Yankees general manager Brian Cashman arrives to speak during the...

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman arrives to speak during the Major League Baseball's general manager meetings, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, in Scottsdale, Ariz.  Credit: AP/Matt York

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Brian Cashman spoke for just over an hour Tuesday, with the majority of that time spent in a full-throated defense of the Yankees analytics department and what he believes has been the unfair criticism of it.

But there were still questions — ones the long-time general manager seemed to much prefer answering — looking ahead at 2024 rather than behind at the carcass that was the 2023 season.

“We need two outfielders because of Jasson Dominguez being hurt now,” Cashman said. “Obviously, that doesn’t help, so I need a centerfielder, I need a leftfielder, preferably lefthanded. I always try to reinforce our pitching.”

Cashman could have added third base as the club cut bait on Josh Donaldson late last season and Oswald Peraza, a natural shortstop who showed he could more than adequately play the field at the position, doesn’t seem to possess the bat to produce the kind of numbers expected from the position at the big-league level.

Dominguez, after an electric debut in early September, ended up lasting eight games before suffering a UCL tear in his right elbow that will keep him out until next June at the very least.

Cody Bellinger, whose father, Clay, played for the Yankees from 1999-2001, is a name to keep an eye on, a name that already has been extensively talked about in various organizational meetings. Though primarily a centerfielder, Bellinger, 28, can play all three outfield spots and he, as important, would be a lefty bat.

“Not really anyone else in his class for lefthanded impact potential,” one rival talent evaluator said recently of Bellinger.

Veteran Kevin Kiermaier, who has played 10 years with Tampa Bay, spent last season with the Blue Jays and could be another centerfield option (he told people late in the season in Toronto he would be open to talking to the Yankees).  

Among the free agent options at third could be Matt Chapman, the switch-hitting Jeimer Candelario or maybe even a reunion with Gio Urshela, dealt away to the Twins in spring training 2022 in the ill-fated Donaldson deal that also included Gary Sanchez being sent to Minnesota.

Wandy Peralta, one of the Yankees top relievers, is a free agent and he could command on the market a bigger contract than the Bombers wish to offer him, making a lefty reliever a need. And Cashman is likely to pursue starting pitching depth.

Any of those needs could be filled via trade and the Yankees have desired pieces at the major league and minor league level. Among the chips on the big-league club are Gleyber Torres, a free agent after 2024, Clay Holmes, also a free agent after next season, Peraza and righthanders Clarke Schmidt and Michael King.

Cashman has not yet received a budget from managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, though whatever number that is won’t be publicized.

“We’re going to be interested in looking at everything that’s available that can make us better,” Cashman said. “And then ultimately Hal Steinbrenner will make final calls on what those price tags are and how they would fit.”

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