On the eve of the final day of the general managers' meetings in early November, Brian Cashman hit on a common theme of his over the years when it comes to the winter workload.
“I’m here trying to do business,” Cashman said. “One of my favorite comments is ‘just land the plane.’ I don’t like to be circling the freakin’ airport. If we can find matches . . . let’s just do it. Why wait?”
Since those meetings, which concluded Nov. 8, Cashman has crossed one big item off his to-do list, acquiring James Paxton via trade from the Mariners.
There remains plenty to do, and Cashman hopes this week's winter meetings at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas can help grease the skids to getting much of it done.
He wants to add at least one more starting pitcher, a bullpen reinforcement or two and infield depth to cover the Yankees as Didi Gregorius recovers from Tommy John surgery.
The pace of the offseason hasn’t bothered Cashman, who typically takes the long view on the additions that need to be made to his roster.
“I’m not frustrated at all,” he said by phone this past week. “I can look at things like it’s between now and, really, August 31 in terms of acquiring players and solving problems. If I could limit the amount of work I was going to have to do as we move forward by getting it all done in one day, it would be great. But that’s just not how it works. But I’m not frustrated.”
Starting pitching remains the priority, and the Yankees lost out on three potential targets last week.
On Tuesday, Patrick Corbin, a Yankees fan while growing up in upstate New York, agreed to a six-year, $140-million deal with the Nationals. Corbin visited with the Yankees, who weren’t willing to go more than five years and never made an official offer to the lefthander.
The Yankees weren’t as interested in Nathan Eovaldi as they were in Corbin, but they were open to a reunion with the Red Sox postseason standout. On Thursday, however, the hard-throwing righty agreed to a four-year, $67.5- million deal that kept him in Boston. The Yankees never made an offer to Eovaldi, either.
Later Thursday afternoon, the Indians locked up righthander Carlos Carrasco through 2022 with a club option for 2023.
The Indians are listening to offers for their starting pitchers – a collection that includes Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber and had included Carrasco – and Cashman has been engaged with Cleveland on that topic since the GM meetings. That talk, with the Yankees and other interested teams, is likely to heat up this week.
Cashman has had talks with the agent for lefthander J.A. Happ, a trade- deadline acquisition from Toronto, since early November, and those discussions should intensify in Vegas.
Free agents such as Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, Lance Lynn and Wade Miley can’t be ruled out, nor can Japanese lefthander Yusei Kikuchi, who was posted last week as a free agent.
As for the two biggest names on the market – Manny Machado and Bryce Harper – Cashman has talked with the former’s agent and likely will again in Las Vegas. Despite some of the noise accompanying Harper and the Yankees, they haven’t scheduled a meeting with the Las Vegas native, and no meeting currently is scheduled.
“Engaged in the process and that’s that,” Cashman said, speaking generally. “Looking at free agents, looking at trades, and when the right opportunity exists, we’ll try to push through on it. If not, we’ll hopefully show the discipline and patience necessary to do the right thing.”
Highlighting the Yankees’ biggest moves at the last five Winter Meetings:
Dec. 4-8, 2016: A week after signing free agent OF Matt Holliday to a one-year, $13 million deal, LH closer Aroldis Chapman agrees to a five-year, $86 million deal.
Dec. 7-10, 2015: Yankees deal RHP Adam Warren and a player to be named (INF Brendan Ryan) to the Cubs for 2B Starlin Castro.
Dec. 7-10, 2014: Two days before the meetings began, the Yankees sent RHP Shane Greene to the Tigers in a three-team deal. The Yankees get SS Didi Gregorius from the Diamondbacks.