Did Brian Cashman halt Yankees’ pursuit of Freddie Freeman?

All this time New York Yankees fans thought it was Hal Steinbrenner holding the team back from spending frivolously?!

Well, that could still be the case. But a recent report surfaced from famed Yankees insider Bob Klapisch revealing otherwise. And if this is the order of operations in the Bronx, it’s clear general manager Brian Cashman has a stranglehold over the Steinbrenners.

Remember when fans were clamoring for one of Matt Olson (via trade with the Athletics) or Freddie Freeman (via big money in free agency) when it became evident New York wouldn’t be chasing one of the top shortstops on the open market?

It’s not that Anthony Rizzo was disliked or unwanted. It was just … upgrading in a big way at first base seemed to be the only monumental move left for the Yankees to pull off based on who was available and what was realistic.

Fortunately, Rizzo’s hot start has him out-performing both of the guys many favored over him, so the chatter on that front has quieted.

It’s also pretty darn good news for Cashman if we’re to believe Klapisch’s report suggesting that the GM “kept Steinbrenner from overpaying for Freeman.”

Did Brian Cashman prevent the Yankees from signing Freddie Freeman?

This is worth pondering a few things. Could Cashman have been influenced by Steinbrenner’s frugal-ish ways and now operates in a more strategic manner rather than a ruthless one? Or was he staring down the barrel of being financially restricted by Steinbrenner down the road had he signed Freeman to a six-year deal? Or was he actually just not sold on Freeman and the amount of money he was looking for?

Any of those factors could’ve played a role in this hypothetical scenario where he supposedly talked Steinbrenner out of investing in arguably the best first baseman in the game. If he actually did do that, his comments from earlier in the offseason managed to mask that he was the one to halt the proceedings.

At this very moment, hardly any fan is concerned about potential offseason “misses” because the Yankees own the best record in baseball and have seemingly put it all together with their offense, defense and pitching leading the way or near the top in almost every major statistical category.

Cashman looks like a genius right now, but if Rizzo starts performing like he did post-COVID last season, or if the Yankees don’t have a first base solution after the 2022 season, he better hope Klap’s report is long buried so he doesn’t face the expected backlash that would be at the forefront of the discourse had the Yankees started 2022 like they did 2021.