Cashman may not have received a mandate from the Steinbrenners to win this year, but he sure is acting like he has to win now.
After handing out the largest contract ever to a starting pitcher, he is supposedly deep into talks with A.J. Burnett and it looks like the Yanks are in prime position to steal him from the grasp of the Braves. The rumored deal is for five years and somewhere between $80 and $90 million. Now obviously this money is pretty absurd for a guy who has only been sporadically healthy through his career and only shows up against certain teams or when he his playing for his next contract. But the one thing I like about Burnett is that he shows up against both the Yanks and the Sox. If all he does is kill the Sox the $16+ million a year would have some value if only to see how mad Red Sox Nation gets when Burnett is 14-11 with a 4.50 ERA and still schooling them when he can't beat the Royals.
The other deal that Cashman has just about completed is the one to send Melky Cabrera to the Brewers for Mike Cameron. Much like getting Nick Swisher for Wilson Betemit, this a steal of a deal. Melky has potential but I get the feeling he won't reach it or it will be a very long time before he does. Plus the Brewers may eat some of Cameron's contract. Cameron may not be long for the Yanks, he is likely to be just a place holder until they feel that Austin Jackson is ready, so he doesn't cost the Yanks a lot but he upgrades the lineup and the defense in the outfield.
So far the Yanks have spent a lot of money, even by their standards. But on paper they are a much better team and that's all Cashman can do is put the best team on paper and then hope they perform on the field. What I like about all these deals is that he hasn't given up any of the Yankees future. He has held all of the major young pieces that he wants to keep and traded away others that were expendable.
I can't argue with what Cashman has done. I probably would have made all the same moves too. Ironically the Yanks payroll will probably still fall this off-season and next year it will drop a little further.That's a feat in itself.