With the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline looming, the contending Yankees want to improve their roster and the last-place Mets will sacrifice theirs for future talent. Each is likely to look different.
The Yankees’ most obvious need is their rotation, and that market has issues. Some clearly available starters, notably Toronto’s J.A. Happ and Texas’ Cole Hamels, haven’t pitched well, and others, such as Detroit’s Michael Fulmer, are hurt. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman indicated the “asks’’ have matched the talent offered. He hopes the landscape improves as the deadline approaches.
“It’s not the best starting pitching market currently that exists. Everything is cyclical, and this particular trade cycle isn’t robust,” Cashman said Sunday in an interview on WFAN. “A lot of the trade starting pitching pieces . . . the closer you get to the deadline, the worse they’ve been pitching in some cases. If you can get starting pitching that’s obviously high end, that’s a plus, but there’s not a lot of that walking around.”
Cashman also said he thinks other GMs appear to be mistaking the Yankees’ depth of talent for something else. He gave the example that a club might think Yankees stingy for not including in an offer “your 12th-best prospect, but he might be third best in someone else’s franchise — so you’re dealing with that type of stuff.”
Mets assistant GM John Ricco sees some markets as more completely formed. The Mets didn’t wait to see if closer Jeurys Familia would bring back more than the two prospects and international pool money they got because “we had a pretty good sense as to what the rental market for a back end of the game reliever would bring.
“There have been a number of those deals done recently, one by us last year with Addison Reed,” Ricco said. “You say this is the level of return we’re looking for and you get to that level. Certainly, you always envision ways in which the value could go up and wait longer and also ways the value could go down if certain things happen. Making trades is always walking that line.”
Cashman said “there’s always that possibility” of a late market shift.
“There’s always those players that were available that are no longer available or that aren’t available that might become available,” he said. He said some teams may go from “buyers’’ to “sellers’’ in the coming week and “pivot and decide to sell some stuff. We have to be prepared.”
Manager Aaron Boone said Cashman often asks him for opinions about players on the table and that “you do envision a little bit what they would mean and how it would affect your lineup and your rotation and all that.” But Boone said focusing on winning with the team he has that day is top priority.
“We’re going to see where we can improve. If we’re here in 10 or 11 days and it’s our team only, we’re good with that,” Boone said. “A lot can happen in 10 or 11 days and a lot of situations change, a lot of different offers change, but I know Cash and them are working hard at it.”
Asked if the Familia deal has changed the Mets’ clubhouse vibe, Mickey Callaway said it hadn’t. Nevertheless impending free agents such as Asdrubal Cabrera, Devin Mesocaro and Jose Bautista could be in play, and a bigger departure such as a member of the rotation could be on players’ minds.
Although they didn’t do it in the Familia deal, Ricco said for the second time in three days that the Mets will absorb salary to get higher-end prospects.
The Yankees showed they also might be willing to add to one of their strengths when they took Baltimore’s temperature on a deal for Manny Machado before he was traded to the Dodgers.
“My job is to basically turn over everything and gauge with everybody and make sure that we can’t sleep on anything or make an assumption ‘that’s not going to work,’ ” Cashman said. “When you have players like that become available, you have to do your due diligence whether it’s an area of need. Every team has their strengths and weaknesses, and it’s your job to improve on your weaknesses more so than anything. That doesn’t mean you don’t at least assess.”