS against left handed pitching. So there's a radical split there, for whatever reason. And it's obviously gotten worse here in the postseason for some reason with the strikeouts.
So we're just making an adjustment as we move along. And we're hoping that it gives us a better shot. And the only way you can make an adjustment you referenced Robinson Cano. We have a legitimate guy with Chavez. If you look at his year, he had a tremendous season for us.
If you don't have a legitimate alternative that happens to be left handed, the opposite side, you know, we probably aren't doing anything. But since we do, we're forced to have discussions about it and think through it and make a call.
And we're not afraid to make calls. We're hoping we're going to make the right ones. But, hey, you are in a position to make decisions, and you have to make tough ones. I don't think we are afraid to make tough ones. We'd rather be in a position where you can run it all out there and it is nice and easy and it going to work at all times, but that's not the nature of the beast of baseball.
Q. Two things, one on Derek. The four to five month recovery, is that when he is able to play the game for you? Is that when he's able to start Spring Training, start baseball activities? What does it mean?
BRIAN CASHMAN: I believe it is four to five months and will be back and ready to go.
Q. Playing in a game for you?
BRIAN CASHMAN: Yes.
Q. And as you've watched your lineup continue to struggle, I know injuries are part of it and you scored you are top of the league in runs scored this year. Has any of what you have seen make you think about the way your lineup is constructed and your roster is constructed in going forward?
BRIAN CASHMAN: No. No. I mean, I think I mean, I believe in the philosophy. I was taught by Gene Michael. We are still executing the Gene Michael playbook, which is predominantly left handed hitters that take walks. They are selective. They're typically big, hairy monsters, as I describe him, that hit the ball over the fence, hit doubles, singles, can hit home runs. They are very selective.
What you are seeing right now is not a reflection of that. These guys are better than this. And you've seen it and we've seen it. It is just a very poor short sample. We have a lot of guys that got cold at the wrong time and it looks bad, but they're not this is not a reflection of who they are. But it externally is a reflection of what we are living with right now, and so we're trying to do everything we can to get it going.
But, no, this doesn't shatter my beliefs in what I have been taught and what have I learned from some of the best in the business, because I know it works. I have lived through it. I have rings to show it. I have rings I've benefitted from. I've been part of championship caliber runs, teams that are typically in the top end of the offensive side.
What we are seeing is not what this offense is capable of and what some of these individuals players are. They are performing at a far worse level than what you have seen.
And just conversely our pitching has been tremendous. We are getting the best pitching we have seen from this staff all season. So as great as our our pitching has really just exceeded expectations, and our offense has done quite the opposite, and that's what we're dealing with right now.
Q. Brian, do you feel that this team and others talk a lot about heart. Do you feel this team has the heart to come down from this 3 0 hole? And are you looking to a particular player to step up into an unofficial captain role without Jeter?
BRIAN CASHMAN: Do I believe this team has heart? I do. I have seen them battle all year long through various things. And the players we're talking about are great players. I mean, is Nick Swisher struggling? Is Robinson Cano struggling? Is Alex Rodriguez struggling? Russell Martin here recently, probably because he has been playing every day without an off day given the schedule. I think that's probably more reflective of what Russell is going through lately. Is Granderson struggling? Yeah.
But these are also the guys that got us the best record in the American League and put up the highest run total in our league, or one of the highest run totals in our league, so they're also the reason for a lot of good that's taken place. But in the short term right now it's been bad. Is that a true snapshot of what their contributions are and who they are as players? It's not. But it's certainly something we're dealing with and living with right now, and we're doing everything we possibly can to make the adjustment and get it going. But I believe in us. I do think that they have heart. I will know they care.
And to follow up on your second question, am I looking for anybody to replace Jeter's captaincy? I am looking for everybody to do that.
Q. Cash, as the GM and you're constantly evaluating talent of your players, postseason, regular season, with what is happening with Alex right now, does it make you nervous about his ability to produce from this point going forward? To pull the plug upon him is drastic for a player of that caliber. And is there something in the back of your mind now that makes you concerned about his ability to produce?
BRIAN CASHMAN: This is a mental game. It is a physical game. And it's a challenge. There's always a challenge. I mean, I was in this ballpark last year that everybody in our neighborhood bet against A.J. Burnett, who had consistently underperformed in recent outings and no one believed he could step up and get the job done and pitch in a tough environment. We were in an elimination game against the Tigers last year, and A.J. pitched us back to New York.
Every time you have the ball in your hand or the bat in your hand, you can change the story. So opportunities will continue to be provided by some guys might have to wait longer for them to occur than others, but we have an opportunity.
We have an opportunity to try to change this story, and the ones we have written for ourselves. And I know our guys are hungry to try to do that, because no one wants to deal with the negatives, they want to create the positives. But it is all performance driven.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Brian.