Yankees general manager Brian Cashman addressed a variety of topics this evening at the GM Meetings. Chief among them was the starting pitching market. Cashman confirmed to reporters (including Andy Martino of SNY) that the Yankees will engage with Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg this offseason. Cashman added, though, that the club has a significant amount of money already on the books (via Erik Boland of Newsday) and will also explore the trade and lower-tier free agent markets (reports James Wagner of the New York Times).
Clearly, Cashman and his front office are open to whatever opportunities may present themselves and aren’t locked into any specific means of improving the roster. Nevertheless, it’s still notable that the Yankees will engage with the market’s top arms. Cole, in particular, will come at a hefty cost. MLBTR forecasted an eight-year, $256MM deal for Cole, who stands a good chance of securing the offseason’s largest contract. Unsurprisingly, Cole’s camp figures to come out shooting even higher, with ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter) estimating agent Scott Boras’ initial ask will exceed $300MM. While Cole doesn’t ultimately figure to command a price quite that high, bringing him in will no doubt require a franchise-altering outlay.
Signing Cole would certainly require that the Yankees exceed the $208MM luxury tax threshold, as they did in 2019. Cashman added that ownership hasn’t mandated the payroll remain south of the luxury tax (via Martino), although he stopped short of definitively declaring they would pay the penalties for the second consecutive year. The club’s luxury tax estimate already sits at almost $210MM, per Cot’s Contracts, before accounting for any offseason expenditures.
Cashman also addressed the status of three of New York’s own free agents. He confirmed reports the club has engaged with representatives for Brett Gardner (via Wagner), and added that New York remains in touch with reps for Didi Gregorius and Dellin Betances. MLBTR forecasted a Gardner reunion while projecting Gregorius and Betances to wind up elsewhere, although it’s plausible they bring one or both of the latter back.
Clearly, the situation remains in flux at these early stages of the offseason. Cashman didn’t commit to pursuing any specific players and expressed a willingness to evaluate all potential areas of player acquisition, as one would expect. The Bombers will cast a wide net as they look to fortify their roster in hopes of defending their AL East crown, including at least monitoring the very top of the market.