STAMFORD, Conn. — New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is practicing for his role as Santa’s helper. Next year, he wants Bobby Valentine at his side.
Cashman spent Friday morning rappelling down the 22-story Landmark Building in Stamford, Conn. It’s a dry run for Sunday, when he’ll join Santa during the “Heights & Lights” event.
It will be the second straight year that Cashman has climbed down the 350-foot building. Last year, he dressed as an elf.
“I publicly challenge Bobby Valentine to join me on the building, Landmark Square, first week of December 2012. Be there,” Cashman said.
Rehearsing for his second straight appearance in Sunday’s holiday event and before being strapped to a cable for a few practice runs, Cashman also took time out to praise Valentine, who will be managing in the majors for the first time since 1996-02 with the Mets.
“I know Bobby, and I know he’s qualified to handle everything that’s going to come his way in Boston,” Cashman said. “I didn’t like seeing Terry Francona in that dugout because Terry was outstanding at what he did, and at the same time I know what Bobby is and what he can do and what he will do.”
At this time last year, Cashman had just finished re-signing closer Mariano Rivera, was negotiating with Derek Jeter on a new contract and was trying to sign Cliff Lee. This offseason has been quieter.
“We’re making the calls,” Cashman said. “We’re talking to the agents. We’re talking trades and stuff like that, but for the most part nothing has transpired yet.”
The only Yankee offseason moves have been adding $30 million and another year to CC Sabathia’s contract and agreeing to a $4 million, one-year contract with Freddy Garcia, a deal subject to a physical.
Cashman sounded doubtful the Yankees would sign a free-agent starting pitcher such as C.J. Wilson or Mark Buehrle. Trade talks are moving slowly.
“We’re having our conversations,” Cashman said. “We have prospects in Triple-A. If it makes sense, we’re ready to rock-and-roll, and if doesn’t make sense, we’ll look at what we have and appreciate what we got.
“We’re ready to move on something if it makes sense,” Cashman said. “I’m going to go to Dallas and stay engaged.”