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Despite being 3.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, Brian Cashman was a buyer at the trade deadline.
Cashman spoke about the trades, Voit, staying under the luxury tax threshold, the postseason push, and more on Friday.
On why the Yankees were buyers
"I think we have great talented players. ... We still haven’t been perfect to some degree, but obviously we’ve been stringing together a lot of series wins against quality opponents, and pushing ourselves into the arena of there’s no question that we’re in this. It’s what are we gonna do about it. Are we gonna sit back and just let it play out with what I think is an extremely talented playing roster as it is already, or do we acknowledge that it’s not good enough, despite the talent, and it needs more? … Bottom line is, they all have to come together on a consistent basis in a short period of time now to obviously navigate the landscape of the final two months of this season, see if we can take an opportunity to be special. And I know they’re capable of special things, we just have to prove it by earning it every day. So we’ll see. Listen, we’re right there, and we’re recognizing and acknowledging that, and because of that, we pushed more chips in the table to try to take care of our fans and take care of our team and take care of the opportunity that’s before us, which is a chance to make the playoffs and take a shot at the title...
"We just haven’t performed up to our expectations. We’ve had some injuries, we talked about Luke Voit, we’ve had some underperformance in certain areas, we’ve put ourselves in a hole, so as we approach this deadline, it’s a lot more different than other ones where we might have had guys lined up, a record that put us in a driver’s seat, players coming off the IL at some point that you knew you could count on, where in this case, there was a lot of areas that you could address and improve on. And our positioning is not where we need it to be, so it needs a lot more help than work. That’s why… when I addressed the frustrations of how the season had gone to whatever point it was, I said it’s up to me to try to do everything in our power to fix it, me and my staff and our ownership. That was our commitment, and we’re trying to do that, and we’ll see how it plays out. I know we’re better today than we were yesterday, but I also know everybody got better here in the last week or so. It’s gonna be fun to watch how it all plays out if you’re a baseball fan, so we’re excited about the opportunity before us, because I think we can do some damage and get back into this thing. We’re right there on the brink of postseason, wild card, we got to obviously push through, and then there’s a division that we can try to take a shot at if we can get ourselves in a much better position than we’re at right now. But first thing’s first – we just got to win as many baseball games as we possibly can over the next two months.”
On Joey Gallo
“Gallo, I’ve been trying to get for quite some time. I thought we were close in spring training in March to Gallo. Didn’t happen, so he’s been someone we’ve been checking in on and trying to acquire for quite some time, because we thought it’d be a nice fit...
"Left-handed bat, even though in terms of evaluating Gallo, we always felt that he would fit really nice here at Yankee Stadium. Very athletic, can play a lot of different positions, left-handed bat to give us balance, so he’s been someone we’ve always been trying to check on. At the end of spring training, I thought we were getting close to a deal with those guys, and it didn’t materialize. So we’ve stayed in touch throughout the whole season with them, and finally we were able to get him here at the trade deadline.”
"Rizzo obviously developed here in the more recent circumstances – within the last week. I can’t tell you at what point I checked in with Jed Hoyer, but as we were circling through all available players. ... So we just felt this was an opportunity that made a lot of sense for us and we could make it work if we found the right player package that we could live with. … It just came down to if we could tolerate the prospect value. It was something we had to determine whether it was something that A) improved us, we felt without a doubt it would, and then B) even though we have the position filled, is that something we should walk away from – and the answer to that was no. We’re excited to have Rizzo. ... we have a two-month sprint now to try to push ourselves into the postseason and take a shot at the ultimate prize, and we felt this enhances those opportunities for us...
“We added Rizzo for this stretch drive. This is all about the 2021 effort. We haven’t really daydreamed into the future at all [regarding a contract extension], and the way this trade deadline was going, with all the conversations… I don’t think anybody had time to look that much into the future on this stuff. Our intent was to try to increase our chances, give our team an improved opportunity to compete the rest of the way, and that’s really been the focus."
On Luke Voit
"He needs to knock some rust off now, obviously. … I had a chance to see Luke Voit’s offense today – he faced some live pitching, got a chance to see him run the bases, got a chance to see him play some defense, so that was good to see that he’s healthy and trending in the right direction. It’s really just about knocking off the rust, and we’ll see what opportunity presents itself as we move forward. But that doesn’t have to be today, because obviously, he’s not a finished product in terms of the rehab side, but at least the health side’s there...
"We certainly have Voit under control as we move forward, and when he’s healthy, we know what he’s capable of. He swings a mean bat, and he obviously gets on base with his walks. So he’s plate discipline with power, and obviously, that’s a very attractive quality and something that led us to him in the first place a number of years ago, and we were beneficiaries of his acquisition and his efforts on the field. Unfortunately, he got derailed with this injuries this year, but it’s nice to know he’s under control as we move forward, and obviously, decisions like that will have to be made at a later date, but good thing he’s healthy now and now is just knocking rust out, and then see what develops here in the course of the coming weeks. Injuries are certainly something that all teams are gonna have to battle, and I’m sure we’ll still be battling them as we have this whole year so far. No one wants that… but it’s nice to know that we have some powerful personnel waiting in the wings."
On staying under the luxury tax
“The threshold’s obviously something that there’s a benefit to stay under, but it wasn’t a detriment to stay under at the same time. Hal’s maintained every step of the way that if we were in a position to do something that would have an impact to such a level, that he would go over. We were checking into everything that was available on the marketplace. … Some with a lot of salary, some with no salary, so we tried to make sure we assessed every opportunity. The ones we secured, the teams we were engaged with were very open at the same time to providing that they’re not necessarily worried about the money, they’re looking for, obviously, the best value, so they’re showing with their poker hands early that they’re willing to pay the salaries. I think you’ve seen throughout these trades around the game that most of these seem to have their deals being paid or paid down, so it’s still – it’s not a Yankee thing, I think it’s an industry standard thing right now. … We didn’t have to give more players because we were getting money back.”
On Andrew Heaney
Adding depth to our rotation for the two-month sprint, because now, we’re in the penalty box with all teams where you can’t add anything but what you have from within. We have Luis Severino coming, we have [Corey] Kluber coming. Those are great positive opportunities, but there’s no guarantee over the next coming weeks or the next two months going into, hopefully, what would be October for us, there’s no guarantee who’s gonna be standing by the time it’s said and done, so we’re just adding to that list of choices. Every inning’s important the rest of the way, so we felt like the cost of acquisition we made was tolerable, and it was in our best interest to do so.”