Brian Cashman really seems to be taking the Alex Rodriguez drama hard. For the most part, yesterday’s press conference played out as you’d have expected: Rodriguez revealed some new information (it’s his cousin’s fault!), but not enough to put an end to everything (the race to find the cousin is on!). It’s all part of the way these staged apologies tend to play out. All that was really missing was a generic quote from Cashman, something disapproving but positive, along the lines of “He’s made mistakes, and we support him, and we’re going to focus on baseball, and would you please stop asking me about this?”
But Cashman’s actual reaction to everything was surprising, because for all the talk of unified support behind A-Rod, the Yankees GM was pretty blunt in his assessment of the proceedings: "I don't think Alex is very good at communicating, to be quite honest.” And that’s not merely a knock on his sometimes-uncomfortable manner of speaking. It’s a knock on what he said, too:
“I thought he was very specific, obviously, in trying to give circumstances that took place. But clearly, the one thing he could've said is he chose to do this to make himself better. To make himself better at what he does on that baseball field. That's the truth, whether it was said.”
Cashman’s walking a fine line: He’s not necessarily unsupportive, but he’s more honest than you’d expect, and probably more honest than A-Rod would appreciate. Add this to the fact that Cashman coldly referred to Rodriguez as an “asset” that the Yankees had invested in. And that last week Cashman admitted he didn’t know whether he could believe Rodriguez was being honest about the extent of his drug use.
One has to wonder if this is just the job finally getting to Cashman, that after eleven years in probably the most stressful GM position in baseball, he doesn’t care to pretend everything is just swell when it’s not. Or maybe it's that he's just tired of defending the many steroid-users the Yankees have employed over the years. Or could it be that this time, it’s more personal? After all, Cashman’s the one who brought A-Rod to New York. For better or worse, that will go down as the signature move of his tenure here. A knock on A-Rod’s reputation is, in a sense, a knock on Cashman’s, too. And Cashman knows as well as anyone that Rodriguez’s reputation is in bad shape.