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BOSTON — The Yankees are ready to start wheeling and dealing, their general manager declared Saturday. Alas, the rest of Major League Baseball has not reciprocated such enthusiasm.
“We certainly have reached out, between myself and [assistant GM] Mike Fishman, to all parties [in] both leagues,” Brian Cashman said, before the Yankees fell to the Red Sox, 4-2, at Fenway Park. “We’ve had a lot of conversations but … I wouldn’t say there’s any momentum. I don’t get a sense that there’s a feeling of action right now from the industry. It doesn’t mean that people can’t make a deal or won’t make a deal, but it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of heavy activity ready to burst.”
The Yankees’ most obvious needs are center field, where Aaron Hicks’ season-ending left wrist injury has compromised them, and the starting rotation, where Corey Kluber (right shoulder), Luis Severino (right elbow and right groin) will be out for a while longer while Deivi Garcia has cratered in the minor leagues. The Marlins’ Starling Marte headlines the list of potentially available center fielders while the list of potentially available starting pitchers could be topped by the Rockies’ Jon Gray.
Typically, Cashman noted, the amateur draft serves as a line of demarcation on the baseball calendar; clubs home in on that and, upon its completion, turn to trades. MLB moved the draft back about a month, however, to align with the All-Star break in July.
“The closer you get to the draft, the less likely people will be engaged during that time frame, because they’re really going to be focused on nailing the draft,” Cashman said. “We’re ready whenever. It doesn’t mean that the market’s ready to move yet either.”
Also to be determined is managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner’s willingness to go beyond the $210 million luxury-tax threshold; the Yankees currently stand just a few million dollars under that figure.
About his team, Cashman said: “The talent’s there, but we’ve got to find a way to tap into it on a more consistent basis because there are too many games where there’s a lot of frustration like, ‘Wow, why did that happen?’ or ‘How did that happen?’ We left too many runners on base, a lot of traffic without results, a missed opportunity, an inopportune error where you just go home unhappy. But at the same time, the flip side is, more recently obviously it’s been a lot better. So we know that we’re more than capable of but trying to more consistently close the gap [on the Red Sox and Rays in the American League East].”
The GM checked in on a few other matters:
— Regarding slumping shortstop Gleyber Torres, Cashman said, “He’s obviously struggling. We recognize that. I can point really quickly to Gleyber’s teammate, Gary Sanchez. There’s some optimism there because Gary was a massive target, understandably so, because of a poor performing 2020 and really difficult start to ’21 but yet he has resuscitated and found his way through to climb back toward the top of the mountain as one of the game’s best at his position. And Gleyber is that type of player, too.”
Cashman added that Torres already this season had improved his defense at short after some early hiccups.
— The Yankees expect Kluber back “I’ll say September because I’d rather be late than early,” Cashman said. “I know he feels good.”
Kluber has only played catch on flat ground since sustaining his injury.
— Severino’s return to the mound, after suffering a groin injury as he had started his rehabilitation clock from his 2020 Tommy John surgery, is uncertain. Cashman described the setback as “just devastating. It pushed him back from anywhere to four to six weeks.”
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