Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |
On Sunday, Brian Cashman and the rest of MLB's general managers will travel to San Diego for the annual Winter Meetings, where deals with free agents and potential trades will create a rumor mill that baseball fans can't wait to see.
And as always, the Yankees should be a team mentioned in many of those rumors.
While Cashman will be looking to make some serious headway in his offseason plans, he'll also make sure to update the media after each day to see how things are going.
Here are a few questions he should answer next week...
1) How did the meetings with Gerrit Cole & Stephen Strasburg go? Where do things stand there?
It's what everyone wants to know. It has been widely known that the Yankees favor Cole, but the team has already met with both star pitchers. Cole's was said to be "very nice," according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, and the same can be said for Strasburg. Hearing what Cashman believed about the meetings, though, is a better source.
But Cashman can also let Yankee fans know where things currently stand after that first meeting. It's been reported that Cole prefers the West Coast, and Strasburg may find his way back in DC. However, Heyman came out Thursday morning to say that there is no "West Coast bias," so maybe Cashman can set the record straight.
2) Has Yankees' aggression increased with pitchers already signing before these meetings?
Zack Wheeler has signed a five-year, $118 million deal with the Phillies, and Madison Bumgarner could be signed by the time Cashman gets on a plane Sunday. These two starters weren't the Yankees' top priority, but they could have been their backup plan.
That means all the eggs are in one basket that consiste of Cole and Strasburg. So will Cashman's aggression start to pick up because of that? Or will he stay even keel and play the waiting game?
3) Other than Miguel Andujar, who have teams been calling about?
Andujar has been a name that has popped up recently, with the Rangers reportedly being "definitely intrigued" by the prospect of doing a deal with Cashman for the young third baseman. Adrian Beltre is gone, so a void needs to be filled.
But this likely won't be the only player that Cashman receives some calls on -- or meets about -- throughout the week. The Yankees have a pretty good farm system to work with and tradeable assets like Clint Frazier (who we'll get to later) as well.
4) Is Brett Gardner the only option you're pursuing in free agency as Aaron Hicks' replacement?
Starting pitching may be the priority on the free agent market, but the Yankees also need to figure out who will be Hicks' replacement as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
Gardner is the obvious top candidate, especially after the stellar season he just had. SNY's Andy Martino also reported Thursday that the team is "optimistic" a reunion with Gardner will come in 2020. Cashman has brought up that optimism in the past, but wasn't sure if another one-year deal would be agreed upon.
Pitching will continue to take precedent, and the veteran outfielder probably understands that. But is there another younger option out there that the Yankees could pursue? Or is the longest tenured Yankee going to continue to hold that title next season?
5) Is there a role for Clint Frazier in 2020?
Frazier's presence at the plate is undeniable, but it was his defense and off-the-field comments with the media that saw him demoted to Triple-A despite filling in admirably in the first half of the Yanks' season.
So, in 2020, does Cashman view Frazier as someone who can contribute in the outfield? Or maybe he is one of his top trade chips he'll shop at the Winter Meetings?
He's a former first-rounder that showed he could take over a starting outfield job if he gets more consistent with his defense. But maybe his antics soured his time in pinstripes enough to not test things out once more. There's also a pretty good logjam in the outfield when healthy.
6) Are there any injury updates? (Andujar, Hicks, Masahiro Tanaka, Luke Voit)
And, of course, Cashman should be giving updates on some of his players that he mentioned in his end-of-year press conference. Andujar continues to rehab his torn labrum, and Hicks underwent successful surgery.
How about Tanaka and Voit?
Tanaka had a fairly minor procedure that removed bone spurs from his right elbow. We know he has a slightly torn UCL that continues to be monitored, so Cashman giving him a thumbs up would be nice to hear.
Also, Voit is recovering from sports hernia surgery that he underwent back in October. That recovery takes a bit, so his progress would be nice to learn about considering he would likely be the Yankees' starting first baseman on Opening Day.