Opinion

With or without Gerrit Cole, Yankees are maintaining a cautious trade approach

 

If the Yankees’ front office still has the slightest itch to push their chips forward in a trade for Pittsburgh Pirates’ starter Gerrit Cole this winter, the ship hasn’t sailed just yet.

Despite Wednesday afternoon’s reports which stated that the 27-year-old right-hander had been dealt to the defending champion Houston Astros, those rumors turned out to be false. At the moment, Cole is still available for any interested suitors.

But even if this blockbuster deal between Pittsburgh and Houston had gone through — or even if it still goes through within the coming days or weeks — perhaps the Yankees have revealed their overarching approach in negotiations. Sure, Cashman wants to further enhance the roster and assemble a championship caliber club (with the addition of reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton, he’s done so), but in his mind, there’s no need to overspend. No need to budge. No need to push all of those chips forward.

This doesn’t mean that the Yankees are necessarily out on a player like Cole. It means that Cashman and his staff are going to weigh their options, and determine whether the juice is worth the squeeze. Last month, several reports noted that the Pirates had expressed interest in Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. If that remains the asking price for Cole, then New York probably wouldn’t bother to listen. But a realistic package for Cole, according to reports, may include farmhands like Clint Frazier, Chance Adams, and Miguel Andujar — all of which are touted and highly-ranked on prospect boards.

Would parting ways with two of those three names for Cole be considered overspending? Well, that’s left up for debate. Either way, Cashman appears to be in no rush to make a move — especially if it involves Frazier.

“I like to trade from an area of depth. I think anybody would,” Cashman said Tuesday in an interview with SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. “The outfield happens to be an area of depth right now. Clearly, Clint Frazier is a very valuable, attractive asset from our perspective, but [for] other organizations as well. Whatever we do, we may do nothing and keep them all and let them compete here. We may make a trade at some point.

“If we do make a trade, we’re going to be very careful making that decision. The control years of these players, even if they’re kind of blocked here today as Clint Frazier happens to be, it doesn’t mean they’ll be blocked as we move forward. A lot of things can happen, whether it’s injuries or another trade that can free something up elsewhere.”

This isn’t new information. Take a look at the Yankees’ recent trades. Cashman is not one to overreact or press. If his plan or terms can’t be put into action, nothing else will be. It’s no secret that the Yankees have a surplus of outfielders, and Cashman hasn’t shied away from mentioning how much he (and other teams) are attracted to Frazier’s makeup. But in moving players like this, the price always has to be right.

The way New York is currently set up, Cashman holds all the leverage. There’s no doubt that Cole would be a nice addition, but the Yankees should feel comfortable with the starting rotation they already have established. Come July, maybe the Yankees will pursue more pitching. That’s a possibility. But in the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with waiting out the storm. 

Overall, this offseason’s hot stove has been set at an awfully low temperature. But if the Yankees want to make another big splash, figure that Cashman will do his due diligence and take the time to learn if the move benefits his side more than the other. After all, he’s waited for deals to fall into his lap before.

 

If you want to connect with Tom Hanslin, email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @tomhanslin.

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