Cashman speaks about Chamberlain
GM would not comment on team-imposed disciplinary action
NEW YORK -- Brian Cashman was supposed to be able to spend this offseason without worrying about Joba Chamberlain, knowing that the Yankees were clear in their plans to continue molding him into a full-time starter. Yet that lasted all of about three weeks, until Chamberlain was arrested in Nebraska for suspicion of driving under the influence.
"He made a mistake," Cashman said on Tuesday evening. "He apologized for it. Thank [goodness], no one was hurt, because it's a very serious issue. And I hope that's the end of it."
Cashman's public comments, his first since the incident, provided a small glimpse into a chaotic Yankees offseason that has barely just begun. Speaking at a marketing event for 2K Sports' new MLB Front Office Manager video game, the Yankees general manager revealed that Chien-Ming Wang received a healthy report from doctors, that Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina's futures remain unclear, and that the team is still in the hunt for a new member of its coaching staff.
But most of all, he revealed that Chamberlain's behavior will not be tolerated.
"He's part of our family," Cashman said. "We're going to support him, but at the same time, he knows that stuff like this can't happen."
Nebraska police arrested Chamberlain on Oct. 18 for suspicion of driving under the influence, speeding and carrying an open container of alcohol in his vehicle. Chamberlain faces a court date next month, and Cashman wouldn't comment on whether or not the Yankees plan to independently discipline their pitcher.
"The police are out there doing a good job," Cashman said. "Obviously, on that day, they showed up and did good, stopping Joba from putting himself and other people further in harm's way."
Cashman's "wait and see" position isn't far removed from his stance on his starting rotation, which might assume any number of forms before the dawn of next season. Perhaps the key factor is the presence of Wang, who missed more than half of last season with a partially torn tendon in his right foot.
Wang completed a pain-free bullpen session on Monday in Tampa, visited with two doctors the following morning in New York and is set to fly to his native Taiwan next week.
"He's doing terrific," Cashman said. "He had no pain, no problem."
And with that, Cashman was off to take part in another demonstration of MLB Front Office Manager, which pits players as GMs of Major League teams. Cashman watched as a 2K Sports employee took the reins of the Indians, then proceeded to mash a few buttons and trade for Rays pitcher Matt Garza.
Lacking the ability to make such a move in real life, Cashman will likely instead have to dabble in a free-agent pool that includes such front-line pitchers as CC Sabathia, Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett. But precisely whom the Yankees pursue will depend upon the status of Mussina and Pettitte, both of whom could potentially retire this offseason.
Mussina, who will turn 40 in December, has spoken about how "cool" it would be to finish his career just after achieving his first 20-win season. But the Yankees, needing pitching -- and newly convinced that Mussina can still win double-digit games -- could make him a similarly cool offer to return.
Fellow free agent Pettitte, 36, seems a better bet to return next season, but he, too, is far from a lock. Cashman has already spoken to Pettitte this offseason but not to Mussina, who has made no secret of the fact that he would like to spend more time with his family.
"Moving forward, he's not part of our rotation, because he's a free agent," Cashman said of Mussina. "We need to pursue starting pitching, and where that comes from, whether it's the free-agent or trade market, remains to be seen. But obviously, I'm not counting on him right now, because he's not signed, and I don't know if he's even interested in playing any more."
Cashman will travel to next week's GM meetings in Dana Point, Calif., with all that in mind, knowing that the Yankees' makeup will depend in large part upon which of their free agents -- most notably, Pettitte, Mussina and Bobby Abreu -- they are able to retain.
Cashman spoke also on Tuesday of the hole in manager Joe Girardi's coaching staff, now that the team has decided not to renew the contract of third-base coach Bobby Meacham. Rumors recently swirled that Larry Bowa might return to the Yankees to take that post, but the Dodgers put that idea to rest by retaining Bowa as their third-base coach last week. And so Cashman indicated that the Yankees could either move current first-base coach Tony Pena across the diamond or find help elsewhere.
"It can come from within, or it can come from outside the organization," Cashman said. "Joe and I have been talking a great deal about which direction we should go."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.