Yanks 'incomplete,' but more moves to come
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Winter Meetings concluded on Thursday with general manager Brian Cashman judging his Yankees as "incomplete," stating his intent to better prepare the roster on the pitching side over the remainder of the offseason.
Cashman said that he has been pleased by the upgrades on the position-player side, beginning a month ago with the acquisition of outfielder Aaron Hicks from the Twins and continuing this week, when the Yankees plucked infielder Starlin Castro from the Cubs.
Cashman joked that while hitting coach Alan Cockrell probably will send a nice Christmas card to Yankee Stadium, Cashman expects that he's in line to receive a sack of coal from pitching coach Larry Rothschild. The most likely way to get off that naughty list is by remaining active in trade talks.
"I think it's a long process," Cashman said. "It was a month between deals. That gives you an example of time frame and a lot of discussions that take place. I've got a lot more time on the clock between now and Opening Day. There's some more things I'd like to do if I can.":: Winter Meetings highlights ::
Cashman said that he remains open minded to all options, recognizing that he weakened the pitching side this week by dealing valuable swingman Adam Warren to the Cubs and shipping left-handed reliever Justin Wilson to the Tigers for a pair of pitching prospects.
The latter move was one that the Yankees hope will replenish their starting pitching depth, but Cashman would still like to plug in a bona fide big leaguer in to help calm the questions attached to the likes of Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia.
Given the Yanks' existing financial commitments and the state of free-agent pitching -- sure, Zack Greinke's deal with the D-backs was a monster, but Cashman noted that even journeyman Rich Hill scored $6 million from the Athletics -- Cashman indicated that a trade remains more likely than a signing.
"I think we're addressing areas of need, without a doubt," Cashman said. "There's areas and steps in the process I would like to take."
The Yankees solidified second base on Tuesday, acquiring Castro from the Cubs in exchange for Warren and a player to be named later, expected to be infielder Brendan Ryan. The Yanks will assume the $38 million remaining on Castro's contract over the next four seasons. The three-time All-Star turns 26 in March.
On Wednesday, the Yankees flipped their seventh-inning man Wilson to the Tigers for right-handed starters Luis Cessa and Chad Green, rated respectively as Detroit's No. 6 and No. 19 prospects by MLB.com. Cashman said that the young hurlers have "big arms" and could be called upon to make their Major League debuts in 2016. Wilson is first-year arbitration-eligible and had been projected to earn $1.6 million by MLB Trade Rumors.
Rule 5 Draft
In the Major League phase of Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, the Reds selected outfielder Jake Cave (second pick) and the Braves selected left-hander Evan Rutckyj (third pick) from the Yankees.
In the Triple-A phase, the Yanks selected right-hander Yefrey Ramirez (Round 1) from the D-backs, right-hander Julian Aybar (Round 2) from the Cubs and catcher Santiago Nessy (Round 3) from the Royals.
Additionally, in the first round of the Triple-A phase, the Rockies selected right-hander Luis Niebla, the A's selected outfielder Danny Oh and the D-backs selected catcher Eduardo De Oleo. In the second round of that phase, the Rays selected right-hander Yoel Espinal.
The Yankees were prepared to go with a platoon of Dustin Ackley and Rob Refsnyder at second base, but they had also been pursuing Castro as far back as July. Cashman renewed negotiations this week and was told that if the Cubs signed Ben Zobrist, they would consider dealing Castro. Now Ackley projects as a big league reserve and Refsnyder could begin the year at Triple-A if he is not traded.
The rotation and the bullpen remain Cashman's primary objectives. Many teams have called about outfielder Brett Gardner and left-handed closer Andrew Miller, though the Yanks haven't yet found a package worth unloading them.
If that doesn't change between now and Opening Day, the Yankees can choose to keep those assets for themselves. They do feel they have coverage to move them; Hicks could step in for Gardner and Dellin Betances would probably serve as a closer on a number of teams.
GM's bottom line
"I'm intending to do more. That's my intention. We'll see what happens, I can't guarantee anything, but my intentions are between now and April that we're going to have some more opportunities to consider." -- Cashman