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Yankees Pick Up Girardi’s Option

October 31, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Yankees picked up their $3.4 million option on Joe Girardi on Saturday, keeping their catching platoon in place for 1999.

With Jorge Posada emerging as the Yankees’ No. 1 catcher, the Yankees had been expected to exercise a $400,000 buyout on Girardi’s contract and either try to re-sign him at a lower salary or find a cheaper replacement.

But general manager Brian Cashman decided not to risk losing Girardi to another team and disrupt the platoon that helped New York win the World Series.

``The success of the Yankees has been built around pitching, and our catchers have clearly played a major role,″ Cashman said. ``At a time when quality catching is at a premium, Joe Girardi is one of the best defensive catchers in baseball and Jorge Posada is one of the game’s emerging stars at that position.″

Girardi, who caught only 78 games last season as Posada’s playing time increased, batted .276 with three homers and 31 RBIs last season. Posada, who is expected to get even more playing time next season, batted .268 with 17 homers and 63 RBIs.

Meanwhile, Cashman met Saturday with David Cone and his agent, Steve Fehr, in Tampa. Fla., about signing a new deal with the pitcher. Cone, who went 20-7 with a 3.55 ERA this season, has until Nov. 4 to decide whether he will exercise his $5.5 million player option or become a free agent.

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