Yankees GM Brian Cashman will be on a flight to San Diego Sunday night, as the MLB Winter Meetings will be conducted for the next few days. But first, he made a pit stop at the "Heights & Lights" program in Stamford, CT where he propelled from The Landmark Building wearing an elf costume.
Once his duties were done and he safely made his way to the ground, Cashman took the time to discuss the Yankees and what he believes will go down at the Winter Meetings.
Here's a few key topics Cashman touched on:
1) He knows Cole competition will be tough
This one is a given. The Yankees are rumored to be at the top of the heap, though, with the Angels the other top contender fighting for Cole's services next season.
Cashman didn't speak to the initial offer that the team reportedly made, which was worth $245 million over seven seasons -- a record deal if it's signed. But the price tag could be even higher, and Cashman knows exactly why Cole is worth such a big paycheck.
"There's always competition for talent, that's the one thing that never changes," he said. "Sometimes the participants competing for the talent change on a year in, year out basis. But, at the end of the day, if you're a free agent, talent gets paid."
The Yankees have a good start if that is their offer so far, but Cashman could be writing a bigger check if he wants to land Cole in the end.
2) Cashman can't predict how the market will move
Last season, free agents waited a very long time before eventually signing. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado waited long into the new year before a deal was done.
This year, though, there have already been big signings, and the Winter Meetings didn't even start yet. For instance, Zack Wheeler is signed with the Phillies to a lucrative deal. He's considered the third-best pitcher on the market behind Cole and Stephen Strasburg.
Cashman would obviously love to land Cole sooner rather than later, but he said he's not sure how things will work out.
"I wish I could telegraph or predict what's going to happen. I can't," he said. "That's why we're all paying attention, you guys are covering it, we're living it. We'll see what happens."
3) Aggression hasn't changed with players signing
Speaking of deals already getting done, some believed the Yankees might be ramping up their pursuit of their desired free agents because backup options might dwindle fast. Wheeler could have been one of those plans, and Madison Bumgarner might be on that list, too, and he could sign soon.
Cashman noted that he would obviously love to get a deal done as soon as possible, but the steady grind continues.
"I'd love to get something done yesterday," he said. "I don't like to dragging anything out. If you can get your work done sooner than later, you feel more comfortable and sleep better at night."
4) Yankees have talked to Gregorius, Betances among others
We talk about Cole being Cashman's No. 1 priority, but he has also been having talks with former Yankees on the market as well. Didi Gregorius and Dellin Betances are among them.
"I've had conversations with all of them," he said.
Of them all, Brett Gardner is probably the one with the best chances of making a return. The Yankees will need someone in center field while Aaron Hicks rehabs after Tommy John surgery, and Gardner may be willing to wait to see how things play out with the Cole pursuit before signing.
Gregorius and Betances, though, are two players that already have replacements on the roster. Gleyber Torres could shift to his natural shortstop position, as he did when Gregorius rehabbed last season. And the Yankees still have players like Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino in their bullpen.