Cashman: Boston's 'like the Golden State Warriors'

Yankees GM compares rival to NBA juggernaut, still expects NY to be competitive

December 7th, 2016

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Adding to an already formidable roster has turned the Red Sox into baseball's version of the Golden State Warriors, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman quipped shortly after the seismic trade that rattled the Winter Meetings on Tuesday afternoon.

"That's a big one. That's a blockbuster," Cashman said. "It was a 'Wow.' Obviously they gave up a lot and they got a lot. Boston's like the Golden State Warriors now in baseball; they've got their [Kevin] Durant, their [Draymond] Green, [Klay] Thompson and [Stephen] Curry. It's a big one."

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Golden State won the 2015 NBA championship, blew a 3-1 Finals lead to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers this past year and then signed Durant. Now a similar level of pressure will shift to the Red Sox as they attempt to capitalize on a deal that shipped prospects , Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz to the White Sox in exchange for the dominant 27-year-old left-hander.

Asked about Cashman's reference, Red Sox manager John Farrell said, "You can put all the big names you want on a roster, but it's going to be important for our guys to buy into us as a team."

Cashman said that while he has spoken to the White Sox about a number of players, the Yankees never pursued Sale. Cashman has repeatedly expressed his belief that the Yankees have not reached a position where it would be advisable to surrender a package of prospects for an ace like Sale.

"The Sale price tag, you were going to have to ring a bell," Cashman said. "We're not prepared to back the truck up and get the one player left that you might need. That's why I publicly talked about it and I'll just restate that position now. We're going in the right direction and building toward something, but it will take a little time."

Sale has dominated the Yankees, posting a 4-1 record and 1.17 ERA in 10 career games (seven starts). Over 53 2/3 innings, Sale has permitted just 13 runs (seven earned) and 32 hits, walking 12 and striking out 61.

His presence in the American League East represents yet another challenge for the Yankees, who managed a .709 OPS against left-handed pitching in 2016, lower than every American League club except the Athletics (.694) and the Orioles (.692).

"We were going to face Chris Sale a number of times with the White Sox. Now we're going to face him a number more times because he's in our division," Cashman said. "It's not like we were not going to see him."

In years gone by, a blockbuster addition by Boston might have prompted the Yankees to respond with a splash of their own, but Cashman said that he sees the Red Sox and Yankees as being on different time frames at the moment.

He likened the decision not to pursue Sale to a similar circumstance in the winter of 2007-08, when the Yankees rejected an opportunity to trade for left-hander Johan Santana, preferring to hold onto a package of prospects that centered on right-hander and outfielder .

"It was going to take four of our high-end players to get Johan Santana from Minnesota," Cashman recalled. "I didn't think at the time and place that our foundation was set up in such a way that that was the right move to make at that time. I thought we needed to do a little bit more to get to the point where you considered a deal like that. We stood down.

"That's the same way I feel right now about Sale. It doesn't mean we're not going to be competitive, doesn't mean we're not going to compete for the postseason. But assessing a backing the truck up and unloading the best of what you've got, when the dust settles, you still would have other areas of need to fill potentially in the short or longer term. You'd be depleted by doing that."