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Brian Cashman: we'll talk to our own guys first

Nov 24, 2009, 11:55 AM EDT

Brian Cashman, on how the Yankees will proceed in the free agent market:

“I don’t want to make the mistake of having a conversation with somebody else’s agent and it plays out as if I’m pursuing that guy, and somebody misinterprets it (and) that means I’m not pursuing our guy.  We’re not even at that stage yet. So I’m trying to be very careful and respectful to our players first, makes sure they’re aware of where they are in the process.”

But what happens when that somebody else’s agent — say Matt Holliday’s agent – is the same guy as “our guy’s” agent — Johnny Damon?  I’m imagining this conversation:

Cashman: Scott, we want to talk to our own people first, so I called you so we can discuss Damon.  I’ll give him $5 million on a one year deal.

Boras: That’s not gonna cut it, Brian. Damon is irreplaceable. He’s a gamer. He’s given his all to New York, and the fans want him back.

Cashman: He’s not irreplaceable, Scott. We could go out and sign Matt Holliday.

Boras: Good point! Screw Damon. Holliday is the second coming of Teixeira!

And there you have it: professional malpractice and “talking to someone else” in the space of thirty seconds. OK, maybe it’s not that blatant, but the lesson holds: don’t believe much of what you hear when it comes to agents OR general managers. Everything is negotiable and everything is being negotiated, always.

Still, as a general consideration, Cashman’s “talk to the someone elses later” is a smart move.  It’s way easier to let the teams with real budget constraints make their best offer to Matt Holliday and John Lackey and whoever else, and then come in late and beat the best offer by a couple of million.  If I was Cashman, I’d simply call every representative of any free agent out there and say “when you’ve got what you think is your best offer, call me. I’ll let you know whether I’ll beat it within two hours.”

If he does that it’ll be way easier for him to relax this winter.

  1. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Nov 24, 2009 at 1:01 PM

    If he does that it’ll be way easier for him to relax this winter.

    Cashman still works for the Yankees and the Steinbrenner’s, I don’t think he’s relaxed during the winter since he was an intern.

  2. MikeS - Nov 24, 2009 at 5:55 PM

    As an attorney Craig, can you please explain to me how Boras does not have a huge conflict of interest? Like a multi million dollar conflict of interest. He can get more money for Holliday to NY and Damon WhoKnowsWhere than for Damon to NY and Holliday to IDon’tKnow. Boras gets more money if he negotiates in bad faith and prices JD out of NY so that the Yanks have a hole and they fill it with his other client. How does he get away with this?
    If I were Damon, I would be concerned that my agent did not have my best interest at heart.

  3. Craig Calcaterra - Nov 24, 2009 at 6:53 PM

    I’ve been beating that drum for years, Mike. I suppose he technically skirts it by having associates and subordinates handle the actual negotiations, but I’m not sure that would make me feel better about it. If I’m Johnny Damon, I didn’t hire Boras in order to be represented by Skippy McAgent. I want the big guy.
    If he doesn’t pawn off his clients to underlings, I have no idea how he even makes the argument that he doesn’t have a conflict.

  4. Kevin S. - Nov 24, 2009 at 8:21 PM

    That’s happened before. When he was trying to wrest free agency for Pedro Alvarez from the Pirates, he delayed the payment and opportunity for development on another of his clients, Eric Hosmer. I’m not sure what solution people want, though. Are we supposed to have a separate agent for each player?

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