After making some waves earlier in the day on Friday when speaking by phone on ESPN’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd”, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had stated he viewed Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka as a “solid #3 pitcher” in the Bombers rotation. To add salt to the wound, he spoke with the New York Post later on Friday and might have stirred the pot even more.
When asked whether he views C.C. Sabathia as an ace, Cashman appeared hesitant to classify his big lefty in that class, stating:
CC is the leader of our staff, but obviously after last year I don’t know if you can consider him in that [Clayton] Kershaw category…But he is the leader of our staff.
Cashman may have good reason to not consider Sabathia one of the game’s elite, after arguably his worst season in the bigs, by posting a 14-13 record with a bloated 4.78 ERA. With the signing of Tanaka, some within the organization believe that Sabathia needs to worry more about retaining his own role as the staff ace let alone being considered one of the best overall pitchers in the game.
Cashman also added that his comments earlier in the day about Tanaka were “miscontrued”, adding:
The question was whether I thought [Tanaka] would be at the front of the rotation right out of spring training…I said that I didn’t expect that. You’re talking about the adjustment, transition, growing pains. We look for him to be a solid No. 3, and after that if it’s better than that, great.
Cashman also touched a bit on David Robertson, saying that he is taking the same approach with him having to earn the now vacant closer’s role as he is with Tanaka immediately becoming the staff ace for the Yankees. He added that spots are earned, not anointed or given, and that guys will have to pitch their way into positions.