"We have a good team," he said. "It's hard to make it better, but we'll do everything we can within reason to try to make it better. I don't know if we will or not.
"Trying to concentrate on our pitching. I was on the phone all weekend, like I am all the time -- made some offers, received some ideas but nothing getting any traction."
CC Sabathia has officially re-upped, and Freddy Garcia has, unofficially. Ivan Nova was a revelation in 2011, A.J. Burnett a proven innings-eater, and Phil Hughes, despite his struggles in 2011, remains a pitcher still of considerable upside. The Yankees believe Noesi could be next year's Nova. And they remember that last year's rotation got them to the postseason.
But, of course, the Yankees are always trying to win the World Series. And they rarely mind making like Santa to their demanding fan base during December. So after having vowed in previous winters to be done with Alex Rodriguez and to have no money left for Mark Teixeira, it still seems inconceivable that they will only nibble around the edges of their rosters
"I think safe is to be never comfortable," allowed Cashman, who would risk no opinion on Yu Darvish, C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle or any of the top free-agent pitchers.
Usually, it's not much of a market if the Yankees aren't in it. But so far, they seem determined to get under the new $189-million luxury-tax threshold by the deadline of 2014.
And if the price on Wilson would begin to drop faster than, say, Cashman did Sunday from 270 feet?
"Wouldn't say," said the GM of a team that, a first-round defeat to the Tigers notwithstanding, is not at the end of its rope -- its GM only dangling from one only as a yearly holiday treat.
"I was a lot more comfortable [than in his 2010 debut], obviously had more practice runs getting used to it," Cashman said. "Hopefully, it looked better than a year ago.
"I turned around and waved. I don't know if you guys noticed, but I tried to do a little upside-down thing but I don't know if it played out that way. Yeah, the old recliner move.
"Every time I drive by this building now ... I have imprinted it, feel like it's a part of me. I used to take my kids to [this celebration] on the ground, now its kind of wild to be up there, an awesome opportunity to do something that, well, you shouldn't do."
Nothing seems more forbidden in Yankees country than finishing behind the Red Sox, though. In the spirit of the season -- and the rivalry -- Cashman, during rehearsals last week, issued a 2012 rappelling challenge to Bobby Valentine, Stamford restaurateur, favorite son, and the erstwhile director of public safety, a position he vacated when he took his new day job as Boston's manager.
Bring it on, replied the director of safety, who next year will duel down a 270-foot building on a rope.
"This is his town and he will give this more exposure." said Cashman. "When Bobby gets involved, he makes things better.
"He has done everything in his life. The guy is the King of Accomplishment."