What has been widely speculated has now been confirmed. In this article, Cashman is largely quoted as having had nothing to do with this deal. Here are some telling quotes:
"This certainly will help us try to win a championship, there's no doubt about that, so that's in the plus column," Cashman said. "But I didn't recommend it, just because I didn't think it was an efficient way to allocate the remaining resources we have. We had a lot of debate about that."
"He's a tremendous player in what he does," Cashman said. "But for me, I'm pretty transparent in how I've evolved in building your team. Early on, we've obviously committed a lot of money to relievers and had some difficulties with that. And you've seen the success we've had over the last number of years."
In response to the structure of the contract with the moronic opt-out clauses:
"I couldn't speak to that," Cashman said. "I think that was a byproduct of the discussion Scott Boras was having with the club. I couldn't speak to why the structure of the deal is the way it is. I did not negotiate this. I was involved, but I didn't negotiate it directly with Scott."
This article specifically states that it was Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine who negotiated this contract. I think it goes without saying that if you're ever going car shopping, don't bring either of these guys with you to negotiate the deal. You WILL pay $40,000 for that Kia Rio.
I think Hal and Randy have lost touch. Randy was quoted as saying: "[Soriano] makes the Yankees a lot better". I guess I'm still trying to figure out how having a lock down 8th inning pitcher every other day or so makes the Yankees a lot better. But maybe I'll just have to wait and see.
So Cashman is now absolved. Ownership is to blame for this deal, and since they seem to lack any sense of history, you can expect them to intervene and make the same mistake in the future.