"It's pretty obvious which players we're not going to trade," the owner's son said Wednesday, before rattling off the team's most-prized young pitchers. "Chamberlain, Hughes and even Kennedy. Not for a position player."
As the Florida Marlins try to gauge what teams would give them for their All-Star third baseman, the Yankees are showing qualified interest. Yes, they'd love Cabrera to replace Alex Rodriguez, but they're prepared to wait for the asking price to go down. For now, when other teams inquire, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy aren't available.
"I've been tested on those guys this week and obviously the summer during the [trade] deadline, and I'll continue to be tested on it," general manager Brian Cashman said. "I know that all three of those guys, the 29 other clubs would have no problems pitching at least one of them if not all of them in their rotations."
Hughes, just 21, showed poise and overpowering pitches, even while slowed by hamstring and ankle injuries that sidelined him for much of the season. Chamberlain, 22, was instant electricity and on many nights unhittable as Mariano Rivera's set-up man down the stretch. Kennedy, who turns 23 next month, was polished and resembled a young Mike Mussina in three September starts.
"It's like Cashman said: You never say untouchable, but at least least-touchable," Steinbrenner said.
In addition to Cabrera, a four-time All-Star, Chicago White Sox third baseman Joe Crede is also available on the trade market. Cashman predicted it would take time for teams to reveal their "real asking price."
"I'm not looking to overpay. If you want to overpay, that's the only way you move fast. If you do something that someone says yes to like that," Cashman said, snapping his fingers, "that probably means you did something wrong. Or somebody did."
Cashman does not think World Series MVP Mike Lowell is going to be an option.
"I personally believe the player's preference is to stay in Boston, first and foremost," he said.
On the third day of the general managers' meetings, each GM stood up and stated what their offseason goals were. Many mentioned specific
players they were making available. The idea was suggested by
Boston's Theo Epstein and Florida's Larry Beinfest, co-chairs of
this year's meeting.
"Usually it takes a while to be able to reach all 29 other
teams and hear what they're trying to do. This increased our
efficiency tremendously. It saves us all a lot of time," Epstein
said. "Some teams were specific. Some were more guarded."
On the Yankees front, outfielder Johnny Damon dropped by the hotel to speak with new manager Joe Girardi. Damon was slowed by injuries this year, slumped at the plate and lost the regular starting job in center field to Melky Cabrera.
"I think Joe wanted to make sure that he had a chance to articulate to Johnny how he sees him fitting for the Yankees in '08," Cashman said. "I don't expect to move Johnny."
"Is he the ideal first-base situation? No. Can he play there seven days a week? We haven't had him doing that, obviously, for a while," Cashman said. "So I think that you're going to see him more DH-ing for us, but we'll see."
In addition to trying to re-sign Rivera and catcher Jorge Posada, the Yankees would like to keep reliever Luis Vizcaino. While Cashman praised first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who missed half the season because of injuries, he mentioned all the other first-base possibilities the Yankees have.
Asked whether New York's offers to Rivera and Posada were aggressive, Cashman responded with a joke that silently referenced Joe Torre's response to the team's proposal of a paycut that contained incentive bonuses.
"I wouldn't make an insulting offer. The Yankees wouldn't do that," Cashman said.
Steinbrenner said the Yankees will make new offers to Rivera and
Posada but wouldn't say whether it was important to reach
agreements before Tuesday, when they can talk money with other
"That's really up to them," he said.