STAMFORD, Conn. — Brian Cashman took a break from his offseason work to practice rappelling down a 22-story building Friday morning. It’s something he does every holiday season in an elf costume as part of Stamford’s holiday celebration, which will take place Sunday evening.
Cashman also is taking a break from his offseason of shopping and trading to make the Yankees better. The general manager said he is waiting for specifics on the new collective-bargaining agreement and how it may affect the Yankees in 2017 and beyond.
Cashman said he has told agents and other general managers to put him on hold while he waits for official word on the CBA’s provisions.
“I said, ‘Listen, give me at least 24, 48 more hours to see what sort of information we can get from baseball,’<TH><MK0>” he said. “So hopefully, we’ll be able to hit the ground running Monday at the latest. But it’s in our best interest to know what we’re dealing with, first and foremost.”
Baseball’s winter meetings will begin Monday in National Harbor, Maryland. The Yankees are looking to sign closer Aroldis Chapman and other pitchers, plus a primary designated hitter, such as Carlos Beltran.
Cashman said that from what he knows, the new CBA will make large player purchases even more onerous for the Yankees because of their status as a repeat crasher of the sport’s luxury-tax ceiling. Owner Hal Steinbrenner has said he hopes the team will be under the expected $197-million luxury-tax threshold before the 2018 season.
In light of the new CBA, Cashman said he feels even more certain that the Yankees did the right thing by beginning to tear down their bloated roster and go with a youth movement last summer.
“From the early returns,” he said, “I think the decisions that we made in the summer are even that much more important based on what I’m reading. Speeding up the process and going with the youth movement is going to play an even more important part now, more than ever, with what appears to be some of the restrictions in the marketplace that are occurring here.”
When Cashman resumes his work, one name that won’t be on his board is Yoenis Cespedes, who re-signed with the Mets this week. Cashman said he “had several conversations” with the slugger’s agent but never made an offer.
“I think that they would have considered anybody that was willing to meet their expectations,” Cashman said. “Now, all things being equal, clearly New York was a place he wanted to stay. And I’m sure the Mets were a place he had comfort because that’s where he’s played and wanted to be. He never said the Mets were his first choice, but my sense was the Mets were his first choice. All the tea leaves pointed to him wanting to be a Met, hoping to be a Met, but willing — because it’s a business — to do whatever’s in his best interest, depending on the other offers out there. He’s a heck of a baseball player. Very talented and very impactful for that franchise.”