Takeaways from Yankees' Brian Cashman at GM Meetings, including his contract, team budget, outlook at SS options

Brian Cashman speaking in scrum at GM Meetings, Jon Heyman behind
Brian Cashman speaking in scrum at GM Meetings, Jon Heyman behind

Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke with reporters at the GM Meetings in Las Vegas on Tuesday night to discuss the organization's plans to improve the roster, the team budget, and his own contract.

Here are some key takeaways...

Is there a timetable to finish Cashman's contract?

"No," Cashman said. "Work first, contract second. I haven't had any chance to be honest since we [Hal Steinbrenner] last spoke. It's something we'll sit down and get to, but there's some bigger things of need that need to be taken care of first, hopefully. And that's doing some heavy lifting on some of the free agents, like an Aaron Judge is there."

What if Aaron Judge doesn't re-sign?

"Ultimately, we've gone through our pro scouting meetings, so we've completed those," Cashman said. "And now start reaching out to the agents and getting some of their medical informations that help us start compiling information for ourselves about how that board would look for us. And then engage with various teams now and find out what opportunities exist from trade stuff as well. And then we'll just kind of react how the winter directs us, from conversations both with agents as well as clubs. And hopefully there are going to be some opportunities that pop up, including retaining our superstar."

Has Steinbrenner given a budget for 2023 season?

"We're having a lot of those discussion right now," Cashman said. "Like any past year, he's going to be committing a lot, regardless. I don't have a firm number just yet, but I also think we'll get a lot more information over the course of the coming weeks from our free agent engagements."

What's the biggest area of need to improve?

"Well obviously, currently we don't have a right fielder, don't have a left fielder," Cashman said. "Always like to improve the pitching. And I stated in my New York press conference that we have some kids pushing in on the infield, so there'll be, I would think probably going to be a lot of exciting opportunities that could play out next spring in the middle infield category. We got to wait and see how all conversations go. 

"Again when you start talking trades with clubs, you start talking to the agents and free agents, you get a better, clearer picture of options that exist that you weren't thinking of early on. We're certainly going to approach everything with a very open mind, even if it means we have something already existing in that position, or something anticipated to be in that position. Versus the simplistic, hey here's a vacancy here, we need to attack this area. We're going to be hopefully nimble and be able to bounce all over as our conversations take us."

Do internal SS options take team out free agent market?

"I can't say that's the case, because again, I think we're going to be open-minded," Cashman said. "There could be a lot of conversations that lead us down paths we wouldn't have expected. I'm not saying we would trade any of our kids, but it just depends how things play out. There's obviously a lot of great talented players that are available in the marketplace via trade and free agency, some of which play positions that we already have placeholders for or look forward to people taking hold of it. At this time of the year I think you have to stay flexible and open-minded to evaluate all real opportunities and how it could possibly fit."

Cashman added: "I think we have people that can handle the position and I think that we have people pushing up that want an opportunity that they're ready for the next step. Obviously, we have a shortstop in [Isiah] Kiner-Falefa that helped us win 99 games last year with the crew we had assembled last year and win the American League East, which was second-to-none in terms of division. I think that we have coverage already and now it's just exploring, like every position, can we be better, is there better options? Whether it's at shortstop or any other position on the field, as well as in the rotation and in the bullpen."

Is top prospect Anthony Volpe ready for MLB?

"I mean he's got to go compete in spring training next year," Cashman said. "He had an amazing, so far, run to his pro career, which has been all minor leagues so far. So Volpe, along with [Oswald] Peraza and [Oswaldo] Cabrera, those guys will be expected to be in spring training and competing for every day reps with everybody else that's still standing. That's nature of the beast, and we'll gravitate to those who look like they could be the best version for us moving forward. Or we'll evaluate in a way that somebody might need more time, and hopefully everybody stays healthy so we'll see.

"He's done everything he needs to do to push him into the opportunity and see where it takes him."

Cashman added: "Oh I think he's close [Volpe]. Volpe's close, Peraza's close. I mean Peraza got up here at the very end. I think they're all close to competing for an everyday position."