NEW YORK -- Yankees GM Brian Cashman is a man of many words, some of which enlighten us, some of which confuse us, and some of which, either intentionally or not, tend to obfuscate the issue being discussed and sometimes even make you forget what the original question was in the first place.
In that regard, Cashman has more in common with Casey Stengel than with Gene Michael, his mentor. So in the interest of sparing you every last utterance of Cashman's 51-minute, 7,500-word postmortem on the Yankees' 2013 season, I have taken the trouble to cherry-pick for you some key passages, and provide what I believe to be their logical English translations.
• ON WHETHER JOE GIRARDI WILL BE RETAINED:
"I think Joe has been consistent since we've had him here. ... Obviously, the talent that he had to work with this year was significantly less than other years, but he still remained the same from my perspective. ... I think he likes it here. ... We're going to give him a real good reason to stay."
TRANSLATION: It's not easy to find a manager as easy to control and as willing to take the bullet as Girardi is, and I intend to make it worth his while for him to do it for another three years.
• THE $189 MILLION QUESTION:
"Well, I think Hal Steinbrenner on two occasions has had a chance to try to articulate his feelings on that. ... It's certainly a goal. It's not a mandate ... There's a lot of benefits to staying under that, but it's not a mandate if it's at the expense of a championship. ... Every opportunity that comes my way, whether by trade or free agency, I will always present to my owner and team president for evaluation. ... They will make the final call on whatever is going to be done. So it's a goal, not a mandate."
TRANSLATION: I will do everything in my power to spend every last Boss Buck I can get my hands on this winter.
• WHAT IS THE YANKEES' MISSION STATEMENT?
"Their intent is always to compete for a championship. What took place this year, it could have been easy for them to give up and say no chance. They had no interest in doing that. When the last name is Steinbrenner, the effort's going to be there in terms of making a full push for having the best team on the field you can possibly have."
TRANSLATION: I better get my act together in a hurry, or else.
• WILL ROBINSON CANO BE BACK NEXT YEAR?
"We'd love to have Robbie back. There's not much more for me to say about that, but our intention is to have him back, if we can. He'll receive a significant offer to stay. ... I think if he stays, he'll have a legitimate chance to experience what you just saw for Mariano. Maybe he has the chance to be the first Dominican-born player in Monument Park. But at the same time, it's a business. We've been extremely happy to have him and we hope to extend that relationship, but we have a process to still go through on that, and he will certainly be in a position to entertain offers from other clubs in the process."
TRANSLATION: He ain't getting 10 years or $300 million from us, but would a nice plaque in the cave behind the center-field fence do instead?
• WHAT ABOUT ALEX RODRIGUEZ?
"I operate on the assumption that I have him until they tell me otherwise. I'm not really in a position to talk about the Alex stuff. We're not a party to it. That's how out of the loop I am on it. There's not much to say on it. At this stage I'm not a participant in any way."
TRANSLATION: Please, arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, deliver us from having to pay the remainder of his contract.
• WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM DEREK JETER IN 2014?
"I certainly hope to get Derek back to the Derek that we're all used to. Now he'll have some time to back off, get some rest, some more flexibility back, and get every aspect of that ankle in line, as far as the kinetic chain. The expectation is that he can put significant distance between what we saw and all lived through with him, the last year, where obviously it was something that was really limiting him to being the player he's capable of being again. The options for him are shortstop and DH."
TRANSLATION: I don't know of any cure for being 40 years old, but I sure hope they find one by next April.
New York Yankees
• HOW ABOUT ICHIRO?
"Obviously, he's a tremendous defender. A singles hitter, great athlete, steals bases. He can certainly disrupt the defense. That's my evaluation of him. When he's going well, he can obviously change a game for you. My expectation is that he's going to give us everything he's got. I know that he will do that. What the role is going to be, I think it depends on the personnel that we have. I don't know what that's going to be yet."
TRANSLATION: I don't care how many Yankees jerseys we're selling in Japan, wait'll I get my hands on the guy who stuck me with him for next year, too.
• WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM MICHAEL PINEDA?
"We shut him down as a healthy player in the end, and he'll compete for a job in spring training. He's got options, and I don't think it's healthy for anybody to guarantee anything just because he's Michael Pineda. We have high hopes to pencil him into our rotation. But we'll see how it plays out. He obviously had a very significant injury that a lot of people don’t come back from."
TRANSLATION: I haven't the slightest idea.
• WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM MARK TEIXEIRA?
"He's supposed to be back. He'll just be dealing with knocking some serious rust off as he enters spring training. He typically is a guy historically that doesn’t hit right out of the gates early. How he gets affected by not hitting for a full year, for the most part, I don't know."
TRANSLATION: Don't be surprised if next year, the annual April slump extends into July.
• WHAT ABOUT CC?
"Based on the year he just had velocity-wise, I don't know why it would start to come back next year. So I'm going to assume he's going to be pitching at the current velocity that he kind of settled into this year in the second half. Obviously, the home run ball was a big problem for him this year, that historically I know can be fluky. That's something that can be, and we certainly hope is, an aberration. His strikeouts per 9, his walks per 9 are right where he was in 2009 and 2010. So avoiding the home run ball or eliminating that should take care of all his issues."
TRANSLATION: Otherwise, we've got a left-handed Phil Hughes on our hands.
New York Yankees
• WILL HIROKI KURODA BE A YANKEE IN 2014?
"Of course we'd love to have him back, but I don't know what's going to happen. Obviously, he was our ace this year ... but he's a free agent and there's always rumblings about returning to Japan and rumblings obviously about other teams wanting him, so we'll just have to wait and see how that plays out."
TRANSLATION: A 39-year-old pitcher is the best option for the top of my rotation next season.
• YOUR FARM SYSTEM STINKS. THOUGHTS?
"We have struggled out of the draft here the last number of years. ... Some of our picks haven't panned out. I think this last year we did really well, but in fairness, you always feel that when you make the selections. ... We started maybe two months ago evaluating the decision-making process and the expected value from where you pick in the draft, and comparisons to other organizations ... and yeah, we haven’t had as fruitful results from the draft here recently as we had hoped and anticipated [because] of injuries, performance going backwards, or unexpected return."
TRANSLATION: Developmental heads may roll.
• SO WHO'S FAULT WAS THE FAILURE OF 2013, ANYWAY?
"Me. It's my responsibility."
TRANSLATION: None needed.