Yankees general manager Brian Cashman addressed some of the team’s important questions in an interview with Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network on Thursday (video link). Here are some of the highlights…
- Cashman indicated the Yankees are intent on bringing back second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who’s among baseball’s elite free agents, but he isn’t sure if an agreement will come together. Although LeMahieu also has interest in returning to the team, Cashman doesn’t believe a deal is any closer to materializing than it was previously.
- The Yankees aren’t yet focused on finding a contingency plan at second should they lose LeMahieu, who starred in their uniform from 2019-20 and is currently on the heels of an American League batting title-winning season in which he finished near the top of the AL MVP voting. Shortstop Gleyber Torres might be a fit for the keystone, though, as Cashman admitted, “I think he’s a better second baseman than shortstop.” While Cashman does believe Torres could continue at short, it’s unclear how the Yankees would handle the position should they place him back at second, where he played in the past. Ex-Yankee Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons, Marcus Semien and Ha-Seong Kim are the premier free-agent options at short, while the Indians’ Francisco Lindor and the Rockies’ Trevor Story are a couple of potential trade tarrgets.
- Catcher Gary Sanchez was mentioned as a possible non-tender candidate before last week’s deadline, but the Yankees instead kept him for a projected $5.1MM to $6.4MM arbitration salary. Cashman told Marakovits that the Yankees still believe in the 28-year-old, saying, “There’s certainly an anticipation and an expectation of a bounce-back for Gary Sanchez.” The GM noted that Sanchez was an All-Star in 2019 who’s perennially a 30-home run type, adding that he paced all major league catchers in exit velocity. “No one hit the ball harder at that position than he did,” said Cashman, who’s not ready to give up on Sanchez despite a season in which he slashed .147/.253/.365 in 178 plate appearances. To Sanchez’s credit, the two-time 30-home run hitter did continue to show off above-average power (10 HRs, .218 ISO). The Yankees have, however, shown interest in free agents James McCann and Yadier Molina this offseason; so, despite Cashman’s comments, they might not be fully committed to Sanchez going into 2021.