Day 2 of the GM meetings is at an end, and once again, Topic No. 1 with the New York Yankees GM was a player who hasn't played in nearly a year and a half, and if I have to tell you who that is, you're reading the wrong blog.
"In fairness to us and in fairness to Alex, I don't know what to expect because it’s been a year," Cashman said Tuesday in Phoenix. "I just don’t know. You hope that he can contribute in a significant way, but we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out. In the meantime, I have to look for whatever ways to improve the club and discuss those with ownership, what manifests itself as being available and acquirable, we’ll see."
Translation: As I told you Monday, the Yankees are very much in the market for a third baseman because they can't really count on -- OK, here goes -- Alex Rodriguez.
And not just a backup third baseman, either, someone who can step in on those inevitable days when the soon-to-be 40-year-old A-Rod simply can't go.
“If I signed or traded for a third baseman, then that would be my third baseman," Cashman said. “If I signed a Chase Headley, he would be the starting third baseman. If I traded for a third baseman that was an everyday guy, that would be the move I would be making. If I did that. But I'm not here to state that the Yankees have their definitive third baseman for 2015. I have not done anything like that."
So what does that mean for Rodriguez, who is under contract until 2017 and is owed a minimum of $61 million, a number that could swell by another $30 million, in $6 million increments, every time he reaches a contractual home run milestone?
"He’s going to compete for at-bats and for a position," Cashman said. "The position would be third, and obviously DH and that’s it. Maybe some time at first base. He may be eventually the everyday third baseman, he may be the everyday DH; I just don’t know. I'm going to do everything in my power to drum up some opportunities that are realistic and present them to ownership that may or may not involve third base. I don’t know. It’s very early in the process."
Earlier in the day, at an event at Yankee Stadium, manager Joe Girardi repeated that he had spoken to Rodriguez about possibly playing first base. According to Girardi, Rodriguez replied, "We'll talk about it," which is not the same as "We'll try it."
But it certainly looks like for the first time in two decades, Alex Rodriguez will be coming to spring training without a job.
"That has nothing to do with devaluing Alex or disrespecting Alex or anything of that nature," Cashman said. "It’s just a fair assessment of the unknown. You can’t quantify the unknown right now until you get him out there on a consistent basis to see if he can actually remain on the field, stay healthy, be productive and be that middle-of-the-lineup threat and force that we’ve all come to see for years gone by. We certainly hope for significant contributions, but as you enter that process from a general manager’s standpoint, you enter that process with expectations low and hoping for the best."
Cashman also revisited a bunch of topics he had already addressed Monday, including the signing of Chris Young and the Yankees' continuing interest in Stephen Drew, and said he had yet to meet with Scott Leventhal, the agent for closer David Robertson, who Monday rejected the $15.3 million qualifying offer and opted for free agency.
"You know what I always say," Cashman said. "NTR. Nothing to report."
Nothing but the fact after 20 years and 652 home runs, Alex Rodriguez is being asked to prove all over again that he belongs in the starting lineup of a major league baseball team.