Cashman: Yanks are done spending
GM states team will not pursue Ramirez, declines comment on Torre's book
NEW YORK -- Manny Ramirez's potential pinstripes debut and Brian Cashman's first book as an author have one thing in common. Neither will happen in 2009.
Though the general manager continues to decline comment on Joe Torre's book, "The Yankee Years," he said on Tuesday that his club is done with its big spending and will not pursue the free-agent slugger.
"Ultimately, we've made our decision," Cashman said. "We chose to put that money into Mark Teixeira to play first base. I do hear rumblings [that] people actually expect us to get in on Manny. That's not going to happen.
"We respect his abilities, there's no doubt about it, but we're now in the non-roster-invite mode. ... We've secured the areas of need and hopefully put ourselves in a better position. We're not playing on any Major League free agents, other than non-roster invites."
Cashman spoke on Tuesday in Pleasantville, N.Y., at a fund-raiser for Ed Randall's Bat for the Cure, which combats prostate cancer and promotes early testing. In an interview setting, Cashman discussed various issues with an audience of about 150 in a session that included a question-and-answer session with fans.
Earlier in the day, Torre had appeared at a pair of book signings in the tristate area and in the news media to promote "The Yankee Years."
Cashman declined comment on the book, which critiques several aspects of his relationship with Torre and their coinciding years in the Bronx. And just in case you were wondering, Cashman has no plans to author a tell-all of his own.
"I've had my chances," he said. "It's not something I'm going to do."
Alex Rodriguez -- referred to as "A-Fraud" in the book and painted as an attention-seeking superstar -- has not commented publicly either, but Cashman has been in regular contact with the three-time MVP and said that Rodriguez is ready to report to camp.
"He's worked hard, like he always does, and he's excited about the new acquisitions," Cashman said. "He's actually stayed more in touch with me this winter than any winter that I can remember. He was excited when we signed CC [Sabathia], pushing me to get A.J. [Burnett] and Andy [Pettitte].
"He was pleasantly surprised and probably blown away when we got Teixeira. He's excited to get after it. ... His attitude has been sky-high. He's looking to hit the ground running, and I feel that from a lot of our players."
Technically, the Yankees could improve even more and pursue a Type A free agent like Ramirez, which would be completely within baseball's rules.
But Cashman said that it is not something they have to worry about.
"I have no glue," he said, referring to the Yankees' vow to lower payroll from their 2008 mark of $209 million.
"He's great," Cashman said of Ramirez. "Obviously, [he's] from the Washington Heights area, right near Yankee Stadium. I hope he stays in the National League, and not at [the Mets'] Citi Field. Let him stay on the West Coast."
So Manny-to-the-Yankees is finally, officially, a dead issue. Instead, with less than two weeks before pitchers and catchers report to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Cashman said that the Yankees are scouring the market for last minute non-roster additions.
He pointed to Fernando Tatis, who resurrected his career last season with the Mets, as an example of the type of player the Yankees are seeking.
"You see guys that take two or three years and don't seem to be a fit," Cashman said. "You put them in a new environment. It's kind of like Kurt Warner [of the Arizona Cardinals]. You put them in a new offensive scheme, and it's like, 'Boom!' Sometimes some of these Major League guys who don't look like they fit can be godsends."
Because of the economy, certain players accustomed to having Major League contracts remain as free agents and could be open to the idea of competing for a job. One example would be infielder Angel Berroa, who will be in camp trying to beat out Cody Ransom for a utility position.
"Anything that looks like it could help," Cashman said. "If people are willing to come in and audition for the next seven or eight weeks, we're having those types of discussions."
Cashman said that the Yankees remain open to the idea of discussing a trade, but as of now the club is primed to head into the spring as currently constructed.
The Yankees had shopped both Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher after signing Teixeira to an eight-year, $180 million deal, but unless something changes drastically, they will bring both to camp.
"[A trade could happen] if something makes sense, but right now I expect fully to go to Spring Training with what we've got," Cashman said.
Once again, he acknowledged that the Yankees have likely won the crown of Hot Stove champions. But as he enters his 12th season in the job, he has seen the Yankees dominate the media before and still end the season without their ultimate prize in hand.
"What we do in the winter, we hope plays out in the summer," he said. "I don't care about headlines in December or January. What ultimately translates is getting enough Ws to be the last team standing."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.