Most of the Yankees’ plans for next season are up in the air, as team brass hasn’t even sat down yet to map out a strategy for 2019.
But one personnel move is not in doubt: Brian Cashman is ready to ship out Sonny Gray.
“It hasn’t worked out thus far,” Cashman said after a long sigh about Gray, who has been a bust in the Bronx after the Yankees acquired him at the trade deadline in 2017. “I think he’s extremely talented. I think that we’ll enter the winter, unfortunately, open-minded to a relocation. I think to maximize his abilities, it would more likely be best somewhere else, but it comes down to the final decision of price in terms of trade acquisition of matching up with somebody. If we match up, then I think it’s probably best to try this somewhere else.”
The Yankees have only two starters under contract for next season in Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka. Gray, 28, was a top starting pitcher with the A’s, but he has proved to his bosses’ satisfaction that he cannot succeed in New York.
“While he’s here, we’re going to do everything in our power to find a way to tap into his talent,” Cashman said. “We’ve been unable to do that now for a year and a half. I do think if I do find a match somewhere for him at some point, then you’re going to see [elsewhere] what we hoped to see here. But sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. So we’ll see. Just stay tuned. I’ve got nothing cooking, but I will plan on doing some cooking over time if I can, for his sake and for ours.”
Gray was removed from the rotation and finished the season 11-9 with a 4.90 ERA in 30 games (23 starts). He was not on the postseason roster for either round.
In the immediate aftermath of the last game of the season on Tuesday, Gray was asked what he hopes will happen in the offseason.
“I don’t know, man,” he said. “It’s so early. We just lost.”
Cashman and manager Aaron Boone touched on many key players during their season-ending news conference at Yankee Stadium. Hal Steinbrenner also gave some insight into the Yankees’ thinking during an interview on “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN 98.7. Here are some of those updates:
LUKE VOIT / GREG BIRD
Boone said Voit is the early favorite for first base. Voit, 27, hit .333 with 14 homers and 33 RBIs in 39 games after the Yankees acquired him from St. Louis in a little-noticed July trade.
“He certainly came over here and was given that opportunity and took it and kicked the door in,” Boone said. “It’s hard to argue with what he was able to do down the stretch for us . . . So we’re very excited about the player that we got. We’ll see how the offseason unfolds, but right now he grabbed that job . . . He certainly with what he was able to accomplish for us down the stretch has a leg up.”
On Bird, who hit .199 in 82 games, Boone said: “We’ve seen him be an impact player at times in his career. This year, in a lot of ways, is a little bit of a lost season for him . . . Hopefully he’ll come in [to spring training] physically, mentally, everything, ready to go and take advantage of the opportunities he’ll get.”
Cashman said he has “no regrets” about trading for Stanton even though last year’s NL MVP struggled in the postseason.
Said Steinbrenner: “We saw what he’s capable of. He carried this team at one point during the season . . . Getting used to New York, getting used to playing here . . . it’s a big change. But he still had 100 RBIs and a bunch of home runs  and I look for great things from him next year.”
Boone again said Severino was not injured when he struggled in the second half and postseason. As for the rampant speculation that Severino has been tipping his pitches, especially in ALDS Game 3, Boone said: “I think it has happened at times. I think he’s done a good job of correcting it, but I think it would pop up from time to time and it’s something that we’ll address even more so this winter in trying to eliminate any chance of that happening.”
The Yankees are not giving up on Sanchez, who hit .186 in an injury-filled season and led the major leagues in passed balls with 18 in only 76 games behind the plate.
“I think in a lot of ways, I’m all in and believe in the player,” Boone said. “I think Gary is going to absolutely realize his potential, and as tough as this year was at times for him, there’s no doubt in my mind that he will benefit from all that he went through this year.”
Andujar had a phenomenal rookie season at the plate but was so shaky in the field that Boone replaced him for defense early in postseason games twice and benched him for ALDS Game 4.
“I think he can absolutely get there [defensively],” Boone said. “I think he made big strides on that [last] winter. I think he needs to continue to make those strides. I think the biggest thing it comes down to is footwork.”
BRETT GARDNER / CC SABATHIA
The Yankees have to decide on a $12.5-million option or $2- million buyout for Gardner. Sabathia will be a free agent.
“We haven’t had any of our meetings,” Cashman said. “So I have no answers on Gardy or anybody right now.”
Cashman said he expects all of Boone’s coaches to return in 2019.