LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Yankees have been flying high at the Winter Meetings all week as they enjoy the afterglow of the Giancarlo Stanton trade, and general manager Brian Cashman believes he could soon reach the final-approach stage with at least one of the starting pitchers they covet."I
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Yankees have been flying high at the Winter Meetings all week as they enjoy the afterglow of the Giancarlo Stanton trade, and general manager Brian Cashman believes he could soon reach the final-approach stage with at least one of the starting pitchers they covet.
"I think we're just purely assessing all opportunities and trying to see if we can land the plane," Cashman said on Wednesday. "Right now we're circling the airport. We're waiting for clearance on the runway. We've got enough gas in that tank that we can keep circling for a while."
With vacancies now at second and third bases, Yankees fans are understandably intrigued by the Orioles' sudden willingness to shop third baseman Manny Machado. Baltimore GM Dan Duquette said he has spoken to all interested clubs to gauge interest, though there are doubts the Orioles would actually move the three-time All-Star within the American League East.
"We've made trades with the Yankees. We've made trades with the Red Sox," said Duquette, who would be seeking Major League-ready starting pitching in a potential Machado trade. "It's in the club's interest to see what the market is and canvas the entire market."
Machado, 25, earned $11.5 million in 2017 and will be a free agent after the season. MLBTradeRumors.com projects the arbitration-eligible Machado to receive $17.3 million in 2018, which would complicate the Yankees' plans to keep payroll below $197 million and reset their luxury tax rate while adding a starting pitcher.
The Yankees have maintained contact with free agent left-hander Carsten Sabathia, who has expressed his desire to return to New York but has also drawn interest from the Angels and Blue Jays. Cashman said that he has had several conversations with Sabathia's agent, Kyle Thousand.
"He's been a great performer for us and there very well may be a chance for us to continue working together," Cashman said of the 37-year-old Sabathia, who was 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 27 starts this year. "I'm sure he's got a lot of people knocking on his door. We're doing what they're doing, which is making sure we assess the entire marketplace."
Cashman is also known to have spoken with the D-backs regarding left-hander Patrick Corbin and infielder Brandon Drury, and the Yankees are among several clubs to have touched base with Todd Frazier, now a free agent.
Though he referred to the Yankees' crop of young infielders like Miguel Andujar, Thairo Estrada and Gleyber Torres as a "fallback," Cashman said that Torres probably would have made his big league debut last season if he had been healthy.
"The way his trajectory was going, I think you would have seen him in the big leagues at some point in the end," Cashman said. "You may very well have seen him as the third baseman or the DH. It may have prevented us from trading for Todd Frazier, who knows? We never did find out."
In a broader sense, Cashman said teams appear to be focused on the trade market, while his conversations with free agents have yielded a sense of a slow-moving market. That brings the veteran GM comfort, especially after his resources were tied up during the managerial interview process and preparations for a pursuit of Japanese standout Shohei Ohtani.
"I've heard things like, 'We're still in the first quarter,' those types of terminologies," Cashman said. "That's good, because when you're looking for a manager and coaches, it means I haven't missed out on opportunities. … I've cleared more salary space to allow us the ability to engage an even broader audience, but it's still hard to find a match."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.