Cashman talks Deadline, Judge's timetable

August 31st, 2020

NEW YORK -- As Brian Cashman chases potential pitching upgrades prior to the Aug. 31 Trade Deadline, the calls and text messages still come and go from the Yankees general manager’s cell phones, though he believes that all 30 clubs are entering a “risky marketplace” that will be unlike any other.

The usual considerations of surrendering prospects or adding salary still exist, but Cashman said that his discussions with the baseball operations staff have also focused on the risk of being bounced early from an expanded postseason and the challenges inherent to operating in a COVID-19 environment.

“All of those things are pressure points,” Cashman said. “There’s so many factors of risk-reward that you have to factor in. I hope to get to those types of conversations so we can make a tough decision, but I haven’t gotten there yet because I haven’t matched up with anybody that I can go to Hal [Steinbrenner] with.”

With injuries removing left-hander James Paxton and right-hander Luis Severino from the rotation that the Yankees anticipated bringing into the season, Cashman would love to add a solid starter who could supplement right-handers Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka in a postseason series.

Media reports have connected the Yankees to Giants right-hander Kevin Gausman and Rangers right-hander Lance Lynn, who pitched for the Yanks briefly in 2018. Cashman said that he sees the market as mixed.

“Some clubs are just not interested in participating [in trades],” Cashman said. “They’re looking at the risk-reward factor and say, ‘This is a no-go. We’re not going to really be all that active.’ Other teams I think are going to be active and have an interest level in doing certain things for various reasons. We’re playing along with all parties involved in gathering the information and trying to connect.”

An additional unknown is the chance that a player could be traded, then elect not to play the rest of the season due to COVID-19 concerns.

“I think anybody executing trades would be smart to get clarity in advance that the player wouldn’t opt out,” Cashman said. “No one would want to pay the freight under those types of circumstances.”

If the Yankees do not strike a deal, Cashman said that right-handers Deivi García and Clarke Schmidt remain on the short list to help at the Major League level; García will make his debut Sunday, when the Yankees and Mets are scheduled to play another doubleheader.

All Rise
The Yankees may not have Aaron Judge in the lineup again until the final week of the regular season. Judge sustained a re-injury to the soleus muscle of his right calf on Wednesday at Atlanta and has been told to expect his rehab to take twice as long as the first stint on the injured list, which cost Judge approximately two weeks.

“Usually when you have a failed rehab, you do double the time to say, ‘OK, this did not work under these circumstances,’” Cashman said. “We had three different doctors get in play here -- our doctor [Christopher Ahmad] and then two at the request of the player just to get a better feel for the time frame. The time frame was matched by all doctors involved in the process.”

What’s Kraken
The Yankees are standing by Gary Sánchez as their starting catcher, despite his offensive woes thus far this season. Cashman said that he believes a lack of consistent at-bats due to the stop-start nature of the season has hindered Sánchez, who entered play on Saturday batting .130.

“We are going with Gary Sánchez,” Cashman said. “He is by far our best option on both sides of the ball. We look forward to him finding his groove sooner than later, because we need it. I still have confidence in the player. This is a unique season and you’re seeing struggles from successful players around the game.”

Down on the farm
Cashman said that the Yankees are seeking approval to organize some variation of instructional league at their Minor League complex in Tampa, Fla., which would permit prospects to catch up on the development time lost this season.

“We’re on a week-to-week basis,” Cashman said. “Every day is a new day in this world, given how we’re having to operate through a pandemic.”