"Do we need to get younger? Only if it gets us better. Do I want us to be younger and better? Yes, but will I sacrifice, would I go younger to make us worse and forego better choices that are older that make us better? No," Cashman told Mike Francesca on WFAN. "In theory, I want us to get younger and better, but in reality, that's not always realistic."
Many have suggested that age is a problem for the Yankees, as the roster is full of veterans on the downside of their careers. However, Cashman countered that opinion by noting the success of aging stars such as Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez, Hiroki Kuroda, and Andy Pettitte this season and in the playoffs.
Though reaching the ALCS would be considered a successful season to many Major League franchises, the Yankees are disappointed by their season's ending, meaning a busy offseason could be approaching.
Pettitte, Kuroda, Ibanez, Suzuki, Russell Martin, Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, and Nick Swisher are notable players expected to hit the free agent market, so the Yankees will have to spend wisely if they want to stay on pace to reach their goal of lowering the team's payroll under $189 million by 2014.
The 42 year-old Rivera has not pitched since tearing his ACL in early May, but has stated he will return for another season. That decision will impact how hard the Yankees pursue Soriano, who is looking for a long term deal as a closer.
Pettitte, 40, came out of retirement to pitch this season, so his future is uncertain as well. That leaves the Yankees with CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, and Ivan Nova, who was removed from the rotation after struggling late in the season. Rookie David Phelps could be made a permanent starter next year and Michael Pineda is expected back in June of next season, but the Yankees would still most likely try to resign Kuroda.
Former MVP Alex Rodriguez struggled this postseason and was benched for three games, causing trade rumors to swirl, but Cashman expects him to return as the team's starting third baseman in 2013. He is owed $114 million over the next five years and has a no-trade clause, meaning any potential deal is unlikely.
It's a fresh offseason with new free agents, but Cashman knows the same questions from past winters will need to be answered.
"I've gotten accustomed to every winter being full of 'what are you going to do?' and 'how are you going to do it?' so, we're going to be hopeful to continue to do what we've done in the past, which is bring a team back that people can look at and say 'you know what, that's got a shot.' Our philosophy's not going to change."
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