Post-splash, Yankees still plan to dip in at Meetings
Cashman's focus remains on 'pen, starter and infield after adding Miller, Didi
SAN DIEGO -- Taking a victory lap of sorts from his Yankee Stadium desk late last week, general manager Brian Cashman acknowledged that it seemed splashy to add setup man Andrew Miller and shortstop Didi Gregorius in the same day, but he also said that the Yankees are nowhere near done with their dealing.
"I really wish I could've got stuff done a lot earlier," Cashman said, continuing, "hopefully we'll have some things that we feel good enough to push through on that will help impact us in a positive way for 2015. Hopefully we'll be able to do some of that in the coming weeks."
A prime opportunity to cover more ground will arrive when the annual Winter Meetings officially open Monday morning in San Diego. The Yankees' executive contingent is due to arrive around lunchtime and will then conduct business from its hotel suite.
With Miller issued a four-year, $36 million deal to strengthen the back end of the bullpen and Gregorius in line to take over for Derek Jeter as the Yankees' starting shortstop, Cashman can turn his attention to the club's other areas of need.
Cashman said on Friday that he sees himself as continuing to be aggressive in the bullpen market, recognizing the number of teams with similar needs and not wanting to miss an opportunity to add a solid reliever.
"We're still in the mode of trying to find every which way trying to improve the club," he said. "That includes reinforcing the 'pen further. We just have to get from where we are today through the winter to determine if our closer is currently on the roster or is still sitting out on the marketplace, whether it's a free agent or a trade."
The Yankees are also in the hunt for at least one starting pitcher. They have been quiet in the pursuit of top free agents Jon Lester and Max Scherzer, seemingly cool to the idea of handing out another nine-figure deal to go alongside those previously issued to CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka.
Instead, Cashman has mentioned a crop of 2014 Yankees -- Brandon McCarthy, Hiroki Kuroda and Chris Capuano -- as having appeal in shoring up a starting five that projects to be paced by Sabathia, Tanaka and Michael Pineda, all of whom have some level of injury-related questions going into '15.
The left side of the infield has been a focus all winter, and the Yanks tentatively plan to have Gregorius bat against right-handed pitching and use Brendan Ryan against southpaws, firming up the shortstop situation. Third base is now the priority, where the Yankees are unsure of what they can expect from Alex Rodriguez and seem to be preparing for the possibility that he is best suited as a full-time designated hitter.
"I don't know what to expect with Alex. I think it's every color on the rainbow," Cashman said. "The extreme hope is that you get the middle-of-the-lineup bat that can play third, whenever you want, if not all the time, and be a productive middle-of-the-lineup hitter.
"But at the same time, the worst-case scenario is he's no longer a third baseman and not a productive bat, and you're looking to find places to play [him], whether it's in a DH role or spot-starting him here or there at third. That's the worst-case scenario. I don't know where on that spectrum he's going to fall."
Martin Prado is on the roster, and has seen most of his big league action at third base, but the Yanks had also shown interest in a return for Chase Headley. That talk seems to have cooled of late, and both the Giants and Marlins are also reported to have pursued Headley.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi is scheduled to be on the ground in San Diego this week and will hold court with reporters on Tuesday afternoon at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Fans are encouraged to take part by filling the comments section at yankees.com this week with their own suggestions for getting the club back to the postseason.
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