CARLSBAD, California – Two years ago, the Yankees shouted bad luck and Chris Sale – a young, elitist pitcher who had a team-friendly deal with the Chicago White Sox – was on the market.
But Brian Cashman, general manager of Yankees, had rejected the purchase price despite the many promising but unproven prospects, and then stated that the Yankees were not yet in back-up the truck mode.
"Thank goodness I did not do that because you would miss some serious components of our major league club right now," Cashman said Tuesday, saying he had to swap pitcher Luis Severino and another All-Star caliber Player – Gary Sanchez? Aaron Richter – in a package for sale.
He continued, "We would not have gone anywhere if I had done something like that with the White Sox back then."
Now, however, all the ingredients for the Yankees are there to secure their armored wagons with brochures or cash to satisfy the same need for pitching. The Yankees were conservative enough to duck below the luxury threshold last season and free them from the harsh penalties. They reached a series in the American League before they saw the Boston Red Sox celebrate another World Series title.
However, as his team's winter plans begin to develop, Cashman seems to cling to Yankee's newly discovered trait: restraint. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado – the jewels of this free-agent class – seem to be landing elsewhere, apart from the abrupt drop in prices that Giancarlo Stanton sent into Cashman's lap last December.
The first steps of the Yankees in this off-season are not much more than a shrug in Boston, Houston or Cleveland: they brought with them the CC Sabathia pitcher, who in principle agreed to a $ 8 million one-year contract on Tuesday and outfielder Brett Gardner, the last week agreed to a contract that will earn him $ 9.5 million. (Sabathia's agreement, first reported by the New York Post, was confirmed by two people who were familiar with the deal and were not eligible to speak because they were not yet finalized.)
Sabathia is 38, Gardner is 35 and both are clubhouse leaders. However, there is a reason why both have accepted modest pay cuts: Gardner collapsed so much that the Yankees were forced to buy Andrew McCutchen to replace him at the end of August, and Sabathia failed more than three for the second year in a row Years and a third innings in a playoff loss that eliminated the Yankees.
Next on Cashman's to-do list are two more free-agent pitchers with left-handed J.A. Happ and Patrick Corbin on the list. Then, look for a shortstop to replace Didi Gregorius, who will miss most of the season after Tommy John's operation, or a second baseman to join Gleyber Torres if the Yankees move him to shortstop. And finally, the consolidation that David Robertson and Zach Britton lost, at least for now, through free decision-making.
Cashman said he has a budget he refused to disclose. However, he allowed the Yankees to exceed the luxury tax threshold, which will rise from $ 197 million to $ 206 million next season. "Is it a clear line in the sand?" Cashman said. "I would not say that this is the case. I would say that it is a preference. "
In his search for reinforcements, Cashman might be tempted to look around the city.
Of course, the Mets have two of the best starting pitchers in the baseball range of Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard and a new general manager in Brodie Van Wagenen.
But Cashman, who was frustrated when he failed to acquire outfielder Jay Bruce or infielder Neil Walker when the Mets unloaded veterans in 2017, said he understands that there would be a different dynamic trade with certain teams. He doubts, for example, that Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner would complete the deal with one of his coveted helpers, Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller, in 2016 to Boston.
"I'm open to doing anything with anyone," Cashman said. "I'm not saying that my property would feel the same way."
He added, "I'll check with Brodie here, what they're doing, if it fits. I doubt that despite the history and experiences I have experienced in the past, you will compare us. If I have a new G.M. I have not been here for 22 years and I know the terrain. Maybe I'm optimistic. But I would not be optimistic. "
There are many other teams looking for bad luck, including Astros, who announced Tuesday that Lance McCullers Jr. will miss next season's Tommy John operation.
But there are also many attractions. Cleveland is ready to hear offers for two of its first pitchers, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. And Seattle, who won 89 games last year but failed to play in the 17th consecutive playoff, can hand out James Paxton – and all the other players in the table.
"We do not want to be locked up in eternal mediocrity," said Seattle General Manager Jerry Dipoto.
This is not a problem for Cashman, who wants to follow the Red Sox the same way he turned the Yankees into a championship candidate – with noisy, incremental moves – and not a shot.