Yesterday morning, I asked my favorite West Wing question: What’s next? A few hours later, in a conference call that lasted nearly an hour, Brian Cashman’s answer was — essentially — anything could be next. Or, maybe nothing.
“We need to continue to explore opportunities to find ways to get better,” Cashman said. “But we have a lot of depth. We have a lot of youth coming. We have a lot of support. We have some flexibility. We will be challenged with, I’m sure, people knocking on our door with various interest levels in assets whether they’re position players, pitching or prospect-driven, major-league ready or major-league performing… (Securing CC Sabathia this early) allows us to survey the landscape in a more conservative way than we would have had to if we didn’t have him here moving forward.”
Cashman made it clear that he doesn’t expect to add a big bat, and he called his bullpen “one of the best in the game.” The rotation, he said, would be a focus, and he’d still like to find a second left-handed reliever, but mostly Cashman seemed open to anything.
“We’ll explore all our opportunities and we’ll explore what the market is on various free agents,” Cashman said. “Like all clubs, obviously our limits are at a higher level than certain other clubs, but we have limits nonetheless. On a general point, I’ll just say that we’re going to continue to pursue and look at our pitching; more than likely the rotation… On the offensive side, I don’t think that’s really a priority. I don’t think that should be a priority. It doesn’t mean that we won’t explore or listen to anything that gets presented, whether it’s an agent or a general manager, but on the outset is that anything we’re realistically looking at or anticipating or needing? No.”
Cashman didn’t really tip his hand one way or the other on Yu Darvish, and he seemed to open the door to any of the team’s veteran free agents — Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, etc. — coming back under the right circumstances. He said his team is healthy, he said picking up Nick Swisher’s option was an easy call, and he seemed excited by the possibility of more young players contributing next season.
So what’s next?
With Sabathia in the mix, Joba Chamberlain recovering from surgery, and Jesus Montero in place to takeover for Jorge Posada, the Yankees have no glaring need. Their rotation could use another arm, their bullpen could use another lefty, and their bench needs some experienced role players, but the Yankees don’t have to attack anything this winter. They can pursue what they want to pursue, and they can have the patience to make the moves that make sense.
“You like to be in a position where you’re cautious in the free agent market, always, because you usually have to pay more than what the players abilities really are,” Cashman said. “It’s just everybody is looking for the same thing and obviously built the players’ talent up to a higher level than at times can be sensible. You try to enter the market that way, but you only can do that if you have a foundation in place where you don’t have to be desperate.”
Associated Press photo