Cashman On WFAN: We're Working To Build Something 'Fans Will Be Really Excited About'

By WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM/66AM New York

Yankees fans are no longer satisfied with just having a bright future and watching their young players develop. Their window for winning a World Series is now and anything less becomes a disappointment.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had opportunities to add frontline rotation talent to the team in recent years, but has instead settled on pitchers such as James Paxton and J.A. Happ.

As the offseason gets underway, this year’s free-agent pool includes ace-like starting pitchers led by Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole, who are both considered targets for the Yankees. Wednesday afternoon, Cashman joined WFAN’s Mike Francesa to discuss the team’s plans.

“We’ve been a 100 win team the past two years, 103 this particular year, so it’s hard to improve upon that, but that’s the job regardless,” Cashman told Francesa, noting their first area of focus is exploring ways to improve the starting staff.

“There’s certainly some big names out there, whether you want to talk about Gerrit Cole or Strasburg or Wheeler, amongst a number of other potential free agents that exist and we will connect with all of those individual players, with their representation and try to see if there’s matches to be found.”

Cashman has made offers for top-tier pitchers in recent years, only to come up empty. With frontline pitchers always in high-demand, signing an ace continues to be a difficult task. “They’re obviously in a very competitive market, those things are not easy,” Cashman said.

“We’re definitely going to have the conversations necessary to put us in a position to construct something that our fans will be really excited about,” the Yankees GM added.

In addition to acquiring talent, Cashman needs to decide on which of their own free-agents should be retained. Near the top of that list is shortstop Didi Gregorius.

“Didi’s been a great player for us,” Cashman told Francesa. “Our fans have had a chance to really enjoy him and now he’s earned the right to be in free agency, to open it up and listen to what everybody has to say including us and then he’ll have some choices to make, as will we.”

Didi, Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia are all veteran leaders that could potentially leave the Yankees in one offseason. Gregorius and Gardner are both free agents, while Sabathia is now retired.

CC Sabathia salutes the fans as he is pulled from the game in the third inning against the Los Angeles Angles on Sept. 18, 2019, at Yankee Stadium. Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

“Losing CC is big, this guy was a massive presence in our clubhouse as a leader and a performer and someone that would compete at the highest level, with everything that he had even when he was physically challenged,” Cashman said, acknowledging it’s not always easy to build a team that meshed as well as the 2019 Yankees.

“There was some serious magic going on with this crew, they took the field every day in a way that you would want to bottle up and maintain for the rest of your life if you could because these guys had their priorities straight. They were really in it to win it and they were devastated when we didn’t. Hopefully we can recreate that magic and improve the roster at the same time as we move into 2020.”

Cashman was also complimentary of his former player and employee, Carlos Beltran who was recently named the next Mets’ manager.

“When we chose to go with Aaron Boone, I didn’t want Beltran walking out of that office, I wanted to somehow keep hold of his content, his abilities,” Cashman said. Beltran interviewed for the Yankees managerial opening two years ago, immediately after retiring as a player. Last season, Beltran worked as a special advisor for Cashman and the Yankees.“I’m not surprised by his emergence as a manager with the Mets or with anybody because he’s going to check so many boxes…I think they hired a good one and he’s going to serve them well.”

Click the audio player above to listen to Cashman's interview in its entirety.