The New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman took to Zoom yesterday to talk about the rotation, the team, and his hopes to win a World Series. After a very quiet offseason, the Yankees came alive in the past two weeks. The first thing they did was complete the negotiations for the long-awaited resigning of second baseman DJ LeMahieu last year’s batting champ. Once they got that done and knew how much money they had to spend, they immediately signed two-time Cy Young Award-winning Corey Kluber.
In more recent moves, they made a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates giving up four low-level prospects for starting pitcher Jameson Taillon. Then they, in a surprising move, managed to trade diminished reliever Adam Ottavino to the Red Sox in basically a salary dump, making room for more improvements in the team. Just two days ago, they signed quality reliever Darren O’Day a feared sidearm pitcher to bolster the bullpen. According to several sources, the New York Yankees still have about $7 million left to spend while remaining under the Steinbrenner mandated luxury tax threshold.
In a Zoom call on Friday, general manager Brian Cashman had a lot to say about pretty much nothing but indicated that he was pretty happy with what the club had now and could win with:
“The roster’s not complete, ever,’’ Cashman said on a Zoom call Friday. “But at the same time, we’re ready to go with what we have.”
After the season ended, the Yankee pitching staff was pretty much dismantled. Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ became free agents when the Yankees did not offer any of them qualifying offers. Tanaka has since signed a contract with the Eagles of the Nippon Pro League in Japan. Paxton is still a free agent, but Happ has signed with the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees also lost a key cog in the bullpen when Tommy Kahnle refused assignment and then signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cashman said of the team as it is now set up:
“I think if you’re evaluating it, I’ve got quality at all positions,’’ Cashman said. “I’ve got depth in the starting rotation with the additions of Taillon and Kluber that’s pushed everybody, in theory, back.”
Cashman also talked about the return of pitchers Domingo German and Luis Severino. Throughout the offseason, both manager Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman have referred to Severino’s return to the team in June or July. For the first time yesterday, Cashman said of his return as being late in the summer. To me, late in the summer would mean not before August. Why the change in timing is unknown, or it could just be an off the cuff remark. When pressed on the matter of the budget limitations, Cashman had this to say:
“I’m not going to speak about budget or limitations or what our lack of limitations might be,’’ Cashman said. “I’m not here to say that I’m under a mandate we have to be under a tax threshold. … But I do know this: the Steinbrenner family has always been supportive. We tried to reconfigure the game plan appropriately and come up with a roster that’s maybe a little bit stronger, maybe a little bit more resilient,’’ Cashman said. “But that doesn’t mean that’s what going to play out.”
There is no question that the front office had made substantial changes/upgrades in last year’s team when they lost in the ALCS to the better Tampa Bay Rays with one-fourth of the payroll. When asked about the delay in the signings, Cashman had this to say:
“I don’t know if it matters the time frame it takes,’’ Cashman said. “I was very public about what our intent was. When a player becomes a free agent, you have no idea how that’s going to play out. If DJ wanted it to be over in two weeks, he should have just said yes to my first offer.” he also offered on if he is now satisfied with the team ““I can’t tell you I’m satisfied because satisfaction only comes with success,’’ Cashman said. “Every move we make is intended to get us closer to accomplishing a world championship title again. We just won’t find out until later if the decisions we make now, which are intended to have that occur, [are] going to play that way.”
Brian Cashman has always been creative in putting teams together that he hoped can win another World Series for a team that has won 27 World Champions and more championships than any sports franchise in the world, And this year is no different. Well, maybe a bit different as he is relying on returning pitchers that, in some cases, have not pitched in a year and a half. But with the spring training just over two weeks away, the Yankees, who still have a bit of money left and many prospects that can be traded, may still work to improve the team.