Yankees' GM Says He Will 'Kick The Tires' In An Attempt To Improve AL East Leaders


NEW YORK (WFAN) — He will keep all of his options open, literally.

That was the message Wednesday from general manager Brian Cashman as the first-place Yankees consider ways to improve themselves prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

In a wide-ranging interview with WFAN’s Evan Roberts, Cashman reiterated reports from earlier this week that he won’t rule anything out, and that includes everything from doing nothing to perhaps trading away key pieces of the team’s future.

But it will all depend on how things shake out as the deadline draws near.

“We’ve always felt if we were healthy we’d be a contender for the division and much more,” Cashman said of his 51-41 club. “Right now we’re healthy, so we’re able to hit our capabilities. I’m not surprised because we have good players. I am happy with this club.”

However, the longtime executive said he will have trade discussions with other GMs across the league, and if something interests him he will act. And that includes possibly moving a top prospect like right-hander Luis Severino, outfielder Aaron Judge or first baseman Greg Bird, who are considered by many to be the core of the Yankees’ future.

“I’m open-minded to everything, anything,” Cashman said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and I do recognize that prospects are (suspect). So I don’t think anybody should be untouchable. I’ve always maintained that some guys are harder to move than others. I won’t say that I’m conservative GM; I’m a very aggressive GM. It would be hard for me to do anything there, but I’m going to be open-minded to it.”

That said, Cashman said he’s extremely mindful of the future and the fact the Yankees are seemingly always an older team.

“But more likely than not, if you look at our roster and how it is evolving, you know going into 2016 and 2017, you see where a lot of names you just mentioned will play, or could very well play if they reach their projections, a very important part in transitioning from current guys on this roster as their contracts start to expire,” Cashman said.

The Yankees’ biggest need at this point appears to be a front-line starting pitcher, and there figures to be several big ones available, what with names like Philadelphia left-hander Cole Hamels, Cincinnati ace Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija of the Chicago White Sox among the top tier believed to be on the market.

Cashman said he will consider adding an ace or a middle-of-the-rotation arm, but isn’t making any promises.

“I’m going to predict I’m going to kick the tires on a lot of things, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t do anything there,” he said.

An alternate approach could be the Bombers adding another power reliever to solidify what is already among the best bullpens in baseball. On Monday, veteran reporter Peter Gammons told WFAN’s Mike Francesa he believes San Diego’s Craig Kimbrel would be a perfect fit. Cashman said trying to shorten games even more is something he will consider.

“If the right circumstance exists, I will certainly make recommendations,” Cashman said, referring to discussions he has with Yankees general partner Hal Steinbrenner. “Why not make any aspect of the club better? But, again, last year at the trade deadline I felt a lot of things worked out the way we hoped. A lot of times it involved patience and our needs and somebody else’s needs matched up on a number of different discussions. But those are rare. So if that happens and goes our way, listen, I will be very aggressive. I’d rather hope for it, but I don’t expect it.”

Cashman reiterated just how difficult it is to make trades and added it would be a lot easier to identify the various markets if Major League Baseball opted to move the trade deadline back a bit.

“We have those conversations a lot and there are a lot of different opinions on it,” he said. “I definitely would be cool with moving it back because it gives people more time to assess who they are, what they are. It’s hard to have teams declare if they are in or out at a certain time, in the summertime still, with a lot more dates to sell. I’m good with that. I’ve been a proponent of pushing it back, but there are a lot of complications to that.”

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