Yankees GM Brian Cashman took his turn breaking down the club’s 2016 season and previewing the offseason that lies ahead. Jack Curry of the YES Network was among those on hand, and all links below are to his Twitter feed:
- When asked about the possibility of dealing for a top-line starter such as Chris Sale, Cashman said he’d be “hard-pressed” to part with the haul of young talent needed to pull off such a deal. He indicated that it would be a “dangerous approach” to chase that kind of acquisition, especially given that his club is more than one piece away from pushing for a championship
- Dellin Betances is in line to remain the Yankees’ closer, though Cashman held out the possibiity that the club will “do something different.” Curry notes that his own expectation is the team will chase lefty Aroldis Chapman, who is heading onto the open market after spending part of 2016 in New York (prior to his mid-season trade to the Cubs).
- In other pitching news, intriguing young righty Luis Severino won’t come into camp with a rotation job locked up, Cashman said. Instead, he’ll need to prove himself in camp, with Cashman saying that he hopes Severino “can regain starter ceiling status” after a tough 2016 campaign. Though he contributed only 71 major league frames with a 5.83 ERA last year, Severino is only 22 years of age and threw well at the Triple-A level in 2016.
- Meanwhile, veteran lefty CC Sabathia is headed for a clean-up procedure for his knee. It’s said to be a “routine” operation, which presumably won’t prevent the 36-year-old from a full spring build-up. Sabathia is an important part of the Yankees’ pitching mix after his $25MM option vested. He contributed 179 2/3 innings of 3.91 ERA pitching last year, making for a rather promising showing.
- New York will still presumably make an effort to bolster its rotation from the outside. Indeed, Cashman said the team will be on the lookout for opportunities to add arms. While the free agent picture is rather bleak, there are a few useful starters available as well as plenty of trade possibilities — even if chasing an ace likely isn’t in the cards.
- The Yankees have never asked catcher Brian McCann to waive his no-trade clause, which Cashman says represents an indication of how much the team values the veteran. McCann’s name has come up quite a bit in trade chatter with Gary Sanchez expected to take over primary duties behind the dish. But it’s certainly still plausible to imagine both players holding down important roles. Alternatively, with a lot of demand for catchers around the game, McCann could be moved to address another need.
- Meanwhile, the current plan is for Greg Bird and Tyler Austin to battle for playing time at first base while choosing from among Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, and Rob Refsnyder in right field. It’s likely the club will stay with its internal options in those areas, Cashman said, though he added that there is some uncertainty as to whether that mix will be sufficient.
- While he probably won’t be an option early in the year, hyped prospect Jorge Mateo could play his way into the team’s plans if he can turn things around after a rough 2016 at the High-A level. The 21-year-old, a shortstop by trade, is being exposed to center field in instructional league action this fall in a bid to increase his versatility.
- Cashman also addressed a few broader points. The organization still hopes to get under the luxury tax threshold at some point, which would reset the team’s rising tax figure. Both Cashman and skipper Joe Girardi will go year to year on their contracts rather than receiving any long-term assurances. And all coaches except Larry Rothschild are under contract, with the Yanks set to work on a new deal with their pitching coach.