At Thursday’s Yankees Winter Warmup event at Yankee Stadium, Brian Cashman addressed one of the big question marks sure to surround the 2017 Yankees — the starting rotation.
This winter’s free agent starting pitching market was weak. Of the best available arms were Bartolo Colon, Rich Hill and Ivan Nova, who have all pitched for the Yankees at one point in their career.
Instead, Cashman focused the Yankees’ money on Matt Holliday and Aroldis Chapman, which left acquiring a pitcher via trade as the only option.
“All of my trade opportunities — nobody wanted to do the business I was proposing, and I wasn’t willing to do the business they were proposing,” Cashman said. “The only thing I take solace in is the fact that I am happy we did not do what was on the table, because I think that would have been a detriment to this franchise, by pulling the trigger on certain opportunities that were extremely costly.”
While Cashman did not name any names, I have to imagine he is referring to the offseason-long rumor surrounding the Yankees and White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana.
“If the right opportunity comes our way, we will trade prospects. That’s not the issue. We just can’t trade all our prospects,” is how Cashman finished his statement. By the sound of it, Chicago (or whatever mystery team he is referencing) wanted quite the haul from the Yankees deep farm system.
Cashman also added that he believes they have many candidates to compete for the two open rotation spots. “We got five, at least early candidates, for the other spots with [Adam] Warren, [Bryan] Mitchell, [Luis] Severino, [Chad] Green and [Luis] Cessa.”
Even with the veterans Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia locked into rotation spots, the Yankees still have major questions. Tanaka, who did make 31 starts last season, has had arm issues in the past and could opt-out of his contract following the 2017 season. Pineda was wildly inconsistent for the Yankees last year and CC has injury concerns of his own.
For the time being, however, the Yankees and Cashman are sticking to and believing in their plan.