Hal wants Brian Cashman to return

NEW YORK -- Brian Cashman wants to stay, and the New York Yankees want him back.

The general manager has a year left on his contract and has had some well-publicized clashes with team brass and even captain Derek Jeter. But Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner still says he "absolutely" wants Cashman to return.

And Cashman scoffed at suggestions that he is doing things to shorten his stay in the Bronx.

"Am I trying to get fired? Absolutely not," Cashman said.

"What have I done that's so explosive? What have I done that's so controversial? I did nothing improper or wrong or controversial or explosive."

Steinbrenner offered his support.

"I think Brian does a great job," he said, according to the New York Post. "We need to sit and talk, but now is not the time for that."

Steinbrenner echoed comments team president Randy Levine made after the Rafael Soriano news conference two weeks ago.

The team views Cashman as the best man for the job, but per club policy plans to wait until the end of the season before working on a new contract. There also has been no clear evidence that Cashman is looking to leave.

Steinbrenner told the Post that speculation about Cashman not being the GM after this season has been a "drummed-up drama."

Other than Cashman being overruled in the signing of new setup man Soriano, there has been no evidence that the Yankees' hierarchy is unhappy with Cashman. Even in the case of Soriano, Cashman and other executives admitted their disagreement, but didn't indicate there were larger problems.

Still, it has been an explosive offseason verbally for Cashman. He got into a war of words with Jeter's camp over the captain's value at age 36. Cashman publicly said that they paid too much for Soriano. At a breakfast with fans, he speculated about Jeter possibly moving from short to center field one day.

Ultimately, Cashman is judged by the on-field product. The team came up short in its bid to sign free-agent pitcher Cliff Lee, but Cashman wasn't alone in putting together the offer to Lee. It was the highest overall offer of any team, but it did not match the $161 million deal the Yankees gave CC Sabathia.

As the Yankees wait for Andy Pettitte to decide whether he'll continue to pitch, they are thin in their rotation. As it stands right now, the Yankees would have a rotation of Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova.

Sergio Mitre and Bartolo Colon will fight it out for the fifth spot.

The Yankees have a slew of young pitching prospects who Cashman thinks could contribute this season. Three of the minor leaguers -- Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman -- were in Scouts Inc. senior baseball analyst Keith Law's Top 100 prospects.

Andrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews cover the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.