The Yankees have done all of their offseason shopping on the trade market, and John Harper of the New York Daily News spoke to GM Brian Cashman, getting insight into each deal. Cashman said Aaron Hicks was identified early as a target due to age, athleticism and abilities versus left-handed pitching. The trade would’ve been difficult were it not for a “monster” year from Gary Sanchez. “We valued [John Ryan] Murphy highly but we knew it would take a lot to get Hicks,” said Cashman. “If Sanchez hadn’t had the year he had, we might not have been as willing to make that trade.” Cashman said that the Cubs initially asked about Brett Gardner when discussing Starlin Castro, but those overtures were rebuffed. He was also reluctant to give up right-hander Adam Warren, and the Cubs requested him for a month before Cashman caved. On the Aroldis Chapman front, Cashman said the Yankees never got close to acquiring him in July but circled back later this winter. The situation was difficult, considering Chapman’s domestic violence allegations, which Cashman said he discussed multiple times with ownership. He refutes the belief that he didn’t part with much to get Chapman, offering praise for Rookie Davis and stating that knee surgery is the only reason Eric Jagielo isn’t ranked among their top 10 prospects. Cashman also discussed the team’s stance on Andrew Miller earlier in the offseason and offered more quotes than we’ll get to in this brief recap. The entire piece is well worth a full read.
Here’s more from the AL East…
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs believes that the Yankees are perhaps the most underrated team in Major League Baseball right now due to the extensive focus on their lack of free-agent expenditures. While New York isn’t likely to repeat its offensive success, Cameron notes that the strikeout, walk and ground-ball rates from the team’s pitching staff yielded an xFIP mark that dramatically outperformed the club’s ERA, and historically speaking, there’s reason to believe that the ERA will catch up with the peripherals next season, to some extent. Starlin Castro represents an upgrade at second base, and the Yankees have the game’s best bullpen, Cameron adds, so even with some offensive regression and questions in the rotation, there’s reason to believe they can match or exceed last season’s 87 wins.
- Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times spoke to Rays manager Kevin Cash as well as third baseman Evan Longoria about the addition of Corey Dickerson to the club’s lineup, and both had positive things to say. Cash spoke about how Dickerson will help to lengthen their lineup, and as Topkin notes, Dickerson is one of several offseason additions that will give Cash a better slate from which to choose when playing matchups. (The Rays have also added Brad Miller, Steve Pearce and Logan Morrison.) Notably, Topkin points out that the addition of Dickerson only further underscores the need to move James Loney and his $8MM salary, which would free first base for Pearce and Morrison and create more DH at-bats for Dickerson.
- The much-expected addition of Yovani Gallardo to the Orioles’ rotation, if completed, would cause a crunch in the bullpen, observes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The Orioles have Zach Britton, Darren O’Day, Brian Matusz, Brad Brach, Mychal Givens and Dylan Bundy as “locks” to break camp in the ’pen, he writes, but adding Gallardo to the starting five would mean that both Vance Worley and T.J. McFarland would be competing for a spot in the bullpen. Without one spot remaining, one of the two would indeed seem to be left on the outside looking in, barring an injury of course.
- Regarding Gallardo, MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli tweets that the ball is in the Orioles’ court at this point, adding that both parties seem to be optimistic about a deal being completed. Gallardo is reportedly said to be discussing a three-year deal, possibly one that includes an opt-out clause, with the Orioles.