Cashman stays positive after losing Lee

December 14, 2010

After being spurned by prized lefty Cliff Lee, the New York Yankees were grasping at silver linings Tuesday, saying they were disappointed but not devastated.

“We’re not down and out at all,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Tuesday afternoon. “We have a great situation.”

As for where the Yankees turn now, Cashman repeatedly stressed the Yankees will not rush into anything. They are re-evaluating the free-agent and trade markets in their search for another starting pitcher.

“Plan B is patience,” Cashman said.

Lee chose to return to Philadelphia for less money and fewer years than the Yankees offered. As the days went on and Lee did not make a decision, Cashman said the Yankees knew that was not good for them.

“I think we did everything we could do,” he said.

Darek Braunecker, Lee’s agent, called Cashman just before midnight Monday and told him his client was going in another direction. Cashman then phoned owner Hal Steinbrenner to tell him the news, which he said was not surprising to any of them.

Cashman said he is not angry, and he understands it was a tough decision for Lee. He also does not think Lee rejected the Yankees because he had fears or doubts about pitching in New York.

“I honestly don’t believe there’s any environment he’s afraid to pitch in,” Cashman said.

Left-hander Andy Pettitte, 38, still has not let the Yankees know if he wants to return for a 17th season in the majors. Cashman said Lee’s decision will not cause the GM to press Pettitte for a decision.

Cashman stressed he believes the Yankees do not have a lot of holes on their roster and there is no need to panic.

“It’s not like we’re in a rush to do anything,” he said. “I think we have a great team, we’re in a great situation.”