STICK TIRED OF GEORGE'S SCHTICK
By GEORGE KING
October 14, 2005 -- How bad is it in the Yankees' dysfunctional universe? Gene Michael wants out of his contract. Michael, who many credit for leading the Yankees out of the wilderness in the early 1990s when he was the GM, is in negotiations with the Yankees for a buyout of the remaining four years of his contract that pays him $600,000 per.
Michael, who is listed in the media guide as a VP/special advisor, was annoyed when he wasn't part of the Yankees' postseason scouting coverage, a project he was in charge of for years.
"That's what's wrong with the Yankees," former bench coach Don Zimmer said. "You get a guy like Gene Michael and he knows more baseball than anybody around (George) Steinbrenner. (Michael) knows more about baseball than all those guys put together. He was the fair-hair boy. Now it's like he doesn't exist."
There are few executives more accessible than Brian Cashman. Yet, for the second straight day, the GM didn't address a group of media. With his contract running out Oct. 31, Cashman's future is a hot topic.
Many believe he will leave as quickly as possible since the Phillies want to talk to him after the contract expires. There are openings in Baltimore and Tampa Bay and likely to be jobs available in Washington and Seattle.
However, there are a few employees who believe Cashman, who has never worked for another organization, will remain as the GM, a position Steinbrenner wants Cashman to stay in.
If The Boss really wants Cashman to return he will give him more control over personnel and do away with the second-guessers in Tampa. And of course a raise from the $1.15 million Cashman made this season.
Cashman was in his office working on trade possibilities and free agents the club will be interested in. The question is will Cashman be the point man on the trades or signings? And if it's not him, who takes over? The favorite is Damon Oppenheimer, a VP who works out of Tampa. While Steinbrenner hasn't summoned his Bronx executives - Cashman, Randy Levine and Lonn Trost - to a meeting in Tampa, he is huddling with Oppenheimer, Billy Connors and Bill Emslie.