Yankees general manager Brian Cashman

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Block: Cashman Open To Trade With Any Team But Red Sox

But GM Admits Adding Impact Starter Won't Be Easy

Benjamin Block
June 29, 2018 - 9:11 am
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When it comes to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and this year’s trade deadline, only one thing is certain.

“I don’t think I’ll have any dialogue with the Boston Red Sox," Cashman said with a sly grin Thursday afternoon from Keens Steakhouse in Midtown.

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Cashman was attending the official launch for New York Sports Tours, but the July 31 trade deadline was very much on top of his mind, as it is every year.

“I know our fans and our players and our ownership are counting on us to find ways to get better, and that’s always the pressure, and it’s there. It’s real,” Cashman remarked.

Especially considering he confirmed what many had already been thinking when he told WNBC's Bruce Beck what his primary focus for improving the club is. 

“I think our starting pitching is good enough, but we want to make it better,” Cashman told Beck.

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Although, the longtime architect of the Bronx Bombers appeared to revert to his more usually tightlipped nature Thursday.

“First of all, it’s very difficult to pick up an impact starter no matter what, but the job is to improve the club, so we’ve been looking, no question about it,” Cashman told WFAN.com.

While he noted how encouraging it has been to see rookie starters Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga contribute after losing Jordan Montgomery for the year and Masahiro Tanaka for several weeks, Cashman cautioned against the casualness of the Yankees making a big splash before the trade deadline.

“It’s hard to predict if it’s going to happen, if it can happen, how much it’s going to cost, but usually it’s pricey,” Cashman said about landing a front-end-of-the-rotation pitcher.

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Even their Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, is in the dark as far as which, if any, of its top prospects could be dealt away in a trade to help the big club.

“I’m kind of hearing it the same way you guys are,” RailRiders president and general manager Josh Olerud told WFAN.com. “When he (Cashman) says that they’re looking to find a guy, and there’s rumblings, I’m hearing it the same way you guys are — typically through the media.”

Olerud confirmed that he communicates almost exclusively with Senior Director of Player Development Kevin Reese and Director of Minor League Operations Eric Schmitt, but he lamented that he wishes he were more a part of the trade discussions being had in the Bronx.

However, RailRiders first-year manager Bobby Mitchell said he's content with staying out of those conversations and simply doing his job.

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“We’re just here to make sure they’re ready to go wherever they go, preferably with our big league club,” said Mitchell.

When asked why highly regarded prospects Justice Sheffield and Chance Adams remain in Triple-A and aren’t getting an opportunity to see if they can fill the starting pitching void, Cashman shot back with a bit of a nonanswer.

“We’re not avoiding (Chance) Adams or Sheffield," the GM said. "We just took German and Loaisiga because we felt those guys were better equipped at the time we took them, simple as that.”

In response to Mets assistant GM John Ricco’s comment Wednesday that “everything has to be on the table,” Cashman still plans to treat the Mets as he would any other potential trade suitor. Thus, he balked at expressing any special interest in pursuing pitchers Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard.

“I’ll stay engaged with the Mets along with every other club and see where it takes us,” Cashman said.

As expectations begin to mount in the second half of the season, Cashman clearly isn’t willing to settle for entrusting a World Series run to overachieving, untested prospects.

However, he also has to account for a disappointing Sonny Gray, who has pitched to a 5-5 record and surrendered more hits than any Yankees starter this season, with 82.

Good news is that Tanaka -- who injured both hamstrings running the bases in June 8 against the Mets -- has begun to throw bullpen sessions in Tampa and could return to the rotation as early as next week.

At the end of the day, Cashman said he listens to anything and anyone that might produce a good idea about a potential trade, including interviews he hears with ex-players and former executives, and even sports talk radio. 

“I don’t care where the information comes from," he said. "If it’s a good idea, I’m going to gravitate to it.”

Follow Ben on Twitter at @benjaminblock21