Yankees GM Brian Cashman confident in rookie infielders

CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 29: Miguel Andujar
CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 29: Miguel Andujar /

What if all the talk surrounding Yankees trade rumors and free agent signings is just a smoke screen to allow two rookie infielders more time to stay under the radar?

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is master of deception — in a good way. As evidenced by the surprising move for Giancarlo Stanton, trading away Chase Headley and flipping a number of highly-touted prospects for veteran leadership last season.

With Cashman, you should always expect the unexpected; Which is why you shouldn’t buy into the thought that the Yanks will make another deal for an established infielder, or settle on stopgaps such as Ronald Torreyes or Tyler Wade — just yet.

On Thursday, Cash spoke to the New York Post about the possibility of rookie infielders Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar breaking camp with the big league team.

"“If the market changes, we’re prepared to adjust,” Cashman said. “But right now, we’re still treading water. This is what we’ve got, in addition to other guys like Tyler Wade and [Thairo] Estrada. I’m excited with what we have.”"

When Cashman was asked about his level of concern heading into a season in which expectations to reach the World Series will be at a fever pitch, he responded:

"“My job is to be concerned with everyone, whether it’s experienced players like Greg Bird and CC Sabathia staying healthy and playing all year or seeing how younger players adjust to the majors. We’ve know what Andujar is capable of and we know the talent of Torres.”More from Yankees NewsYankees top prospects butt heads after Giants’ gritty win over CommandersCC Sabathia defends Yankees’ massive Aaron Judge contractScott Boras closed Yankees-Carlos Rodón deal from Fenway Park, put cherry on topOrioles are bailing out Yankees and AL East by botching free agencyGuy who caught Aaron Judge record HR ball cost himself tons of money in auction"

The mixed signals we’ve been getting on Torres began prior to 2017 when Didi Gregorius missed the first month with a shoulder injury sustained in the World Baseball Classic.

It was reported that various people inside the Yankees’ organization wanted Torres to make the jump from Class-A, all the way to the Bronx. But Cash resisted, saying Torres had yet to play in cold weather and didn’t want him “drinking from a fire hose in April.”

I ultimately believe Torres will begin the ’18 season at Triple-A, due in part to his Super Two status. The club receives an extra year of service time if the player spends at least the first 20 days of the season in the minors.

Throw in the fact that Torres only amassed 96 plate appearances in Scranton before sustaining that season-ending elbow injury, and well, Cash and company may be inclined to let the kid “prove” he deserves a May promotion.

As for third base prospect Miguel Andujar, although he struggled with the bat in 18 Dominican Winter League games, hitting just .185, his glove looked steady, only making one error.

"We saw him go from Double-A to Triple-A to the big leagues last year. He played third base at Yankee Stadium. He’ll compete. He’s earned the right to bang on the door, and he has a chance to knock it down. If he needs more time, he’ll get it.”"

Obviously, Cashman is going to keep all of his options open — especially if a guy like Todd Frazier remains on the market until late January.

Doing so allows players like Torres and Andujar time to prepare for the possibility of a grueling 162-game schedule with far less media scrutiny that would come with being named Opening Day starters.

Next: Yanks have $19 million to play with

It’s all about setting yourself up for success, and once again Cashman has done just that.