NEW YORK (WFAN) — Believing he might only have enough money to make one more significant move this offseason, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman says he’s been wrestling with whether to acquire a starting pitcher or an infielder.
Appearing on WFAN’s “The Afternoon Drive With Carlin, Bart and Maggie,” Cashman said the Yankees have a payroll number in mind that is below Major League Baseball’s luxury-tax threshold. The Bronx Bombers are not at the number yet, but could approach it with their next move.
That reality is giving Cashman a lot to think about.
He said he’d like to reinforce the rotation so the Yankees’ season isn’t derailed if CC Sabathia’s age catches up with him, Masahiro Tanaka’s worrisome elbow gives out or Luis Severino experiences a hangover after a hefty workload last season.
But if Cashman doesn’t add an infielder, the Yankees could be faced with starting rookies at both second and third bases after trading away Starlin Castro and Chase Headley.
“You recognize that there’s two important positions on the infield that right now you’ll be turning over to kids on a team that you want to plug and play and compete,” said Cashman.
The GM noted that the Red Sox won the American League East last season and he wouldn’t be surprised if the division is a dogfight once again, so “every inning, every game is that important.”
Whatever the Yankees’ self-imposed salary cap is, Cashman said he would like to leave some breathing room to allow for potential deals before the July 31 trade deadline.
Cashman did say he could possibly make multiple moves with some financial maneuvering. Jacoby Ellsbury has been the subject of much trade speculation this winter, but moving him, even if the Yankees pay a chunk of his $21 million salary, is no lock.
“If that doesn’t present itself, I still think he is a viable option to compete for an everyday job, help us like he did last year,” Cashman said of Ellsbury.
Cashman confirmed that he’s been in touch with free agent pitcher Yu Darvish’s agent. But the four-time All-Star, who indicated in a tweet Wednesday that the Yankees are on his short list, figures to command a salary in the ballpark of $25 million annually.
“The higher the cost of the player, if it’s a trade or a free agent signing … I would have to create more financial room so we do not trip up that luxury tax when the dust settles at the end of this year, unless ownership changes their mind on that,” said Cashman, who called Darvish “a tremendous pitcher.”
To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.