NEW YORK -- It should come as no surprise to anyone who followed the increasingly testy 2010 contract negotiations between the New York Yankees and Derek Jeter that Yankees GM Brian Cashman would have preferred to go younger at shortstop.
In fact, if you followed those negotiations at ESPNNewYork.com, you could probably have figured out that the Yankees would have been less than crestfallen had Jeter, 36 at the time and coming off a career-low .270 season, decided to seek employment elsewhere.
"We understand his contributions to the franchise and our offer has taken them into account," Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com in a story published on Nov. 27, 2010. "We've encouraged him to test the market and see if there's something he would prefer other than this. If he can, fine. That's the way it works."
A few days later, an anonymous source involved in the negotiations told ESPNNewYork.com to "drink the reality potion" in regards to Jeter's camp's reported demand for a four-year contract at $23 million to $25 million a season.
Clearly, things had taken an ugly and unexpected turn and as in all negotiations, a lot of things were said by both sides that were not to be easily forgotten.
So it can hardly be considered a surprise that over the course of the talks, Cashman reportedly threw out the name Troy Tulowitzki when Jeter asked who the GM would prefer to have playing shortstop for the Yankees. "We're not paying extra money for popularity. We're paying for performance," Cashman is reported to have said in a story this week by Sports Illustrated.
Sometimes, when talking to Cashman, you're better off not asking the question if you're not prepared for an honest answer, and sometimes, a brutally honest answer.
Cashman being blunt with the long-time captain of the Yankees might seem like news to the rest of the country, but to those of us who deal with this most candid and refreshing of baseball general managers, it was really just business as usual.