New York Yankees notes: It's all about the bench now

General Manager Brian Cashman told NorthJersey.com's Pete Caldera Tuesday that his focus the remainder of the off-season is to improve the New York Yankee bench. Specifically, to find a right-handed hitter for that bench.

"Our team is, for the most part, set," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday by phone from his office at Yankee Stadium.

Unless there is a reversal by the Yankees’ ownership to add payroll, Cashman — having improved the starting pitching, upgraded in center, and filled the DH vacancy left by Hideki Matsui’s departure — is concentrating on role players.

"With the money we had to spend, we chose to spend it in those spots," Cashman said. "We’re just playing with the bench right now."

Still, the Yankees have room for another outfielder – preferably a right-handed bat; Cashman acknowledged that he’s searching for a right-handed hitter.

That likely means, of course, familiar names if you have been following the off-season rumor mill -- Xavier Nady, Reed Johnson, Jerry Hairston Jr. Personally, I would prefer Nady or Hairston.

  • The market is getting smaller and smaller for Johnny Damon. In fact, is there really a market at all? ESPN 1050 says Damon has become this winter's Bobby Abreu, and appears likely to end up taking a deal well below what he wanted.
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  • Randy Johnson has retired. Yankee fans, obviously, do not have fond memories of Johnson's time with in the Bronx. At his best, though, Johnson was one of the greatest pitchers the game has ever seen. Tyler Kepner has penned an excellent appreciation of the big left-hander.
  • YankeesRedSox.com does not understand the angst over the inclusion of 19-year-old Arodys Vizcaino in the Javier Vazquez trade. I have to agree with the site's argument, which goes like this:

    While I get the mourning over Vizcaino, let's think about this for a minute. This is a guy who pitched 42 innings last season in low A ball. Yes, they were very effective innings and he has stuff that scouts love, but he is probably at minimum three years from the majors and he has to stay healthy. Think of all the pitchers who have shined in the minors recently and then got derailed by injury. Alan Horne dominated in AA in 2007 and got hurt. Dellin Betances, who had very good numbers in low A ball in 2007 hasn't made it to AA because of injuries. There are just so many things that can happen to a pitcher that to mourn the loss of a guy who hasn't made it past Staten Island is silly.
  • Bugs & Cranks makes a strong case for why Tim Raines should be in the Hall of Fame. Joe Posnanski makes an equally strong case for why Don Mattingly should not.
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