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Today on Season Ticket, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman talks about his team's offseason and the rejuvenated Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. Then, Sox reporter Pete Abraham gives his thoughts on the 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame class.
- Brian Cashman, General Manager, New York Yankees
- Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe), Red Sox Beat Reporter, The Boston Globe
On how he is treated when he visits Boston
Brian Cashman: I was just here a few weeks ago and went to the Celtics-Rockets game and I got recognized. Always well-received, never had any issues. I think people respect how we go about our business and what we’re trying to do despite maybe hating the Yankees regardless. It’s one of my favorite cities. I love the fan base here; I love how they passionately support the Red Sox and the rivalry is second to none. I’m lucky to be a part of it.
"We are aspiring to be the Golden State Warriors."Brian Cashman
On the current state of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry
Chris Gasper: The Red Sox have won the American League East the last two seasons. However, you guys, it feels like, are the ones who are being chased because you were one win from the World Series last year. How do you guys look at it as a Yankees organization? Do you feel like you have to catch the Red Sox because they’re two-time defending AL East Champions or do you look at it the other way that with the Wild Card you were one win away from being the American League Champions again?
Brian Cashman: I definitely remind everyone that the Red Sox are the defending AL East champs and we are chasing them ... We don’t want to be in the [wild card] spot, we want to win the division and get the automatic bid. So, Boston’s the defending champ and has that respect. The postseason thing is completely different if you don’t play your best baseball any given week. We got a lot of respect for what Boston’s done and how they’ve done it and we’re just trying to do everything we can to close the gap to give ourselves the best opportunity to try and find a way to keep everybody behind us but somehow climb over the [Red Sox].
On the Yankees trading for Giancarlo Stanton
Brian Cashman: We were focused — like the entire industry was — on [Shohei] Ohtani ... During that process, I stayed in touch as I do with all other opportunities ... We were able to quickly pivot while [Giancarlo] Stanton was still on the board and consider that circumstance. Despite the behemoth of that contract, we had a lot of money coming off and the more we started thinking through it, the more we started engaging Miami, the more Stanton was blocking these ultimate trade opportunities that presented themselves to the Marlins with the Cardinals and the Giants. It kinda worked in our favor when he declared us as one of the four teams he would consider ... So, I don’t think Derek [Jeter] had any interest other than the best deal for his franchise and it just happened that it played hopefully to our advantage.
On signing Aaron Boone as manager
Chris Gasper: You made a managerial change this offseason, moving on from Joe Girardi who won you a World Series in 2009 ... What led to the decision to go with Aaron [Boone] when you have a team that’s ready to win a World Series? You have a manager that’s never managed at all.
Brian Cashman: Certainly not how I would have drawn it up but it’s how it played out. There’s a process that served us well when we hired Joe Torre’s replacement in Joe Girardi. We implemented that same process ten years later and it was an improved-upon process. That net result was, surprisingly, Aaron Boone. Surprising, because no manager experience, no coaching experience with him but, at the end of the day, it was obvious by the personnel I had in the meetings and the interview process. He was exceptional and won the day and earned the right. I feel very comfortable with him despite acknowledging there will be growing pains. There’s risk, there is always risk. We’re making a long-term investment in him and, therefore, we feel the payoff will be there for us.
"If we’re doing business properly, we should be the beasts of the East."Brian Cashman
On whether the Yankees are still underdogs
Chris Gasper: Last offseason you referred to the Red Sox as the "Golden State Warriors of baseball" when they got Chris Sale. So, what does that make the Yankees now that you have Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge — the two guys who hit 50+ home runs last year in baseball and Stanton, the reigning National League MVP.
Brian Cashman: It still makes us the underdog regardless because you have two 100+ win season teams with Houston and Cleveland and the defending two-time American League East champs, the Boston Red Sox. We are aspiring to be the Golden State Warriors. So, all efforts are in to try and have those type of names dropped on us. But, ultimately, we have to prove it on the field.
Chris Gasper: Looking at the Yankees franchise in general, no stranger to people perceiving you as the favorite. No one’s ever going to look at the Yankees as the underdog — that’s just part of the deal, right?
Brian Cashman: Well, I thought we were the underdog last year. People perceived us that way. But, you’re right. Generally, if we’re doing business properly, we should be the beasts of the East and that’s what we aspire to get back to.
On the 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame class
Chris Gasper: Yesterday, the voting revealed there were four players who were inducted: Chipper Jones (the Atlanta Braves great), Vladimir Guerrero (known primarily for his time with the Montreal Expos), Jim Thome (who spent time with the Indians and the Phillies) and great San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman ... You voted for nine players, four guys made it in to the HOF. How do you feel about this class?
Peter Abraham: I feel good about it. The [Baseball Writers Association of America] is starting to make a lot of inroads in terms of getting players into the Hall of Fame. We’ve elected 16 players in the last five years, the most in a five-year period. So, the ballot is starting to get cleared out a little bit, as it should have been. This will make the voting a little easier going forward. Chipper Jones was an obvious choice, I think Vladimir Guerrero was as well and Jim Thome. The BBWAA has stopped the whole monkeying around with the process and is getting down to what they really should be doing and getting players into the HOF.
"I think Bonds and Clemens belong in the Hall of Fame."Pete Abraham
On alleged PED users getting into the HOF
Chris Gasper: It’s gotten to the point where I feel like almost bigger than who goes into the Hall of Fame is whether Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds get anywhere near the 75% needed to be elected. Their numbers ticked up a little bit this year. Roger Clemens got 57.3% this year compared to 54.1% in 2017. Bonds went from 53.8% to 56.4% this year. Do you think these guys will eventually get in and why did you vote for them?
Peter Abraham: I voted for them every year except my first year because I feel like the Players Association and MLB, at the time of the PED/steroid era, didn’t really feel like they needed to take action. They turned a blind eye to what the players were doing and now people are acting like the BBWAA should be in charge of retroactively punishing these guys by keeping them out of the Hall of Fame. I don’t think that’s right and I also don’t know that the BBWAA has any way of knowing who did what, when they did it and how it affected them — it’s a lot of guessing. I think it’s too much of a mess to try and sort out and you have to view the players in the context of the time when they played ... I think Bonds and Clemens belong in the Hall of Fame.
On Edgar Martinez getting closer to the Hall of Fame and what it means for David Ortiz
Peter Abraham: There’s always been the sort of last-year bounce for a player — I think Edgar [Martinez] will get that and will get into the Hall of Fame. And then, for fans of David Ortiz and David Ortiz himself, that’s good news because whatever stigma that exists about the DH and, "How can you vote for a guy that only played half the time," that will all vanish because how could you not vote for David for that reason and then know that Edgar is in the Hall of Fame?
On whether David Ortiz's future Hall of Fame chances will be hurt by his association to PEDs
Peter Abraham: I think it will always be tied to him in some degree and some writers will hold it against him. I certainly wouldn’t expect him to sail into the Hall of Fame. Let’s keep in mind, he’s not going to be on the ballot until December 2021 and a lot of things are going to happen between then and now with the Hall of Fame. There will be players who get in who have been tied to PEDs — it’s already happened. I think there’s a chance at some point we’ll find out that a player already in the Hall of Fame will be accused of having used PEDs and it’s going to be too late at that point to drum that player out. So the longer it takes for David to get on the ballot, I think, the more voters will become more forgiving of players tied to PEDs. And when the time comes to vote for David, I think it would be hard for somebody to look at who’s in for different reasons and say, “I’m not voting for David Ortiz.” There will be some people who will, but I think he’ll get to 75%.