Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yankees: Dueling opinions on A-Rod from Girardi and Cashman

In an offseason ripe with needs for the New York Yankees, there is a lot of emphasis on Alex Rodriguez and what type of player he’ll amount to as a 39, going on 40-year-old, who also missed the entire 2014 season due to his suspension for his part in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.

For some reason, Yankees manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman do not seem to be on the same page with regards to this situation at least where it concerns the words used to describe their stance.

Girardi made comments while at a USO benefit Tuesday, saying he is “excited” to have A-Rod back in the fold and that since sports is a forgiving place, bygones will be bygones. I don’t suspect Girardi is truly looking forward to the circus that will march into Tampa in February, but he’s a PC sort of guy and that’s the spin he used when asked about Rodriguez's return.

As for Cashman, he was as straightforward as usual suggesting that the Yankees are not going to rest on an assumption that Rodriguez can make an impact in 2015 or beyond. Cashman is steadfast in his desire to find a bonafide third baseman this offseason (Chase Headley tops their list) and give that person all the plate appearances that come with the role.

“You can’t quantify the unknown right now and get him out there on a consistent basis to see if he can actually remain healthy, stay on the field and be productive," Cashman said.

Whether Cashman likes Rodriguez or not -- it doesn’t sound like they are texting buddies like Girardi seems to be -- it’s the right baseball decision. Does it suck that the Yankees have to pay A-Rod $20 million to be a combination of designated hitter, fill-in first/third baseman and a right-handed hitter off the bench? Of course it does, but that’s the price the Yankees paid for re-upping with A-Rod when he opted out in 2007.

The New York Daily News took the differing opinions to the extreme, suggesting Girardi is “clueless.” The reality is he obviously wasn’t prepped on what to say and be couth at the same time. I get the News' point that management should be saying the same things for the most part, but suggesting Girardi doesn't know what's going on it a little much.

Remember, Girardi was more than willing to bench Rodriguez in the 2012 playoffs when it was apparent that A-Rod couldn’t hit a fastball from a right-handed pitcher. Girardi would have no trouble using Rodriguez sparingly if it meant the other eight position players on the field gave him the best chance to win.

And that’s it in a nutshell. The Yankees are trying to win. They have no idea what Rodriguez can offer and will not make the same mistake they did heading into the 2014 season which was cross their fingers and hope for the best. They’ll have a new third baseman in 2015 (even if it ends up being Martin Prado with Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela playing second base) and that will provide the Yankees with the best chance to win.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer and sports media strategist. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports, the FanSided network, Sportsideo and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In.