The month of July is very busy for general managers around Major League Baseball. As the trade deadline looms near, teams with playoff aspirations are constantly looking for ways to improve their roster for the stretch run.
Just two days ago, the Yankees pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Chicago White Sox. The Bronx Bombers acquired relief pitchers Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson along with infielder Todd Frazier. In return, the Bronx Bombers traded reliever Tyler Clippard and three prospects. The most notable prospect involved in the trade was Blake Rutherford, the club’s 2016 first round draft pick.
With the trade, the Yankees added much needed bullpen depth and acquired a right-handed hitting power bat that could greatly impact their lineup. The trade improved the roster, but Cashman believes there is more work to be done.
On Thursday afternoon, Cashman joined WFAN’s Mike Francesa to discuss the organization’s hope of acquiring a starting pitcher prior to the July 31 trade deadline. The club wants to add another arm to the rotation, but will not sell away the future for a short-term fix:
“The road we’re traveling is we’re trying to improve the present as well as the future, simultaneously. That’s the effort. If we’re doing any short-term on a rental, we don’t want it to cost much. But the best approach for us would be if we can run into anything that has controllable years attached to it and, obviously, as much impact as possible.”
It’s been clear that the Yankees are set on keeping their top prospects. The club has high expectations for players such as Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier, and want to keep them in pinstripes. Although they are looking to compete in 2017, the organization also doesn’t want to trade away their future in the process.
As Cashman explores possible trades for starting pitching, the No. 5 spot in the rotation is considered an “area of worry.” He believes that Luis Cessa and Bryan Mitchell can handle the role, but would elect to add depth if the price is right.
Extra starting pitching would benefit the big league roster. Adding an extra starter or two gives manager Joe Girardi more options to work with and provides insurance in case of an injury.
“If my conversations force me to go that route and stay with what we’ve got, so be it, and, yeah, I’ll be forced to be comfortable with it. But I think, if I’m doing my job to the best of my abilities on behalf of this ownership and fan base, then I’ve got to approach this as I’m not comfortable enough. So that’s why I stay engaged.
There’s definitely choices (available for trades). Some are bad choices. Some are really good choices, and clearly the rub is the really good choices are really difficult conversations because they’re going to involve parting with some serious assets.”
Francesa also asked if there were any possible minor league pitchers in the organization that could help fill the void. Cashman mentioned Chance Adams as a possibility, but said that it’s more likely to see the 22-year-old as a reliever this season. With more development needed, Cashman doesn’t want the organization to rush the right-hander into the rotation until he’s ready.
As the trade deadline is under two weeks away, expect Brian Cashman and the Yankees to be very active. With hopes of competing this season, expect the club to make some moves that impact the roster now, but don’t force them to trade away the future.