Murti: How Aggressive Will Yankees Be In Pursuit Of Starting Pitching?

Sweeny Murti
June 17, 2019 - 6:01 pm
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When the White Sox put Chris Sale on the trade market in the offseason after the 2016 season, the Yankees inquired.  Of course they did.  Why wouldn’t they be interested when one of the best pitchers in the game becomes available?

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When the White Sox came back with demands for a trade package that included combinations of Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Gleyber Torres and MORE…well, the Yankees walked away.  They were still building, not yet in the championship window.

The surprise run by the 2017 team to the ALCS altered timetables, or at least the public perception of timetables.  The Yankees moved into the championship window, and after the 100-win season last year ended with a loss to Sale and the Red Sox, that window is wide open and ready for the Yankees to break through.

So with that in mind, I asked Brian Cashman Monday how aggressive he was willing to get in search of the starting pitching help for which he freely admits they are shopping for.

“Obviously the asking price on Sale back then was some of the anchors of what we have on this team now,” Cashman said.  “So, we’ll see.  Ultimately it’s my job to collect all the information, make recommendations, provide them to our ownership, and in most cases they’ll see it the same way but in some cases they may choose not to.  Collectively we’ll come up with the best game plan possible with the available players and what’s available to us and see where it takes us.”

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“We’ll be aggressive,” Cashman promised.  “We’re always aggressive.  We just want to be smartly aggressive, that’s all.  We want to be strategic.  We want to push the process the way we always have—which is take our time, be diligent, get as much information as possible and find what the pressure points are and then make a final tough call, whatever it happens to be. 

“Either way it costs us assets, and assets we’ve demonstrated we’re willing to give to some degree, but not in every case.  It just depends on who the players are and who the demands happen to be. 

"I feel very comfortable with the decision making we’ve made so far.  It’s gotten us to a very consistent successful level and we’ll see where these next opportunities that present themselves will take us.  That’s hard to predict.”

Trading for Edwin Encarnacion did not mean the Yankees can’t or won’t try to add pitching.  They picked up a potent bat they had eyed for a long time because of his obvious ability, and the fit was right now in part because of the acquisition cost and in part because of the makeup of this team.

Edwin Encarnacion
Jennifer Buchanan/USA TODAY Images

What is the possible need for another slugger?  Cashman hinted that it’s to make sure all of his sluggers stay fresh and productive.  Remember in 2017 when Aaron Judge tried playing through an obvious shoulder injury because others on the team were down?  Remember in 2018 when Giancarlo Stanton played through a hamstring injury when others were down?

This is what Aaron Boone wants to avoid, and hopes to create a rotation that keeps potent hitters in the lineup and on the bench at all times.

“You look at a few of our guys that have dealt with some injury stuff,” Boone said.  “Some of our guys that have had a little bit of a history of some soft tissue things (calf, hamstring, oblique) that you want to avoid those long stretches, especially some of the stretches that we get in where you play 17 in a row.  You want to try to give your guys a couple days off. 

“We feel like the potential that we could have a few elite performers on the bench every night should allow us to create a rotation to where we are getting guys (rest) once a week.  Because we have the depth to do that and hopefully over the long haul that’s something that plays out with better performances and fresher performances across the board.”

Cashman and Boone have talked about how special they believe this group is, on the field and in the clubhouse.  What they do on the field and in the clubhouse over the next six weeks will go a long way in determining if they can fit through that window.

Follow Sweeny on Twitter at @YankeesWFAN.