Q&A with Brian Cashman

PinstripesPlus.com caught up with Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman at Instructs to talk about the current state of the farm system, what his plans are for Joba Chamberlain next season, if the organization is worried about Jose Tabata's lack of power, why they gave Andrew Brackman the big league deal, how he plans on fitting in all of his pitching prospects, and much, much more.

PinstripesPlus.com: With the unbelievable success he's had out of the bullpen, even though you and the organization have insisted he will be a starter, is there any sort of temptation to keep Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen next year?

Brian Cashman: Well we know he can do that. Like anything else, you try to answer certain questions and we believe he could be a dominant starter for us. He's got to prove that, he's got to earn that, and that's the game plan for him. We'll always know he can do what he's doing now. There's strength in that. It's great to have choices. We believe Humberto Sanchez has the ability that Joba has, in that he could start or relieve. We felt when we signed Joba that he could start or relieve. Ian Kennedy, we feel is solely a starter, we don't look at him as a reliever. Phil Hughes, we look at him as a starter, not a reliever. But with the type of stuff that Joba features and Sanchez features, you can play on it both ways if you want. If you get enough of those guys together, you could have a really interesting discussion but it's hard to gather that much talent together at the same time. But no, the plan is to put Joba back in the rotation, to allow him to compete for a spot in the rotation next Spring, that's the plan. If we have to deviate from that plan for various reasons, that's for another day. At this stage, our plan is relieving in '07 because of the obvious need we had at the big league level and then continue his journey as a starter.

PinstripesPlus: With the 'Joba Rules' being as famous as they've become, keeping to your plan to use him as a starter next season, it's going to be an awfully big jump in innings for him. It would seem, keeping to the spirit of the 'Joba Rules' in protecting his health, that he would have to pitch in the back-end of the rotation next season to keep his innings down and not making a huge leap work-wise. If that does happen that way, is that something the media and the fans are going to be able to handle considering the expectation levels now surrounding him?

Cashman: Not necessarily. Like anything else, we'll work it out. My job as general manager, with the staff that we have, is to acquire assets and then protect those assets, and then allocate them as we see fit. We obviously want a chance to win, but with a chance to win, not just in the now but in the future at the same time. There's the balancing act. I'm paid to protect those assets if we feel we've secured some high-end ones and Joba is a high-end asset. In this early stage of his career, you can't abandon the developmental side of things that are there for protection purposes. If people want to accuse us of babying somebody, I don't really care. We believe we're doing what's best for this individual and we have an individual plan for everybody in this system. Sometimes guys move quicker than the plan and when that happens, like in Joba's case, it's even that much more important for the leadership of the franchise - the pitching coordinator, minor league manager, the farm director, the major league manager,and the general manager - to make sure we recognize not to get caught up in the here and now and forget about the future and use somebody up for our own short-term goals. I'm okay with the short-term pain that comes from the inquiries, the attacks whether it's a fan calling in, or the media stories, or if it happens to be an old-school manager or coach who wants to attack me on it. I'm okay with the short-term pain, because in my mind, I have long-term gain in mind. When one of those individuals feels they can do it better and know what they are doing, then they, if this job is available to them, they are more than welcome to sit in this chair and make those decisions. Right now it's my time and I'm paid to do what I think is best for this franchise here and now, as well as the future. I'm doing the best that I can. I'm not going to be right all the time but I do what I believe in and I'm not going to waver from that, I'm not going to apologize for that, I'm very comfortable with that, because ultimately whatever works or doesn't work comes on my head so that's why I'm going to do it my way.

PinstripesPlus: To that end then, do you think the fans and the media - not just with Joba, but with Kennedy and Hughes too - need to realize more that the developmental stage doesn't necessarily end at the minor league level and in fact, continues on into the early part of their big league careers?

Cashman: Yes, there's growing pains, just like there were with Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano this year in the first-half of the season. This was Melky's sophomore season and Robbie's junior season, but second full-time starting season. There's some growing pains. These guys are still developing, learning, and growing. You can't forget that just because they happen to be playing important roles for the New York Yankees. You can't disregard their age, their level of experience in Major League baseball, or in Joba and Ian's case, in pro baseball because this is their first full year as a professional baseball player. That's why you have to take a step back and take a look at the big picture and not necessarily look at where we stand with the Boston Red Sox in the standings.

PinstripesPlus: With Joba and Ian in particular, were you expecting this type of advancement this quickly?

Cashman: No, absolutely not. I remember when Damon Oppenheimer made the selection of Ian Kennedy he told me this was a guy that would move fast through the system, but not this fast. He didn't say you could have him in '07. And with Joba Chamberlain, he told me obviously all the ability that he possessed and that he could be a dominant front-line starter or a potential closer type guy or setup guy, but there was never a discussion of when. It was just 'hey, this guy has a great deal of ability.' Kennedy was definitely a guy that was someone who should move very, very fast - but very fast was never defined as first year in pro ball and right into the big leagues.

PinstripesPlus: Considering the immediate inclusion of those three - Hughes, Chamberlain, and Kennedy - in your plans, and throwing in the other pitchers like Wright, Clippard, and DeSalvo who got big league experience this year, and then adding on the likes of Horne, Marquez, and McCutchen knocking on the door after good seasons in Double-A this year, how do you as the general manager plan on getting all of these arms into the mix?

Cashman: The more the merrier. As you saw this year we had a well-stocked farm system of pitching that we haven't even tapped yet - Mark Melancon, J.B. Cox, Humberto Sanchez, Christian Garcia - these are all guys that have the type of ability that could have, had healthy, played an impact in the big leagues in '07 actually, believe it or not. Yet injuries derailed them. We've got a lot of those guys coming back and we're excited about plugging them back in. Unfortunately the reality is some of the guys that are healthy right now won't be healthy come April, June, or July of next year for various reasons. Pitching is very susceptible to injuries. They're like race horses, we'll collect as many as we possibly can and hopefully that will protect us more. That's why, thankfully, the Joba Chamberlains and Ian Kennedy's weren't being factored into the protection list of players on the big league side, they pushed themselves into the mix and that's the great thing. Edwar Ramirez too, they all pushed themselves into the mix this year and that's wonderful.

PinstripesPlus: Continuing with that theme, with all the depth you have at pitching in the farm system, you still can't satisfy all the fans. You guys took a lot of high-ceiling pitchers in the later rounds of the draft this year - guys like Drew Storen, Greg Peavey, etc, etc - some fans want to know why you didn't sign the high-ceiling pitchers in the later rounds along with the high-ceiling position prospects selected earlier. The regular fans looks at this way: instead of signing a Kei Igawa, why not re-allocate those funds and just sign all the top guys in the amateur ranks?

Cashman: Ultimately the fans are going to have to trust that baseball is an inexact science and that we do a great deal of cross-checking in the amateur and professional level. The same scouts that recommended Kei Igawa recommended 'El Duque'. Some days you're going to be more right than others. We're not going to give up on the Igawa signing yet but ultimately we're going to trust our ability to assess talent. Some of the high-end guys we drafted late we decided to sign and some of the high-end guys we drafted late we decided that the price tags they were requesting weren't worth their talent at this point in time, based on the information we have. Some of those will prove accurate and some of those we'll regret. We'll say 'damn, maybe we should have done something there.' Everybody here is paid to make those decisions in the here and now. They make the best recommendations and I'm the one that finally makes the call. I'll do what I can to sign them within reason and I think we've done a much better job over the last few seasons than in the past.

PinstripesPlus: To expand a little bit further, just talk about the feasibility of - in the case of foregoing an average free agent sign and re-allocating those funds to the amateur side - of spending an exorbitant amount of money on the draft and July 2nd signs. The regular fan says you're the New York Yankees and have the ability to spend whatever they want, that there's no limits to what you can do and how many you can sign on the amateur side.

Cashman: No, it's probably not [feasible]. We're not a bottomless pit. Right now we have a $200 million payroll, plus being very aggressive in the amateur market, both domestic and International. There is a limit. There's only so much you can do. I think you certainly have seen a shift though in our efforts in terms of where we want to be more aggressive. It's clearly shifted over to the amateur side, both domestic and International, rather than the Major League and professional side. I think we'd rather try to grow our own rather than try to bring somebody else who had success elsewhere and hope they can handle New York. It just seems that the guys who grow up in the system are more used to it and more prepared for it because they don't come up with the expectations that some other All-Star from another team comes with. There's more of a curiosity, 'this kid is supposed to be pretty good. We hear a lot of different things but he's not a Major Leaguer.' I remember when Joba Chamberlain was called upon and whoever replaced Don Imus for a period of time was saying 'man they're bringing up this kid Joba Chamberlain who is 21-years old and they're expecting him to help them in the bullpen? Give me a break.' Here's someone who doesn't see the guy, but the great thing was the expectation levels weren't there. Yeah they know he's good and they see the numbers and stuff but 'that's the minor leagues, this is the big leagues.' Our younger guys seem to sneak up on the media and our fan base a lot easier and they get the ability to get their sea-legs under them where when you trade for a Randy Johnson in the winter time, he's anointed as the difference maker, 'this is the one that's going to make the World Championship happen, Alex Rodriguez is going to come in and make the World Series happen,' and then despite 40 home runs or close to 20 wins, they're like 'this guy's killing us.' They expect these guys to have 60 home runs and 25 wins and they're not super-human. Unfortunately they get built up so big and the expectations are so high that nobody could ever live up to them. That's why the kid thing seems to work better if you can do it that way.

PinstripesPlus: Considering you guys already had a lot of depth at pitching in the farm system, you guys went out and drafted and signed a lot of position prospects this year, perhaps to bring some balance to the organization. Was that a designed plan?

Cashman: It wasn't a concerted effort in this draft to say we want position players over pitching. It was we want the best player available at the moment we pick, and if it happened to be a catcher like Austin Romine ahead of whatever pitching was available at that moment, then it would be Romine. If it happened to be a Taylor Grote versus again a pitcher that was available at the time, so be it. But if there was pitching available with a better ceiling, we would have gone that direction too. But it is important to balance out. We do have more lopside on the pitching side than the position player side, but we have a lot of good young position players, especially Latin position players, that are babies but they're still on the come. We're probably more balanced out than people realize, but they're farther away, that's the only issue.

PinstripesPlus: I have to ask about Andrew Brackman. Was it difficult for you to give him a big league deal and have him take up a spot on the 40-man roster knowing that he's going to be out for at least a year?

Cashman: Sure. You don't want to give out 40-man roster spots like they're candy but at the same time, once we constructed the type of contract we have - when we signed him we optioned him out for less than 20 days so we didn't burn an option this year. Basically he's got four options left, and with the way the reports read, we believe he's going to be online, assuming he's healthy, that he's not going to need four years of development with the type of ability he has. You wrestle with it [putting him on the 40-man], but ultimately we felt the scouting report warranted doing what we did. That's what we respond to. We don't respond to the agents, we respond to the athletic talent of the player. In our belief, whether that will translate into successful baseball in the future or not, that's how I responded and that's why we did what we did.

PinstripesPlus: In my opinion, it seems you guys have brought in a lot of Latin talent over the last two or three years. How happy are you with that facet of your farm system right now?

Cashman: We're really pleased with the facility in Boca Chica [Dominican Republic], with Carlos Rios, Victor Mata, and Abel Guerra and the staff down there. They've been challenged to go find the talent and bring to us for consideration. We've been very aggressive down there and hopefully we can prove to ownership over time that these investments we've made in Latin America and in talent will payoff just like Melky and Cano did.

PinstripesPlus: Obviously the first name that come to mind from your Latin American program, in your farm system, is Jose Tabata. He hasn't shown the home run power yet. Are you as an organization concerned at all with his power development?

Cashman: Absolutely not. I think he was the youngest player in the Florida State League this year and he hit over .300. The conversation should end right there. The Florida State League, first of all, is a bandbox. It's big-time ballparks so it's not a home run place. Regardless, he's 18-years old, he came in and hit .300 in the Florida State League, he's a child amongst men, and to have that type of success is something we're excited about his potential. But potential means you haven't made it yet, and so at the end of the day, he's got a lot of work to do, we have a lot of work to do with him to continue to hone his skills and allow him to develop, but there's no doubt he's a serious baseball prospect and one of our high-end position players without a doubt.

PinstripesPlus: Going back to the trade deadline, how hard was it for you to hold on to these prospects and not trade them considering how much help you seemingly needed at the big league level at the time?

Cashman: It was never hard. I never felt to be in a position that I had to do that. Eric Gagne is a great pitcher and was the best pitcher available on the market. But at the same time, we weren't guaranteed a postseason berth. Essentially we had two months left in our season. He was a free agent at the end of the year and there was a price I was willing to pay, but not one to the point where I was going to do something for a two-month rental. As a reliever he might give you 20 innings over the two months, possibly, and that's it. 20 innings, is that worth one of your high-end prospects? That's the way I looked at it and the answer was no. It was worth certain things, yes, but not one of the whole-enchilada guys. They wanted an Ian Kennedy, they wanted a Melky Cabrera, so they made it very easy for me to say no. There's no way for 20 innings I was going to sacrifice players we're going to have control over for quite some time, an everyday centerfielder or for somebody I said at the time would go into our rotation next year. Who would have thought he would have gone into the rotation this year. I wasn't looking forward to the beating I was going to take, which I took, because I knew that was coming. We assessed our talent and I made the decision I made and I was going to have to live with the results for better or for worse. I felt then it was the right call and it clearly has been the right cal, but we'll see.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: With the unbelievable success he's had out of the bullpen, even though you and the organization have insisted he will be a starter, is there any sort of temptation to keep Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen next year?
\r\n
\r\nBrian Cashman: Well we know he can do that. Like anything else, you try to answer certain questions and we believe he could be a dominant starter for us. He's got to prove that, he's got to earn that, and that's the game plan for him. We'll always know he can do what he's doing now. There's strength in that. It's great to have choices. We believe Humberto Sanchez has the ability that Joba has, in that he could start or relieve. We felt when we signed Joba that he could start or relieve. Ian Kennedy, we feel is solely a starter, we don't look at him as a reliever. Phil Hughes, we look at him as a starter, not a reliever. But with the type of stuff that Joba features and Sanchez features, you can play on it both ways if you want. If you get enough of those guys together, you could have a really interesting discussion but it's hard to gather that much talent together at the same time. But no, the plan is to put Joba back in the rotation, to allow him to compete for a spot in the rotation next Spring, that's the plan. If we have to deviate from that plan for various reasons, that's for another day. At this stage, our plan is relieving in '07 because of the obvious need we had at the big league level and then continue his journey as a starter.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: With the 'Joba Rules' being as famous as they've become, keeping to your plan to use him as a starter next season, it's going to be an awfully big jump in innings for him. It would seem, keeping to the spirit of the 'Joba Rules' in protecting his health, that he would have to pitch in the back-end of the rotation next season to keep his innings down and not making a huge leap work-wise. If that does happen that way, is that something the media and the fans are going to be able to handle considering the expectation levels now surrounding him?
\r\n
\r\nCashman: Not necessarily. Like anything else, we'll work it out. My job as general manager, with the staff that we have, is to acquire assets and then protect those assets, and then allocate them as we see fit. We obviously want a chance to win, but with a chance to win, not just in the now but in the future at the same time. There's the balancing act. I'm paid to protect those assets if we feel we've secured some high-end ones and Joba is a high-end asset. In this early stage of his career, you can't abandon the developmental side of things that are there for protection purposes. If people want to accuse us of babying somebody, I don't really care. We believe we're doing what's best for this individual and we have an individual plan for everybody in this system. Sometimes guys move quicker than the plan and when that happens, like in Joba's case, it's even that much more important for the leadership of the franchise - the pitching coordinator, minor league manager, the farm director, the major league manager,and the general manager - to make sure we recognize not to get caught up in the here and now and forget about the future and use somebody up for our own short-term goals. I'm okay with the short-term pain that comes from the inquiries, the attacks whether it's a fan calling in, or the media stories, or if it happens to be an old-school manager or coach who wants to attack me on it. I'm okay with the short-term pain, because in my mind, I have long-term gain in mind. When one of those individuals feels they can do it better and know what they are doing, then they, if this job is available to them, they are more than welcome to sit in this chair and make those decisions. Right now it's my time and I'm paid to do what I think is best for this franchise here and now, as well as the future. I'm doing the best that I can. I'm not going to be right all the time but I do what I believe in and I'm not going to waver from that, I'm not going to apologize for that, I'm very comfortable with that, because ultimately whatever works or doesn't work comes on my head so that's why I'm going to do it my way.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: To that end then, do you think the fans and the media - not just with Joba, but with Kennedy and Hughes too - need to realize more that the developmental stage doesn't necessarily end at the minor league level and in fact, continues on into the early part of their big league careers?
\r\n
\r\nCashman: Yes, there's growing pains, just like there were with Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano this year in the first-half of the season. This was Melky's sophomore season and Robbie's junior season, but second full-time starting season. There's some growing pains. These guys are still developing, learning, and growing. You can't forget that just because they happen to be playing important roles for the New York Yankees. You can't disregard their age, their level of experience in Major League baseball, or in Joba and Ian's case, in pro baseball because this is their first full year as a professional baseball player. That's why you have to take a step back and take a look at the big picture and not necessarily look at where we stand with the Boston Red Sox in the standings.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: With Joba and Ian in particular, were you expecting this type of advancement this quickly?
\r\n
\r\nCashman: No, absolutely not. I remember when Damon Oppenheimer made the selection of Ian Kennedy he told me this was a guy that would move fast through the system, but not this fast. He didn't say you could have him in '07. And with Joba Chamberlain, he told me obviously all the ability that he possessed and that he could be a dominant front-line starter or a potential closer type guy or setup guy, but there was never a discussion of when. It was just 'hey, this guy has a great deal of ability.' Kennedy was definitely a guy that was someone who should move very, very fast - but very fast was never defined as first year in pro ball and right into the big leagues.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Considering the immediate inclusion of those three - Hughes, Chamberlain, and Kennedy - in your plans, and throwing in the other pitchers like Wright, Clippard, and DeSalvo who got big league experience this year, and then adding on the likes of Horne, Marquez, and McCutchen knocking on the door after good seasons in Double-A this year, how do you as the general manager plan on getting all of these arms into the mix?
\r\n
\r\nCashman: The more the merrier. As you saw this year we had a well-stocked farm system of pitching that we haven't even tapped yet - Mark Melancon, J.B. Cox, Humberto Sanchez, Christian Garcia - these are all guys that have the type of ability that could have, had healthy, played an impact in the big leagues in '07 actually, believe it or not. Yet injuries derailed them. We've got a lot of those guys coming back and we're excited about plugging them back in. Unfortunately the reality is some of the guys that are healthy right now won't be healthy come April, June, or July of next year for various reasons. Pitching is very susceptible to injuries. They're like race horses, we'll collect as many as we possibly can and hopefully that will protect us more. That's why, thankfully, the Joba Chamberlains and Ian Kennedy's weren't being factored into the protection list of players on the big league side, they pushed themselves into the mix and that's the great thing. Edwar Ramirez too, they all pushed themselves into the mix this year and that's wonderful.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Continuing with that theme, with all the depth you have at pitching in the farm system, you still can't satisfy all the fans. You guys took a lot of high-ceiling pitchers in the later rounds of the draft this year - guys like Drew Storen, Greg Peavey, etc, etc - some fans want to know why you didn't sign the high-ceiling pitchers in the later rounds along with the high-ceiling position prospects selected earlier. The regular fans looks at this way: instead of signing a Kei Igawa, why not re-allocate those funds and just sign all the top guys in the amateur ranks?
\r\n
\r\nCashman: Ultimately the fans are going to have to trust that baseball is an inexact science and that we do a great deal of cross-checking in the amateur and professional level. The same scouts that recommended Kei Igawa recommended 'El Duque'. Some days you're going to be more right than others. We're not going to give up on the Igawa signing yet but ultimately we're going to trust our ability to assess talent. Some of the high-end guys we drafted late we decided to sign and some of the high-end guys we drafted late we decided that the price tags they were requesting weren't worth their talent at this point in time, based on the information we have. Some of those will prove accurate and some of those we'll regret. We'll say 'damn, maybe we should have done something there.' Everybody here is paid to make those decisions in the here and now. They make the best recommendations and I'm the one that finally makes the call. I'll do what I can to sign them within reason and I think we've done a much better job over the last few seasons than in the past.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: To expand a little bit further, just talk about the feasibility of - in the case of foregoing an average free agent sign and re-allocating those funds to the amateur side - of spending an exorbitant amount of money on the draft and July 2nd signs. The regular fan says you're the New York Yankees and have the ability to spend whatever they want, that there's no limits to what you can do and how many you can sign on the amateur side.
\r\n
\r\nCashman: No, it's probably not [feasible]. We're not a bottomless pit. Right now we have a $200 million payroll, plus being very aggressive in the amateur market, both domestic and International. There is a limit. There's only so much you can do. I think you certainly have seen a shift though in our efforts in terms of where we want to be more aggressive. It's clearly shifted over to the amateur side, both domestic and International, rather than the Major League and professional side. I think we'd rather try to grow our own rather than try to bring somebody else who had success elsewhere and hope they can handle New York. It just seems that the guys who grow up in the system are more used to it and more prepared for it because they don't come up with the expectations that some other All-Star from another team comes with. There's more of a curiosity, 'this kid is supposed to be pretty good. We hear a lot of different things but he's not a Major Leaguer.' I remember when Joba Chamberlain was called upon and whoever replaced Don Imus for a period of time was saying 'man they're bringing up this kid Joba Chamberlain who is 21-years old and they're expecting him to help them in the bullpen? Give me a break.' Here's someone who doesn't see the guy, but the great thing was the expectation levels weren't there. Yeah they know he's good and they see the numbers and stuff but 'that's the minor leagues, this is the big leagues.' Our younger guys seem to sneak up on the media and our fan base a lot easier and they get the ability to get their sea-legs under them where when you trade for a Randy Johnson in the winter time, he's anointed as the difference maker, 'this is the one that's going to make the World Championship happen, Alex Rodriguez is going to come in and make the World Series happen,' and then despite 40 home runs or close to 20 wins, they're like 'this guy's killing us.' They expect these guys to have 60 home runs and 25 wins and they're not super-human. Unfortunately they get built up so big and the expectations are so high that nobody could ever live up to them. That's why the kid thing seems to work better if you can do it that way.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Considering you guys already had a lot of depth at pitching in the farm system, you guys went out and drafted and signed a lot of position prospects this year, perhaps to bring some balance to the organization. Was that a designed plan?
\r\n
\r\nCashman: It wasn't a concerted effort in this draft to say we want position players over pitching. It was we want the best player available at the moment we pick, and if it happened to be a catcher like Austin Romine ahead of whatever pitching was available at that moment, then it would be Romine. If it happened to be a Taylor Grote versus again a pitcher that was available at the time, so be it. But if there was pitching available with a better ceiling, we would have gone that direction too. But it is important to balance out. We do have more lopside on the pitching side than the position player side, but we have a lot of good young position players, especially Latin position players, that are babies but they're still on the come. We're probably more balanced out than people realize, but they're farther away, that's the only issue.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: I have to ask about Andrew Brackman. Was it difficult for you to give him a big league deal and have him take up a spot on the 40-man roster knowing that he's going to be out for at least a year?
\r\n
\r\nCashman: Sure. You don't want to give out 40-man roster spots like they're candy but at the same time, once we constructed the type of contract we have - when we signed him we optioned him out for less than 20 days so we didn't burn an option this year. Basically he's got four options left, and with the way the reports read, we believe he's going to be online, assuming he's healthy, that he's not going to need four years of development with the type of ability he has. You wrestle with it [putting him on the 40-man], but ultimately we felt the scouting report warranted doing what we did. That's what we respond to. We don't respond to the agents, we respond to the athletic talent of the player. In our belief, whether that will translate into successful baseball in the future or not, that's how I responded and that's why we did what we did.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: In my opinion, it seems you guys have brought in a lot of Latin talent over the last two or three years. How happy are you with that facet of your farm system right now?
\r\n
\r\nCashman: We're really pleased with the facility in Boca Chica [Dominican Republic], with Carlos Rios, Victor Mata, and Abel Guerra and the staff down there. They've been challenged to go find the talent and bring to us for consideration. We've been very aggressive down there and hopefully we can prove to ownership over time that these investments we've made in Latin America and in talent will payoff just like Melky and Cano did.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Obviously the first name that come to mind from your Latin American program, in your farm system, is Jose Tabata. He hasn't shown the home run power yet. Are you as an organization concerned at all with his power development?
\r\n
\r\nCashman: Absolutely not. I think he was the youngest player in the Florida State League this year and he hit over .300. The conversation should end right there. The Florida State League, first of all, is a bandbox. It's big-time ballparks so it's not a home run place. Regardless, he's 18-years old, he came in and hit .300 in the Florida State League, he's a child amongst men, and to have that type of success is something we're excited about his potential. But potential means you haven't made it yet, and so at the end of the day, he's got a lot of work to do, we have a lot of work to do with him to continue to hone his skills and allow him to develop, but there's no doubt he's a serious baseball prospect and one of our high-end position players without a doubt.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Going back to the trade deadline, how hard was it for you to hold on to these prospects and not trade them considering how much help you seemingly needed at the big league level at the time?
\r\n
\r\nCashman: It was never hard. I never felt to be in a position that I had to do that. Eric Gagne is a great pitcher and was the best pitcher available on the market. But at the same time, we weren't guaranteed a postseason berth. Essentially we had two months left in our season. He was a free agent at the end of the year and there was a price I was willing to pay, but not one to the point where I was going to do something for a two-month rental. As a reliever he might give you 20 innings over the two months, possibly, and that's it. 20 innings, is that worth one of your high-end prospects? That's the way I looked at it and the answer was no. It was worth certain things, yes, but not one of the whole-enchilada guys. They wanted an Ian Kennedy, they wanted a Melky Cabrera, so they made it very easy for me to say no. There's no way for 20 innings I was going to sacrifice players we're going to have control over for quite some time, an everyday centerfielder or for somebody I said at the time would go into our rotation next year. Who would have thought he would have gone into the rotation this year. I wasn't looking forward to the beating I was going to take, which I took, because I knew that was coming. We assessed our talent and I made the decision I made and I was going to have to live with the results for better or for worse. I felt then it was the right call and it clearly has been the right cal, but we'll see.
\r\n
\r\n

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