INDIAN WELLS, CA. -- For the third time -- or is it fourth, fifth, or five-hundreth?-- Yankees GM Brian Cashman emphatically stated that Alex Rodriguez would be a Yankee in 2013, which is hardly a surprise since it would be easier to move a grand piano to the upper deck of Yankee Stadium than to move the remaining five years and $114 million left on A-Rod's contract.
Still, it's a question that came up during Cashman's 30-minute session with reporters following all-day sessions at the GM meetings here on Wednesday.
"I’ve already been on record right after the postseason, we’re not trading Alex," he said. "So hopefully the Alex stuff stops. I’m reiterating, we’re not trading Alex Rodriguez. I’ve talked to every team in baseball, I have not offered Alex in any trade, and you’ll be able to confirm that with them."
Asked if any other teams had inquired about A-Rod, Cashman said, "No. They probably read my comments."
The future of Rodriguez was just one of a number of topics touched upon, and mostly evaded, by Cashman.
-- On Mariano Rivera: "He obviously wants to be here, and we want him back. So I’m confident we’ll be able to work through the issues, whatever they are."
-- On Andy Pettitte: "I hope he plays. I believe that it’s in his blood that he wants to play. I believe that, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. But I think he wants to play, and I’m hoping he’ll call and tell me that. I’m not going to push him. He’ll let me know when he’s made a final decision about whatever he’s choosing to do."
-- On Derek Jeter: “He’s non-weight bearing until January. All I can go by is what the doctors say. He just has to take the time to heal up and get it going. I don’t know what he does in December, anyway, to get ready. He might relax. I’ve seen pictures of him in Anguilla before on TMZ, so maybe he wont be on TMZ in a Speedo. Once he’s healthy, we’ll get him going and he’ll be back on track.”
-- On the possibility of flip-flopping Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner in the Yankees outfield: "We discussed it when we got Granderson. Because we had a centerfielder in Gardner. I think it’ll all depend on how our outfield shakes out. We’ve obviously got a vacancy with the current free agency of (Nick) Swisher. Depending on how our outfield gets defined as this winter gets concluded, it will depend on whether there’s a worthy discussion of actually mixing things around."
-- On Hiroki Kuroda: "I would like to have him back. He’s been a pro. He was arguably our best pitcher. He had a great year. I'd been after him for a long time, and I'm hoping it wasn’t just a short-term one year situation for us. He’s a good man and I’d love to have him back. We have a qualifying offer out there and I've talked to his agent."
Cashman also said he would like to have Russell Martin back as catcher -- he and Martin's agent, Matt Colleran, have touched base on a new contract -- and that he wasn't expecting anything out of Michael Pineda, recovering from shoulder surgery, until June. "To count on him would be wrong," Cashman said.
"Right now, we've got some gaping holes," the GM acknowledged. "But right now, it’s baby steps for us. We have qualifying offers out there (due to be accepted or rejected by Friday at 5 p.m.) and I don’t foresee us really being able to do anything until we have decisions made on those. So that should give me some cover until Friday."
Or at least until tomorrow, when we get to do it all over again.