Cashman: NY 'upgraded defensively and offensively' with Twins trade

March 14th, 2022

TAMPA, Fla. -- A blockbuster trade that revamped the Yankees’ infield late on Sunday night should pay dividends by tightening the defense, in the view of general manager Brian Cashman, who believes the swap improved his team at third base and shortstop.

Third baseman and shortstop  are set to comprise the left side of the infield following Sunday’s deal, which sent third baseman Gio Urshela and catcher Gary Sánchez to the Twins. New York also acquired catcher Ben Rortvedt.

“We feel by doing this trade, we’ve upgraded defensively and offensively at third, defensively at shortstop,” Cashman said on Monday. “We placed Gleyber [Torres] in a position that he’s best at, second base. The overall feel for us is that it settled a lot of interests on our end with one transaction, with one particular team. It solved a lot of areas of focus that we targeted.”

Cashman said that the Twins deal also allowed the Yankees to guard their prospects, many of whom have received trade interest. For example, the Athletics insisted upon No. 1 prospect Anthony Volpe and more in any potential swap for first baseman Matt Olson, who was dealt to the Braves on Monday.

While Cashman and manager Aaron Boone both spoke highly of Luke Voit’s physical conditioning on Monday, the Yankees remain interested in adding a first baseman. They have been listed among the clubs involved in talks for free agent Freddie Freeman, and a reunion with Anthony Rizzo remains in play.

“I am definitely interested in trying to put the best team on the field for our fans, that can compete and be a legitimate contender for a World Series title,” Cashman said. “That type of effort has to continue through camp and into the [Trade] Deadline. We’re in a better position now, more comfortable with what our interest levels are. There’s more work to be done.”

All rise
Though the Yankees have yet to open negotiations on a potential contract extension for outfielder , Cashman said that those discussions would likely occur before Opening Day.

“Our intent would be, we’d like to have him back if we can,” Cashman said. “Like everything else, just like trades and free agency, you have to be on the same page and common ground. The only way to find out is to have some conversations, first and foremost. Those will happen. … We’re happy he’s a Yankee, and it’d be great if we could make him a Yankee for longer.”

Judge has said that he would like to remain with the Yankees “for life.” He earned $10.175 million last season and is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility.

Target: April 7
Though Boone declined to officially name  as his Opening Day starter, preferring to wait a few more days, it is clearly the Yankees’ plan to have the ace right-hander on the mound April 7 against the Red Sox. Cole said that he was throwing multi-inning bullpen sessions during the lockout, building his pitch count to about 60.

“I’m in a good spot to transition into the schedule that we have laid out for the next four weeks,” Cole said. “I have a target for Opening Day. I don’t have a target for workload. A lot of that kind of depends on a little bit of dumb luck, some of the efficiency in some of these outings that lead up towards that. We’re going to be competitive for multiple innings on Opening Day; not quite sure how many innings at this point.”

Cole acknowledged that he downplayed the effects of his strained left hamstring late last season, agreeing with a comment that agent Scott Boras made in November. Cole left a Sept. 7 start against Toronto in the fourth inning, then pitched to a 6.35 ERA over his final four regular-season outings before taking a loss in the American League Wild Card Game at Boston.

“There was some compensation going on, for sure, trying to push through it,” Cole said. “I think it was the right move to push through it. We were not a guaranteed lock in the playoffs, and we needed to go out and do some more work.”