Capitals

Yankees, Cashman pleased with offseason success

Yankees, Cashman pleased with offseason success

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) Brian Cashman feels so good about the Yankees' offseason, he decided to rapel down a building.

After spending the previous few days retaining veteran starting pitchers Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda as well as closer Mariano Rivera, New York's general manager made some practice jumps down the side of Stamford's Landmark Building on Friday. The workout was in advance of a charity event Sunday.

But the talk afterward was on pitching, and Cashman is confident the Yankees are already offseason winners. Pettitte, Kuroda and Rivera were given one-year deals that will cost the Yankees $37 million..

``I think Pettitte is a big thing,'' Cashman said. ``Kuroda was a big thing. I think we're having a successful early campaign to our winter because we've able to retain some high-end, high-caliber starting pitching and if you look at the marketplace, I'm not sure if anyone is doing better than us right now.''

The Yankees won the AL East last season and defeated Baltimore in the division series, then were swept by Detroit in the AL championship series.

``I think that we're doing really well early in the process,'' he said. ``I'm real happy about how our winter program is currently going.''

Cashman is also formulating a plan for next week's winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., and that trip will begin after he officially ropes down the 22-story building on Sunday night. This year, for the benefit, he will be joined by former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, a Stamford native.

Cashman is to fly to Nashville on Monday. Among his priorities there will be testing the waters for a new catcher after Russell Martin finalized a $17 million, two-year deal Friday with the Pittsburgh Pirates, as well as filling an expected vacancy in right field as Nick Swisher is likely to head elsewhere.

Martin was offered a $20 million, three-year deal by Cashman in spring training and did not accept it.

``I like Russell Martin,'' Cashman said. ``I'm a big Russell Martin fan. But ultimately we have a lot of holes to fill and we have to be very careful how we spend our money. The market for Russell was aggressive as it should have been and again our focus has been our pitching.

``After that, I've got a lot of different holes to fill. We need to be careful how we allocate our remaining funds to make sure that we can fill all the holes.''

The moves may not be splashy - free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, for instance - but Cashman believes that doesn't preclude the Yankees from making a significant move. Cashman said that the catching vacancy could be filled internally, though he might seek an offensive upgrade. He also indicated that finding a right fielder is more of a priority than signing or acquiring a catcher.

``We're capable of doing a lot of different things,'' Cashman said. ``We are not out of the multiyear market. We are not out of thinking big, looking at something big. But despite everything that we have, if you look at our numbers, we can still make certain things work.''

The Yankees haven't been major players in free agency since the 2008-09 offseason. They had the contracts of pitcher Mike Mussina, outfielder Bobby Abreu and first baseman Jason Giambi come off their payroll then, and that enabled them to commit millions to starters CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and first baseman Mark Teixeira.

``That was perfect timing for us to be aggressive and we can make a lot of things fit,'' Cashman said. ``That scenario still exists despite the limitations, 189 if you want to call it limitations. Even if we did the $189 (million), we still have the highest payroll in baseball and so if you follow the math and look how things can unfold and come off the board and stuff like that, you can see how things can fit.

``We will be aggressive when we want to be, under the right circumstances. But it's in our best interests to stay as flexible as possible given a lot of reasons and that's obviously a big one.''

Shortstop Derek Jeter will enter the final year of a three-year contract that was finalized before Cashman's first appearance at this event in December 2010. Jeter is recovering from a broken left ankle suffered in Game 1 of the ALCS, and Cashman said the healing process is going well.

Even still, Jeter cannot work out until January.

``He had a checkup a few weeks ago in North Carolina and everything is going really well,'' Cashman said. ``He's going to be ready for us by opening day. He'll be a restricted player early in camp but all indications are very strong for a healthy recovery.''

Quick Links

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

Quick Links

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

alex_smith_otas_2_ap.png
Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler