Brian Cashman’s offseason priority was starting pitching, and as the July 31 trade deadline approaches, that hasn’t changed.
Just don’t expect Gleyber Torres to be a part of any package to acquire it.
Would the Yankees’ general manager listen to offers that included the 21-year-old rookie? “Come on now,” Cashman said Friday with a smile. “I’ve got to walk around this city.”
Regardless, with the MLB Draft officially behind him, Cashman is in full deadline mode, having already touched base with 20 teams, he estimated.
“Certainly swinging around, talking to clubs about what their interest levels are and sharing what our interest levels would be,” Cashman said before Friday night’s game against the Rays. “It’s time to gather all that information. See if we run into anything over time.”
Cashman has been generally pleased with the work of Domingo German since the rookie righthander took over for the injured Jordan Montgomery, and he’s excited about the possibilities of prospect Jonathan Loaisiga, called up from Double-A to make his big-league debut Friday in place of Masahiro Tanaka. But bolstering the rotation heads Cashman’s wish list.
“That’s always been a focus of ours — in the winter, in previous years, we’re always trying to reinforce that, improve upon it — but time will tell,” Cashman said. “But in the meantime, it’s great to see what German’s come up and done, and hopefully we can get Tanaka back in a timely matter. But this team has earned the right to get reinforced here if we could possibly find a way. We really like this team we’ve got and we’d certainly like to make it better if possible.”
Tanaka, who missed the last two days with an ear infection, was back at the ballpark Friday and threw on flat ground in the afternoon. The righthander, on the disabled list since last weekend with strains in both hamstrings, is expected back in roughly three weeks, Cashman said.
Montgomery is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The Yankees knew Torres was “a great hitter,” Cashman said, but his 13 homers in 156 at-bats and 45 games (entering Friday) wasn’t expected. The most homers he’d hit in his professional career was 11 in 2016.
“I like to be pleasantly surprised like that,” Cashman said. “He’s clearly swinging a stronger power bat than [we expected]. I’m not complaining.”
This time, Torreyes over Austin
On May 25, the Yankees, to the surprise of many, optioned infielder Ronald Torreyes to the minors and kept first baseman Tyler Austin, even though Greg Bird was due to return the next day. After Thursday’s victory, Austin, in a 3-for-29 slide, was sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room for Loaisiga. This time, Torreyes stayed put.
“With Toe, he just gives us a little bit more flexibility,” Aaron Boone said. “We were seeing Tyler’s playing time diminish and with Walk [Neil Walker], we have that protection if we want to give Bird a day off.”