The size of a player's paycheck, he said, will have no bearing on how or if he is used in October.
That means rookie right-hander Ivan Nova, with all of 24 innings pitched in the major leagues, has as much of a chance of starting a playoff game as A.J. Burnett, who is in the second year of a five-year deal that pays him $16.5 million a season.
"Everything will be decided in these last three weeks," Cashman said Wednesday night. "The guys who we think give us the best chance to win are the guys who are going to pitch."
Cashman did not go to Trenton to watch Andy Pettitte pitch a rehab start for the Double-A Thunder versus the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in Game 2 of the Eastern League playoffs. The 38-year-old left-hander, attempting to come back from a groin strain that has kept him out for two months, was observed by Yankees scouts including Gene Michael.
Pettitte pitched four innings of two-hit ball, struck out four, walked none and uncorked two wild pitches in his appearance. Cashman said he is likely to make another rehab start before being reactivated.
"We don't want him rehabbing in the major leagues," Cashman said.
The GM refused to speak about individual pitchers and their status for the postseason. He did say if Nova pitches well over the final 22 games of the season, in which he is likely to make four starts, Cashman would be inclined to trust him with a postseason start.
"Aside from CC, nothing is guaranteed for anyone," Cashman said. "Some guys who are starters now may wind up pitching out of the bullpen. We'll make that determination based on how well they perform down the stretch for us."
Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.