TAMPA, Fla. – With position players set to report Monday, Brian Cashman likes the look of the Yankees. But that doesn’t mean he sees his work as done.
“We’re always engaged to the available talent in the player market, both major league as well as non-roster invites,” Cashman said Saturday morning. “There’s no down time. The job at hand is to stay engaged. We’re never a finished product. We’re always open for business, always open for ideas, always open for concepts. I take calls and make calls, and that’ll continue. And if it leads somewhere, whether it’s something very big or very small, I think that’s just the job.”
Fielding the obligatory questions about Bryce Harper and Manny Machado – two free agents the Yankees continue to show little to no interest in – Cashman prudently didn’t answer.
“I wouldn’t say specifically,” he said. “But I would reinforce, I’m doing my job. Whether it’s those two players or other players … the job at hand is to constantly be open-minded to make this work the best it can possibly work.”
It's inevitable that there will be more roster moves in 2019, but Cashman thinksthe talent level of last year’s 100-win team has been improved upon.
“We like what we have,” he said. “It’s time to cultivate it now and bring it together and protect it and keep it healthy and then stay out of the way and let it play.”
Yanks haven't given up on Ellsbury
Cashman said Jacoby Ellsbury, who missed all of last season with an array of injuries and who currently is sidelined by plantar fasciitis, isn’t likely to be in camp until “mid-to-late March,” meaning he probably will start the season on the injured list. Though much of the fan base, if not all, has given up on the possibility of Ellsburybeing a contributor, Cashman has not.
“I believe, when he’s healthy, that he’ll be back and he’ll be able to show us what he’s capable of doing,” Cashman said. “And I’ve been told by doctors, when that’s the case [he’s healthy], then we should see the player we used to see. We all want that to happen sooner [rather] than later, but it can’t happen unless he’s physically allowed to do it.”
Good first impression
Among the young arms noticed by Aaron Boone early in camp is righthander Trevor Stephan, a non-roster invitee.
“He’s someone who caught my eye a little bit [Friday],” Boone said. “The stuff, the repertoire. Obviously not seeing him in person [before], it was exciting to see one of our young guys who maybe doesn’t impact our club this year but a little glimpse of a guy on his way a little bit.”
Stephan, 23, a third-round pick out of Arkansas in 2017, struck out 140 batters in 124 1/3 innings in stints with high Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.