MINNEAPOLIS -- The Yankees are better equipped to make a push for the postseason as a result of Tuesday's trade with the White Sox, general manager Brian Cashman said, but there is still hope that more upgrades can be made in advance of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline."I'm going
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Yankees are better equipped to make a push for the postseason as a result of Tuesday's trade with the White Sox, general manager Brian Cashman said, but there is still hope that more upgrades can be made in advance of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"I'm going to stay engaged," Cashman said one day after a seven-player blockbuster to acquire Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle and Player Page for David Robertson. "I still think we want to be careful buyers as we walk this line of trying to maximize the present as well as protect the future. We want to be bright on both ends."
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While corner-infield production and the starting rotation seemed to be the Yankees' largest concerns prior to their recent slide -- even before Michael Pineda's season-ending injury -- Cashman said that the bullpen recently announced itself as an area worthy of attention.
"When the Carsten Sabathia injury hit [on June 13], it was almost like a domino effect where the 'pen got gassed, and then some injuries where [Adam] Warren went on the DL," Cashman said. "[Relievers] got out of their typical roles, and then there were some surprising adverse performances during the same time. We've just seemed to have gotten back on track. It's almost like we've been playing catch-up since."
Cashman said that he has entertained "a lot of interesting dialogue" over the past few weeks. The Yanks are known to have spoken with the Athletics about Sonny Gray, though they are balking at giving up elite prospects such as Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield and Miguel Andujar, as they did while pursuing Jose Quintana from the White Sox.
Quintana was packaged to the Cubs for four prospects last Thursday, but those talks increased White Sox GM Rick Hahn's familiarity with the Yankees' system. That led to negotiations where the White Sox centered their focus on Blake Rutherford, an outfielder who is ranked as the No. 30 prospect in all of baseball by MLBPipeline.com.
"The last 48 hours, we focused on getting real serious about the relief pitching side of this thing, as well as Todd Frazier, whom we've constantly had dialogue with [the White Sox] on," Cashman said. "I made the proposal that if they bundled all three, I'd go see if ownership would approach working through a deal, and obviously [the White Sox] would get Blake Rutherford as the centerpiece."
Prior to completing the White Sox trade, the Yankees also touched base with the A's about All-Star first baseman Yonder Alonso and with the Mets about first baseman Lucas Duda and reliever Addison Reed, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.
Cashman said that he appreciated managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner's willingness to add payroll in Tuesday's deal. Robertson is under contract through next season, when he will earn $13 million. Frazier is earning $12 million this season and is eligible for free agency after 2017, while Kahnle is entering his arbitration-eligible years.
"He could have easily have said no," Cashman said of Steinbrenner. "I think he also recognized that this would be a benefit to our fan base in the present, and it protects the future. … Hopefully we're in a better position today than we were yesterday. We think we are."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.