Brian Cashman's take on Yankees infield logjam shows there's no vision
New York Yankees disease is something that's festered for the last two decades under general manger Brian Cashman. His refusal to make certain trades/part with depreciating assets unless he gets the return he "wants" has held this team back on various occasions.
Lost in the shuffle of the Yankees' promising offseason (which he very much had very little to do with, since Hal Steinbrenner did the negotiating with Aaron Judge and Carlos Rodón) has been the team's infield situation.
Much of the focus has been on left field because that's the lone "vacancy" at the moment, but the infield logjam should perhaps be getting more attention. Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa feel like unneeded options. The starting shortstop job has yet to be settled. Is Oswaldo Cabrera going to be the infield utility guy, or log most of his reps in the outfield? Is DJ LeMahieu healthy enough to take over at third base every day?
There are issues that suggest the Yankees should hold onto as many infielders as they possibly can. LeMahieu's health is a chief concern. Oswald Peraza's trajectory is another. Anthony Volpe's next leap is arguably most crucial. But is there even a plan? Is the presence of all of these guys necessary?
Because when Cashman was asked about it, this is what he had to say:
"We’ll only make a trade if something makes sense. We’re not going to make a trade just to create a spot for a kid. We’ll make a trade if we feel like we’re getting some sort of value back. "- Brian Cashman, via Ken Rosenthal
Cashman's not "going to make a trade just to create a spot for a kid" even though the Yankees' last two offseasons that featured them passing on the top shortstop options in free agency suggested their whole plan revolves around the kids. So you believed in them enough to spurn Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson and others, but apparently the belief isn't strong enough to move IKF or Donaldson unless you're receiving the appropriate value in return?
What is the appropriate value for two below-average major leaguers with inflated 2023 salaries, anyway? Congrats on getting Clayton Beeter for Joey Gallo. That was awesome. But that's not happening here.
Here's what Rosenthal added in his column:
"Still, how much longer can the Yankees wait for Volpe and/or Peraza? ... Cashman said Volpe and Peraza will 'get a legit shot,' but added, 'the veterans are ready to defend their positions.' There isn’t much else he can say at this point. Not until he figures out a resolution. "- Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic
Looks like we're not the only people wondering why Cashman is saying the things he's saying! Volpe and Peraza have ascended as scheduled/projected, meanwhile Donaldson and IKF have regressed or have proven themselves unable to handle the job. We're going to give Gleyber Torres two years' time at shortstop despite the experiment being a failure from the start, but we're going to tread lightly with two, young natural shortstop options who have passed every test up until this point in their development?
If the Yankees are refusing to accept salary relief for one of Donaldson, IKF or even Aaron Hicks because they don't like the return package or don't like the alternatives in front of them at this very moment, then don't count on there being a concrete vision for what this team wants for 2023 and beyond ... even though it should be obvious.