Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said something puzzling recently. He said that his team's rival, the Red Sox, were a better team than the one donned in pinstripes.
So the GM of the Evil Empire actually thinks the Yankees are better than the Red Sox?
Well, kind of ... sort of. But not in the glaring fashion that you may have thought without hearing or reading the actual quote:
"I would agree because they have a deeper starting rotation. I’m not saying they’re going to beat us. We’re not conceding anything. But if somebody asked me right now, they might be a finished product. We’re an unfinished product. But you don’t win championships in the winter, you win them in the summer. We’re looking forward to going head-to-head with everybody and anybody."
So, yeah, Cashman thinks the Red Sox are better. Because of the rotation. And on paper.
It's great to think that a rival GM -- one, more specifically, that is of equal talent -- would give such credit to the Red Sox. But it's not like he set the world on fire by making some huge, declarative statement. He didn't even say, "Yes, they're a better team." He said he "would agree" and then quickly followed it up with "I'm not saying they're going to beat us."
So ignore all those headlines that say in big, bold letters: "CASHMAN SAYS RED SOX BETTER THAN YANKEES" It's true, sure, but he didn't sell his team short by any means.
The interesting thing is that Cashman cites the Sox's deep rotation for being better. The rotation -- which is essentially the same as 2010. In comparison to the Yankees, the only difference from a season ago is the lack of Andy Pettitte. And the kicker? Pettitte could still rejoin the Yankees this season.
There was no mention of Adrian Gonzalez or Carl Crawford, two players the Yankees certainly missed out on. There was no mention of a healthy Red Sox squad, either. That may have been the biggest difference last year. The rotation was really the weak point last year, but that's what Cashman said makes the Sox better.
I've never really had an opinion of Cashman. But with him admitting the Red Sox are a better team, albeit in such a roundabout way, I need to give him credit. Not many GMs with a fanbase like New York's would admit something like that. The potential feedback alone should have shattered his eardrums. Yet, like he had nothing to lose, he admitted what he thought was the truth.
Brian Cashman is the latest in the short line of respectable former or current New York Yankees. Joe Torre? He's on the list. Jorge Posada? Yeah, he makes the cut (although he wouldn't for many). Derek Jeter? In a sense, I respect him -- the "He's Not Alex Rodriguez" sense. Speaking of A-Rod ... Alex Rodriguez? Not in this lifetime.
I give Cashman credit, but maybe it's all being blown out of proportion? My favorite quote on this whole topic comes from the Red Sox' own GM:
"Anything GMs say at this time of year is purely for your [reporters'] benefit to fill space. I don't think a lot about what I say, he probably doesn't think a lot about what he says, it's all just to make sure you guys get to work 12 months out of the year.''
Nice, Theo. Nice.
BREAKING DOWN THE PROSPECTS
A lot of top Red Sox prospects lists are swirling around the Interwebs. At Over The Monster, they're still creating their Top 20 list. Baseball America and all those fantastic publications have theirs out, too. The only bad thing about the lists: they're too dang thin.
A season ago the Red Sox had three big names in the prospect list: Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo and Rey Fuentes. Now they're all in San Diego (as part of the Gonzalez deal), leaving the Red Sox reeling a bit for minor league talent.
But with those three losses come gains. More specifically, Anthony Ranaudo.
Ranaudo, who was drafted out of LSU this past season, has yet to pitch for the Red Sox. But most lists have him as a top-three Red Sox prospect. He was taken late because teams were scared they wouldn't be able to sign him, but the Sox took the risk and now they will be rewarded.
I saw Ranaudo this summer in the Cape Cod League. I didn't get to see him pitch, but he made an impression on many just by sitting in the dugout. During pregame warmups, a wild throw over the first baseman's head almost hit Ranaudo and teammates sitting outside the dugout. Ranaudo threw it back and no one thought anything of it.
Until it happened again.
The next inning the throw sailed high again, but instead of the ball rattling around in the dugout, Ranaudo caught it bare-handed and threw it back. Then he yelled, "Really? That happened again?"
The next half inning Ranaudo was prepared. He wore a catcher's mask and sat on a five-gallon bucket positioned right outside the first base line.
If he pitches as well as he goofs around, the Sox are going to have a great pitcher on their hands in a few seasons.