Cashman: Time for 'fresh voice' to helm Yanks

November 6th, 2017

NEW YORK -- There were concerns about Joe Girardi's ability to communicate and connect with the new generation of players in the Yankees' clubhouse, according to Brian Cashman, who recommended to managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner that the team needed a "new voice and a fresh voice" in the dugout for the 2018 season.

Cashman explained that decision during a conference call on Monday, marking the general manager's first public comments since the Yankees announced Girardi's 10-year tenure at the helm had concluded following the club's loss to the Astros in the American League Championship Series.

There was no singular moment that prompted that recommendation, Cashman said, in particular stating that Girardi's non-challenge in Game 2 of the AL Division Series had no impact on his decision. Rather, Cashman said he based his call on experiences he was able to validate over the past few seasons regarding "the connectivity and the communication level of the players in that clubhouse."

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"Obviously, you've seen a complete transition from where we were a year ago -- which was a top-heavy, veteran-oriented clubhouse -- to now a young, energetic group of talented personnel," Cashman said. "Over time, I felt that we were still in the same situation as we were shortly there before, when we had the veterans. Once that cleared out, I felt we had new opportunities to re-engage and reconnect and have channels maybe open up a little bit easier."

Speaking on WFAN, Girardi said Monday that he thought he had good relationships with the players on the team.

"Sometimes you have to make tough decisions based on who plays, and I think guys get disappointed," Girardi said. "From the standpoint of having relationship issues, there were none. If there was, I didn't know about it, and I don't think my head was that far in the sand. There are probably some guys that were upset with playing time and maybe don't like me as much as somebody else, but that's the reality of being a manager."

Cashman said that it was a "very difficult, challenging decision" to part ways with Girardi, who averaged 91 wins over his 10 years as manager and guided the club to six postseason appearances, including the 2009 World Series title. Cashman said that it was not an easy conversation and that Girardi did not agree with all aspects of the decision, but he understood.

"It was something that I thought long and hard about," Cashman said. "Ten years is a long period of time in a particular job, which is manager of the New York Yankees. I think managing a Major League Baseball team is extremely challenging and difficult. Years ago, when I was forced to find a candidate to replace Joe Torre, I couldn't have found a better one than Joe Girardi.

"Obviously now being in the position that I'm in, I think over time I've demonstrated I'm not afraid of making a very difficult choice," Cashman said. "And based on a lot of information over the course of time, that choice was before me."

"I've seen a lot of things that talked about, my relationship with Joe wasn't good," Cashman said. "That's not true. It was extremely good. I've seen a lot of things talking about, Joe wasn't as analytical as we wanted him to be. I would say that's not accurate either."

Since the season ended, Cashman has tabbed Kevin Reese to head the Minor League system and concluded the team's pro scouting meetings in New York. He can now turn his attention to finding Girardi's replacement, and Cashman indicated that he will cast a wide net for candidates -- some internal, others external, and even some who have not previously managed in the big leagues.

"I thought it was in our best interests to open this opportunity up to others to get a fresh and new voice," Cashman said. "It might not be a different approach. I think the thought process behind our decisions will serve us best as we change that voice, despite walking away from somebody that we have a great deal of respect and appreciation for."

The Yankees are the only Major League club currently without a manager, and Cashman indicated that he planned to take his time with the process, including making each candidate available to the media following their interview -- as the team did with Girardi, Don Mattingly and Tony Pena in 2007.

Cashman said that he did not have a list of candidates prepared, and will be looking to find the right fit for the 2018-and-beyond Yankees, regardless of age.

"I never carry around a list," Cashman said. "I do hear about and do know about other people that carry lists just in case. I've never operated that way. That's a waste of time, particularly in this city that we work in. There's so much going on that I don't have time to carry around a list of who I'd like to deal with or work with."

Cashman listed in-game decision making, prep work, open-mindedness to pro scouts, player-development recommendations, analytical suggestions, performance science, the medical side and being open and honest with the media as plus attributes. Cashman also added that a preexisting relationship would help but is not necessary.

"There's no perfect person that checks every box. I don't care if they're Hall of Famers," Cashman said. "They're going to check certain boxes and not others. That's why we're all in this together. I'm looking forward to engaging a healthy candidate list rather soon."

As for Cashman's own contract situation, which expired on Oct. 31, negotiations with ownership have not concluded but an announcement is expected in the near future.

Worth noting

• The Yankees have added outfielder Jake Cave and right-hander to the 40-man roster, preventing them from becoming six-year Minor League free agents.