Dogs and cats frolicking together in an open field; liberals and conservatives coexisting in harmony; the Yankees making a trade deadline deal with the Mets. All of these things seem hugely unlikely, but in respect to that last one, general manager Brian Cashman said his lines of communication are very (very) open, even with a longtime rival.
“If the best business decisions happened to be with a rival, that’s not a problem for me,” Cashman said before the Yankees took on the Red Sox for AL East supremacy Friday, adding that he’s already been in touch with Omar Minaya, a member of the three-headed hydra that currently makes up the Mets’ general manager role. “As far as I’m concerned, if a match just makes sense, I don’t care who [it’s] with. I would have, when we were in a bad spot [in 2016], with [Aroldis] Chapman and [Andrew] Miller — I would have done business with the Boston Red Sox . . . My job is to do everything I can to improve the present, and if the present was gone, then fight for the future.”
Cashman further clarified Friday that his main priority is starting pitching, and that if the Yankees don’t make an improvement in that area before the trade deadline, it will be because they couldn’t come to an agreement with another team.
All of which means that if Cashman is ringing up Minaya, it’s because Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard is in his crosshairs.
Still, there are obstacles. Though the Mets have officially designated themselves as sellers, it still isn’t clear whether (1) the Yankees are willing to give up enough of what the Mets want for them to part with deGrom or Syndergaard and (2) the Mets are willing to ship off franchise pitchers to an intracity rival, knowing that fan blowback could be unpleasant, to say the least.
The teams actually nearly came to an agreement last year — one that would have sent Neil Walker to the Bronx — but the trade came undone at the last moment, perhaps further sullying relations.
That, though, was with Sandy Alderson, who no longer is in charge of the Mets after being forced to step down because of a recurrence of his cancer. Now Cashman is dealing with Minaya — someone, he said, he has a “relationship” with — and also with John Ricco, who used to work for the Yankees, and J.P. Ricciardi, whom Cashman also knows well.
“I’ve done several deals with the New York Mets, you know, if you look at my history,” he said, pointing to moving David Justice for Robin Ventura, getting Mike Stanton for Felix Heredia and shipping off prospects for Armando Benitez.
He added, [“We sent] Benitez away [to the Mariners] 10 days later, I think, because our fans didn’t accept it.”
Cashman indicated that though the Yankees would like to keep him, it’s conceivable that they will trade Clint Frazier, among other high-ranking prospects.
“I have a lot of high-end talent that’s taken a long time to acquire or cultivate, but it’s going to cost something to get stuff, so we’ll play that game here over the next month and see where it takes us,” he said.
But even then, all this might not be a done deal. Though he has no problem playing ball with the team in Flushing, rivalries can run deep, and it’s possible that any trade proposal could be nixed at a higher level.
“I get to look at things at 5,000 feet [while Hal Steinbrenner] has to look at things at 35,000 feet, and that would [be the same with regard] to the Wilpons as well, so there’s a lot of dynamics involved, “ he said. “But listen, we’re trying to get our team back to where their team was not too long ago. They were in a World Series — what was it? 2015? So our effort right now is to try to get back to a place they happened to be more recently than we were.”