"We just have not performed up to expectations," added the GM, whose team is 39-38 and six games out of first place in the American League East. "It's gone on for a long enough period of time where we're looking to make a change now for change sake."
Both Quantrill and Stanton were informed of the moves by Cashman and manager Joe Torre following Wednesday's rainout at Camden Yards. After exchanging hugs with teammates, they both returned to their homes in the New York area on Wednesday night while the team flew to Detroit.
"It was very difficult," said Cashman of his phone conversations with the two men. "These guys are in there fighting like the rest of our guys, part of this 25-man unit trying to get this thing going in the right direction. They cared as much as anybody else in this clubhouse."
Torre said Wednesday night that he had spoken with Cashman about reducing the pitching staff from 12 to 11, though many assumed that it would be youngster Jason Anderson, called up from Triple-A on Wednesday, who would be sent to the Minors.
Instead, it is Stanton and Quantrill who are gone, with Anderson and Scott Proctor remaining on the staff. The Yankees recalled outfielder Bubba Crosby and purchased the contract of left-hander Wayne Franklin from Triple-A Columbus to fill the roster spots.
"We brought Scotty Proctor and Jason Anderson up, and now Wayne Franklin is up, and we're not afraid to try and see what some of these young individuals can do," Cashman said. "I'm not saying that any of these are the solutions. We're trying to catch lightning in a bottle. We're looking to shake some things up, and this is part of the process."
"You hate to see this happen to guys as good as Stanton and Quantrill," Proctor said. "But any time they're going to give you more of a role, an opportunity to contribute, that's what we play for. It's definitely encouraging to know that your big league career doesn't hinge on every outing. It gives you some room to breathe."
The decision to cut the two pitchers loose was one of the decisions made during this week's organizational meetings in Tampa. Stanton and Quantrill are the second and third veteran relievers to be cut by the Yankees this season, as the Bombers released Steve Karsay in early May. The three relievers were set to make about $13 million combined this season, but the Yankees chose to eat the contracts instead.
"It was very difficult. These guys are in there fighting like the rest of our guys, part of this 25-man unit trying to get this thing going in the right direction. They cared as much as anybody else in this clubhouse."
-- GM Brian Cashman
Stanton, 38, was 1-2 with a 7.07 ERA in 28 games, throwing just 14 innings. His last pitch came on Tuesday night, when his first -- and only -- pitch of the night was drilled by Baltimore's Brian Roberts for a walk-off home run. Stanton had pitched well in his role as a lefty specialist, holding hitters to a .176 average (6-for-34). The only other southpaw currently in the bullpen is Buddy Groom, who was signed to a Minor League deal this spring before being called up on April 19.
Quantrill, 36, was 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in 22 games for the Yanks this year, putting him on pace to pitch far fewer games than he did last season, when he set a team record with 86 appearances.
He had lost the trust of Torre, who counted on the veteran as one of the staples of his bullpen in 2004. But an inconsistent second half, paired with the emergence of Tanyon Sturtze in a short relief role, meant less time for Quantrill, who pitched in 80 or more games in every season from 2001-04.
"It's a vicious cycle. To perform at a high level, those guys need the ball consistently. But to get the ball consistently, they have to pitch well," Cashman said. "The manager gives the ball to the guys that he has a lot of confidence in, and that hasn't been happening enough for Mike or Paul to push their way out of their struggles. We didn't think they were going to get the ball enough, so based on the performance to date, we felt we'd try something else that we have down below."
Franklin, 31, posted a 2-2 record with one save and a 4.13 ERA in 38 games with Columbus this season. He spent most of Spring Training in San Francisco's Major League camp, but the Giants released him in mid-March. The Yankees inked him to a Minor League deal, assigning him to Columbus.
Franklin has made 119 Major League appearances in his career (40 starts), posting a 14-15 record with a 5.47 ERA across parts of five seasons with the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants.
Cashman believes that Proctor, Anderson and Franklin can inject some life into the bullpen, giving the Yankees a chance to insert some young talent into their veteran clubhouse.
"Getting them looks at this level is the only way for us to find out who can and who can't help us, whether it's now or next year," Cashman said. "Hopefully, these moves will be for the better. Time will tell. We're trying to see if we can find the right mix to get this thing going."