New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman dropped some interesting bits of news during his annual end of season press conference Wednesday.
During his annual “State of the Yankees” address, GM Brian Cashman discussed the highs and lows of the 2016 season. He sounded confident in the plan he and his team have put in place and maintained that the front office had, “put this franchise in a better position to compete for a world championship as we move forward.”
Cashman covered a wide range of topics and revealed several news-worthy pieces of information for Yankees fans who are curious about the team’s plans. Here are the highlights:
– Luis Severino will indeed be used as a starting pitcher in the 2017 season. If he doesn’t earn a spot in the big league rotation out of spring training, he will begin the year as a starter in Triple-A. He also added, “I’m not going to count on him. This year, we did.”
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– The GM does not expect to make any changes to the coaching staff. He will meet with pitching coach Larry Rothschild this week to discuss his expiring deal.
– CC Sabathia will have another surgery to address the degenerative issue in his right knee this winter. Cashman characterized it as routine maintenance, and not something that would affect Sabathia’s performance next season.
– After one of the most surprising breakout performances in the Yankees minor league system this year, 26-year-old catcher Kyle Higashioka will be added to the 40-man roster. With 40 catchers now on the 40-man, a trade of Brian McCann, Austin Romine, or Higashoka this winter wouldn’t be surprising, although having “too much” catching depth is a nice problem to have.
– While 2015 Yankees firs rounder James Kaprielian is currently listed on the team’s Arizona Fall League roster, Cashman confirmed that is a mistake. The plan is to send Kap to the AFL if all goes well during the Fall Instructional League, but the team has not officially added the 22-year-old righty to their roster.
– Top prospect Clint Frazier is not expected to be in the mix for an Opening Day job, which shouldn’t be a surprise given his poor performance in Triple-A and the team’s wealth of outfield options.
– New York is unlikely to do much to upgrade their offense this winter, instead relying on improvements from their young core of position players such as Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird.
– On the other hand, Cashman cited pitching as the front office’s main focus this winter, saying:
"The pitching is an area of need: starting pitching, middle relief, setup … We re going to certainly have to look at opportunities that present themselves on the pitching market."
Of course he did go on to clarify that he doesn’t expect to blow up his carefully built farm system to bring in an established ace in a trade:
"I would be hard-pressed to do that. I think that we have spent a lot of time and effort growing to this level. And I think that type of deal would be a deal where you are that final piece away. I think we have exciting young nucleus that’s coming. Some of it has arrived, some of it’s still coming, but there are some flaws in this roster still."
All signs point to the Yankees continuing to hold off on “win now” moves this winter, giving the young talent they’ve accumulated time to sink or swim at the big league level. That said, it does sound like Cashman plans to look for ways to upgrade this winter that don’t hamper New York’s long-term outlook.