On this first day of the GM Meetings, Brian Cashman’s most significant conversation might have been a face-to-face meeting with C.J. Wilson’s agent, but Cashman has engaged in trade talks with several teams this winter.
“I’ve got teams expressing interest in varying aspects of our roster from the Major League 25, as well as our stuff in the minor leagues,” Cashman said. “We’re looking at a lot of different potential opportunities, but I don’t think there’s anything to worry about right now. I don’t feel there’s anything close.”
Cashman specifically named four big league players who teams have called about: Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner, Russell Martin and — when asked — Cashman said that, yes, teams have called about A.J. Burnett.
“No one has asked me about Granderson just because he’s a potential MVP candidate,” Cashman said. “I don’t think they want to bother… But those are all tradeable pieces, to varying degrees. Soriano. Robertson. Phil Hughes. I could trade Robbie Cano if I wanted to, I just don’t want to. I don’t want to trade any of these guys, to be honest.”
As he searches for ways to bolster the rotation and add depth to the bench, though, a trade is obviously a consideration. His most valuable trade chip remains prospect catcher Jesus Montero, but that sort of deal remains unlikely.
“I’ve had his name mentioned earlier today in a text message,” Cashman said. “Somebody proposed an idea and said, ‘Hey, if you don’t do this, I’d have to ask about a guy I know you’re going to say no on, and that’s Montero.’ … It’s easy for me to trade him, it’s just hard to part with him. So it makes no sense for me to define what I would or wouldn’t do. It’s in our best interests to keep him, and that’s how I’ve always felt unless a unique circumstance happened. (Cliff) Lee was a unique circumstance and prior to that, and post that, nothing has presented itself that would make me think about it.”
• Wilson’s agent, Bob Garber, seems happy with today’s conversation with Cashman. He told Marc Carig that the Yankees have asked for another meeting in New York to talk about Wilson. Garber said that today’s conversation had much more to do with Wilson than Roy Oswalt.
• Cashman is not optimistic about finding a second left-hander for the bullpen: “Do we need a lefty?” he said. “Obviously it would be a luxury to have a left hander, but with Joba coming back you have Soriano, Robertson and Joba, they all get lefties out, so we have I think one of the best bullpens in the game. Can we get it better with an additional lefty? Yeah, but I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s going to be available to us. I don’t predict a successful conclusion to that as we go through the winter.”
• On the rotation: “I expect Hughes and Nova to be in my rotation without a doubt,” Cashman said. “I expect that, but they have to continue earning that spot. Hughes in the end finished out of our pen and kind of got pushed out by circumstance but he’s better than that. He’s a rotation guy… I expect it to be CC, AJ, Hughes, Nova and the rest of it is going to come from that pack below or it will come from an outside source that we have negotiated with or trade for.”
• Cashman confirmed a report that Hughes is once again working with Athletes Performance to improve his conditioning this offseason. It was Hughes’ idea, not the Yankees, but the team is happy about it. “I think physical conditioning got him out of the gate slow when he showed up to spring training, but I don’t think it had anything to do with his season,” Cashman said. “We got him in shape. Him, Joba, we have a few guys on a yearly basis that we put into fat camp. I think (Hughes) was eight pounds over when he showed up for spring training, but we knocked it out, and he took care of it with the extra work in the spring. I don’t think that had anything to do with his season.”
• Cashman still has not heard whether Eric Chavez wants to play next season. He did say that — given the fact Alex Rodriguez clearly didn’t have his timing back — Chavez might have been a better option at third base in the postseason. “Alex belonged there,” Cashman said. “He belonged playing there. Unfortunately, the results didn’t follow.”
• Cashman once again said he’s interested in bringing any of Chavez, Andruw Jones, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon back to the Yankees, but some of those might price themselves beyond what the Yankees want to spend.
• On keeping players out of Venezuelan winter ball after the Wilson Ramos situation: “I’m not going to worry about something I can’t control,” Cashman said. “It’s home (for some players)… It’s nothing I can control. Unfortunately, Hugo Chavez has created the dynamic down in Venezuela that’s not necessarily good for his people.”
• Cashman said he’s hoping to have time to meet with more agents while he’s in Milwaukee the next day and a half. “I texted a number of them back,” Cashman said. “It’s just trying to find time.”
Associated Press photos