STAMFORD, Conn. — Brian Cashman stood on the rooftop of the Landmark Building, rising 22 stories tall in the heart of downtown, with an 8 a.m. December chill filling the air up there. Then the Yankees’ general manager went over the side.
He began the descent, a red and white Santa hat on his head and a harness in place. This was rappelling practice Friday. Cashman will play his annual role of the rappelling elf Sunday during Stamford’s “Heights and Lights” holiday event. So he was lowering himself alongside Lindsay Berra (Yogi’s granddaughter/Mrs. Santa) and Brian VanOrsdel (Santa).
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“It’s fun,” Cashman said. “It’s a great event for family . . . It’s awesome to be part of the rappel team.”
On Monday, Cashman will parachute into the winter meetings in Nashville, Tennessee — but only figuratively, given that he retired from skydiving after injuring himself during a landing in 2013. He said “the odds are more likely for us to either make a trade or not do anything” than go the free-agent route, especially a big-ticket free agent.
Asked if the Yankees are a piece away, Cashman said, “I don’t have the money to be a piece away that way. Our money has been directed and committed already.”
Earlier this week, the Red Sox committed $217 million over seven years for David Price, a move Cashman said “makes Boston a significantly stronger opponent.”
Cashman said the Yankees’ “strategy that we’ve been executing is to get younger and continue to allow the system to grow and utilize them to be the next wave of players that will contribute to a championship.”
The goal for that is 2016, but Cashman said he needs “to build toward the next one whenever it comes, ’16, ’17, ’18.” So he has been shopping in the younger, cost-controlled bin, acquiring Didi Gregorius and Nathan Eovaldi last offseason and Aaron Hicks this one. Hal Steinbrenner has said the Yankees will look for another starting pitcher.
“To give people an accurate narrative, the Yankees are spending, but obviously our spending has been aggressively curtailed by a lot of things that have developed over time,” Cashman said. “I think it’s been $1.3 billion we’ve transferred in revenue sharing the last decade. And the 50 percent luxury tax that goes with these signings is another thing. Eventually, it takes its toll.”
Trade speculation has centered around Brett Gardner and Andrew Miller. Cashman didn’t rule out trading either but said, “I think it would be more likely that we keep them than move them.”
Ivan Nova also is potential trade bait.
“He’s someone who, given our circumstances, is probably important to retain,” Cashman said. “But at the same time, given our circumstances and his, it’s also smart to listen.”