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Brian Cashman: New York Yankees GM Is Digging His Own Grave

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 04:  General manager Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees attends the press conference to announce the retirement of Andy Pettitte (not pictured) on February 4, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
James Stewart-MeudtCorrespondent IIApril 15, 2011

Open mouth. Insert foot.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman doesn't mind talking to the media. They ask the questions. He gives the answers. But sometimes it's better to think before you speak.

This offseason, the Yankees signed left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano to a two-year, $8 million contract. The reliable lefty was meant to be a key asset in a bullpen that already boasted Joba Chamberlain, Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, Feliciano landed on the DL with a shoulder injury during spring training and now seems headed towards season-ending surgery after an MRI revealed a torn shoulder capsule.

Before the possibility of surgery was announced, Cashman blamed the New York Mets for "abusing" Feliciano.

Over the last three seasons, Feliciano made 266 appearances for the Mets.

Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen was quick to point at that if Cashman felt they had used Feliciano too often, he shouldn't have signed him.

Hindsight is, of course, 20/20 but Warthen's statements made Cashman look pretty bad.

And Cashman's comments have continued to illicit further questions. Yesterday, Cashman was asked if he felt he was being hypocritical, considering he was the general manager in 2006 and 2007 when relievers Scott Proctor and Ron Villone combined for 242 appearances.

At the time, Joe Torre was the Yankees manager and Ron Guidry was their pitching coach.

Rather than flex his muscles and put himself on the front lines of the discussion, Cashman quickly pointed out that the issue of how the Yankees use their own relievers fell upon the manager.

"If you get Joe Torre on the phone, you will know I am not a hypocrite," Cashman told George A. King of the New York Post.

Cashman says he was very involved with Torre and Guidry when it came to the use of the Yankee bullpen. He claims he tried to stop it but was unable to do so.

"I went to the player, to the manager, to the pitching coach, to the agent. I remember telling Proctor, 'Dude, you haven't made money yet. You're hurting your career while you're helping us," Cashman said.

Proctor's response was eerily similar to Feliciano's own comments regarding his use while pitching for the Mets.

"He told me, 'I'm never going to tell him no. If he needs me, I'm going to be there for him,'" Cashman said.

Cashman said the difference was that Proctor, at the time, was an asset.

But why is it that when the Mets frequently use a relief pitcher, that's "abuse," but when the Yankees do it, that's different because Proctor was an "asset"?

Feliciano was one of the Mets most reliable relievers. Hence all the appearances.

Cashman is making himself look worse and worse. Between signing Feliciano and then passing the blame for his injury to the Mets, and now trying to create a difference between how the Yankees used Proctor, Cashman is looking worse every day.

Yesterday's comments are just another of Cashman's missteps this season.

He was unable to construct a solid starting rotation this offseason, instead turning his attention to low-risk/high-reward pitchers like some kind of a common, gulp, small market team.

He dragged his shortstop, Derek Jeter, through the coals during contract negotiations, telling Jeter that if the Yankees offers weren't good enough, he should go elsewhere.

He was also very candid in his opposition to the Yankees' addition of Soriano to the bullpen, despite his obvious credentials.

The majority of baseball fans believe Cashman has the easiest job in baseball. Working with a $200 million-plus payroll every offseason certainly doesn't make things very difficult.

But the hardest part of Cashman's job is dealing with the media, and he's not particularly good at that.

Time will tell if Cashman has given himself enough strikes to keep his job after this season. But maybe he should just think before he speaks for the time being.

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