NEW YORK -- Brian Cashman has a reputation as a daredevil among baseball's general managers, having spent some of his free time over the past few years dangling off the sides of high-rise office towers, jumping twice out of a military aircraft and walking the edge of Toronto's CN Tower,
NEW YORK -- Brian Cashman has a reputation as a daredevil among baseball's general managers, having spent some of his free time over the past few years dangling off the sides of high-rise office towers, jumping twice out of a military aircraft and walking the edge of Toronto's CN Tower, 116 stories above street level.
And even he shudders to think of the public outcry if the Yankees considered trading Gleyber Torres.
"No! Come on now," Cashman said on Friday, an eyebrow raised in incredulity. "I've got to walk around this city."
Torres may have been declared off-limits, but with managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner stating this week that the Yankees should have payroll flexibility to add a starting pitcher and still remain under the luxury tax threshold, Cashman's search for the right fit is underway.
Cashman estimated that he has touched base with 20 of the other 29 clubs since the conclusion of the MLB Draft, and is waiting to hear back from some counterparts so that they can exchange interest levels on certain players. Pitching is the priority, especially in the wake of injuries to Masahiro Tanaka and Jordan Montgomery.
"Hopefully we can get Tanaka back in a timely manner, and it would be nice to improve things at the same time," Cashman said. "This team deserves the right to get reinforced here, if we can possibly find a way. But we really like the team we've got and we'd love to make it better if it's possible."
The Yankees have been linked to various targets in recent weeks, including Michael Fulmer of the Tigers, Cole Hamels of the Rangers, J.A. Happ of the Blue Jays and Tyson Ross of the Padres, as well as some longer shots like Madison Bumgarner of the Giants and the Mets' Jacob deGrom.
When swapping proposals with rival clubs, Cashman has the benefit of a strong farm system that has several players clawing to return to the big league level, including infielder Brandon Drury and outfielder Clint Frazier, who are currently stashed at Triple-A.
"We've got a few of them now," Cashman said. "There's no doubt, Clint Frazier down there would be crushing it up here, whether it be for us or somewhere else. Brandon Drury doesn't belong there. We just sent a guy down yesterday that wasn't easy after the game in Christopher Austin.
"You tell them to try not to let this affect how you go about your business because that will just make things worse while you go through it. See what happens. Force your way back up here, wait for the injury to hit. We tell people also at the same time, they're playing for 29 other clubs. It works out one way or the other."
To add right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga to the active roster, the Yankees optioned Austin to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Austin had been selected to stay on the roster under a similar roster crunch last month, with utility man Ronald Torreyes going to the Minors instead.
"I think with Toe, he just gives us more flexibility," manager Aaron Boone said. "We were seeing Tyler's playing time kind of diminish, and with [Neil Walker] we kind of have that protection; if we want to give [Greg] Bird a day off, we've got Walk there. So especially when we have 13 pitchers, to have three first basemen, it's probably not the best perfect roster construction.
"We just felt like at that time, Tyler had really earned the right to be on this team with the production he had given us the first six, eight weeks. But we were finding the at-bats weren't there. I think it's best for us and for him to go down there and hopefully get back into regular playing time, regular at-bats to eventually become an option for us again."
The Yankees traded right-hander Chad Whitmer to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday in exchange for international signing bonus pool money.
A 10th-round Draft pick in 2017 from Southern Illinois, the 23-year-old Whitmer was 3-0 with a 3.79 ERA in 14 Gulf Coast League appearances last season, striking out 22 against two walks in 19 innings.
This date in Yankees history
June 15, 1923: A 19-year-old Lou Gehrig made his Major League debut, entering a 10-0 victory over the Browns as a defensive replacement at first base.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.