In the upcoming book "The Yankee Years," co-authors Torre and Tom Verducci report that some teammates referred to Rodriguez early in his Yankees career as "A-Fraud," an indication he was trying to be someone he was not.
In Torre's voice, the book claims "Alex monopolized all the attention" and that "he needs people to make a fuss over him."
"We never really had anybody who craved the attention. I think when Alex came over [in 2004], he certainly changed the feel of the club," Torre said.
Cashman said that he has not read the book -- it is set for release on Feb. 3 -- and could not comment on specifics. But he painted a different picture of Rodriguez's clubhouse image based upon negotiations following Rodriguez's 2007 season.
Through agent Scott Boras, Rodriguez had famously opted out of his contract during the World Series, and the Yankees vowed not to negotiate with him from that point forward.
Instead, Cashman continued on the course of pursuing the Yankees' other free agents. Cashman recalled a meeting with Jorge Posada when, unprovoked, the catcher stumped for Rodriguez's return. Mariano Rivera did the same, as did Pettitte.
"It was, 'We need Alex. We've got to have Alex,'" Cashman said. "This is sincere and genuine. They needed Alex and they wanted Alex. That was real and that was not asked for, it was offered up."
With Rodriguez bypassing Boras to negotiate directly with ownership, the Yankees eventually did come to terms with Rodriguez on a new 10-year, $275 million deal, with performance-based incentives that could push the package to more than $300 million.
Cashman acknowledged that the Yankees will be dealing with the fallout from Torre's book as they head into Spring Training, and some of the juicier topics might last longer than that.
"There's always going to be some controversy that surrounds this club," Cashman said. "The best way you try to deal with it is to rally around each other the best you can if there's real feelings there."