Yankees News/Rumors: Brian Cashman breaks down his off-season strategy

New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman
Mar 8, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman prior to the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, the New York Yankees are monitored ever-so closely to examine their off-season moves and negotiations. General manager Brian Cashman might have the smallest amount of secrecy as media members and fans track his every move and phone call. However, that has forced him to develop an interesting strategy on how he negotiates during free agency.

“Whenever decisions get made by players and their representatives, you keep a catalogue of this is what they said, this is what they said they were going to get, this is what they ultimately got,” the GM said. “That information matched up and it was accurate and they’re on the nice list, you can trust them as you move forward because you had 13 negotiations and they were 13-for-13 in their honesty and transparency and they didn’t misrepresent, they didn’t lie or what have you.

Honestly is the key, as Cashman tests the players and their agents to determine the truth and if they’re fair to the club. Cashman wants to corral good/honest players who respect the club enough, to tell the truth about their value and alternative conversations.

“And then you have the naughty list where you get the experience of, that’s not even close to what they said and we ultimately conclude a deal with a player and you keep them you backtrack with other clubs after the fact to find out, ‘Hey, I read in the media you were here, and is that true?’ And they’re like, ‘No, I wasn’t even involved with the guy.’ And its like, well, that’s the naughty list because the agent might have said you were.

New York Yankees’ Brian Cashman is like Santa:

Once you’re on the naughty list, Cashman takes a backseat and allows the players’ representatives to begin negotiating elsewhere. Maybe, that’s what’s currently happening with DJ LeMahieu’s agents, who asked for a five-year, $125 million deal, which Cashman is clearly not overly inquisitive in. He continues to push off negotiations to a point where LeMahieu will begin fielding offers from different teams, even the Toronto Blue Jays.
This is not for lack of desire, as the Yankees desperately want to keep DJ in pinstripes, but his reps may have overstated his value.

“Then you engage with the clubs after the fact when you do your deep dives and the winter is over and try to crosscheck your information to make sure that you had that true, honest dialogue (and) start to get a feel for who you’ve had relationships you’ve built with and who you’ve got to be a little bit more careful with.”

Cashman is playing the long game, waiting for his opportunity to strike later on in free agency and not dive into the pool too early. Reacting too quickly will force the Yankees to overspend on players, a reality they want to avoid this off-season.
Nonetheless, Cashman’s style is interesting, and while there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes, he values relationships more than I previously thought.