Roughly two days remain before Wednesday afternoon’s trade deadline and nothing yet final to show for Brian Cashman’s efforts.
Which, in this year’s market, is mostly par for the course, the Mets’ deal Sunday for Marcus Stroman and a handful of other moves notwithstanding.
“So many teams are looking for the same things and with a limited number [of those players available],” one opposing team executive said recently.
That would be pitchers — starters and relievers — commodities the majority of contending clubs desire but there are not nearly enough teams looking to sell.
And those teams who are selling have been asking, and continue to ask, a king’s ransom for their talent.
Using just the Yankees as an example, when they inquired about Detroit’s Matthew Boyd a few weeks ago, the Tigers asked for Gleyber Torres.
The Blue Jays, in one counterproposal, wanted the Yankees' top pitching prospect, righthander Deivi Garcia, for Stroman, a free agent after the 2020 season.
“It’s a seller’s market on steroids,” offered another rival evaluator.
Cashman, in his 22nd season as the Yankees’ GM, is looking to upgrade his rotation and bullpen, the former, of course, coming off a historically bad week in Minneapolis and Boston.
Cashman, if he is desperate, is doing his best to cloak that, and he has a well-earned reputation among agents and his peers when it comes to drawing a line in the sand regarding asking prices — whether they be financial related to a free agent or players in a trade scenario.
At this time of year, naturally, it is about swapping players.
The Yankees’ farm system, according to an array of opposing team evaluators assigned to it, isn’t as good as it was two or three years ago.
But, said one, “They have more than enough pieces top to bottom [in the system] to do pretty much whatever they want to."
The system is considered more bottom-heavy than top.
The 20-year-old Garcia, recently elevated to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, heads the list of desired prospects in the upper levels of the system, while outfielder Estevan Florial, who is at High-A Tampa, and righthander Luis Gil, who is at Low-A Charleston, are among those headlining a large group of touted talent in the lower levels. Clint Frazier, though his fielding issues have been among the factors doing significant damage to his trade value this season, still could be included in a package.
In advance of the 2015 deadline, Cashman publicly declared prospects Luis Severino, Greg Bird and Aaron Judge as “untouchable” when it came to trades, a word he has not used since.
“I wouldn’t think anyone’s untouchable,” Cashman said Friday at Fenway Park. “I’d say some are more realistic than others.”
Opposing team executives have no doubt Cashman will swing at least one deal, and perhaps two, before Wednesday’s deadline. The who, naturally, is the mystery.
The organization has been extensively scouting the starter and reliever market for nearly a month, with Stroman, Arizona’s Robbie Ray, San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner, Texas’ Mike Minor and Cincinnati’s Tanner Roark among the starters they’ve targeted. But the Giants and Indians’ surge the last three weeks makes it less likely Bumgarner and Bauer will be dealt and with Stroman off the board, all of it contributes to making an already limited market that much more limited.
“We’ve entered this process and the deadline with pretty good feel of what we’d like to do, what we’re willing to pay for it and also having the built in discipline of walking away if we don’t find the right matches under those circumstances,” Cashman said. “And that’s regardless of what’s happened the last week.”