"As long as I haven't gotten anything done on any level, haven't spent any money, then [Pettitte] can take all the time he wants [to make a decision]," he said.
The GMs have a full day of meetings on Tuesday and then meet with Commissioner Bud Selig on Wednesday. They have been invited to sit in on Thursday's joint ownership meeting for the third time this year. That may not leave a lot of time for bargaining among each other, Cashman said.
Because only GMs have been invited to the meetings, precluding assistants and staff, some player agents have said they may not attend, waiting for the Winter Meetings back here in Orlando from Dec. 6-9.
The Yankees won the World Series in 2009, but were eliminated by the Rangers this past month in the American League Championship Series. Right now, they have their immediate offseason tasks mapped out for them.
"It's usually pretty obvious every year for the most part what our priorities are," he said. "[This year] it's real simple, because you have the closer and the shortstop that are a layup in terms of knowing they have to get done. And then after that there are things you'd like to get done, but can you? Will you? We'll see."
Two years ago, the Yankees were big purchasers in the offseason market, signing CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira to long-term contracts that totaled $425.5 million. This year, aside from Lee and their own guys, the Yankees won't be big-time players.
"We've got a lot of good things [on the big league club] and we've got a lot of good things coming [in the organization]," he said. "So it's not like two years ago when we really needed to secure certain things to set up our future. I think our future is good either way. It's just going to be better with certain additions."
Cashman is still interviewing replacements for Dave Eiland, the deposed pitching coach, another task that won't be accomplished this week.
"I've got more interviews," Cashman said. "I'll get back to New York and continue the process. It just got interrupted by these meetings. I wouldn't say it's a long list ... but the process needs to be done in New York."
Asked when he felt some movement might be made on the free-agent front, Cashman added: "When [it's] right. I'm just not further along in any discussions with anybody on any level that I feel anything is on the verge of happening. If I did, I'd be no-commenting right now instead of saying nothing is going to happen. When I'm not giving any comments that means something's up. I'm not even in a position right now to tell you who my pitching coach is going to be. So we have some work to do."