Yankees GM Brian Cashman thinks the team can contend this season, he said during an interview on WFAN with Mike Francesa on Thursday.
"It can be," he said about the team contending. "Obviously, i think we saw a glimpse of the potential last year." Cashman added the run the team went on toward the end of last season -- along with new acquisitions -- gives them "hope" for this season.
Regarding Chris Carter, who the team recently agreed to a one-year deal with, Cashman said the hope remains that Greg Bird will win the full-time job at first base. However, he said the Yankees couldn't pass up an opportunity to sign Carter once his price got so low.
On shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, Cashman said he "can't imagine" him starting the season in the majors and that it's fair to not expect him to reach the majors at any point this season. However, Cashman said Torres will have the chance to force the issue.
Meanwhile, Cashman expects Aaron Judge to win a starting job in the outfield. If that doesn't happen, though, Judge will almost certainly open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
I tend to agree with Cashman on the team's ability to contend this season.
The run Cashman mentions at the end of the season came without a few of their better players due to trades. Further, I believe there are some areas in which the Yankees can improve from last season (catcher, considering a full year from Gary Sanchez, first base, designated hitter, and even the back end of the bullpen since it should remain intact). There will be some growing pains, but if health is a non-issue and many of the players hit their potential, the Yankees can minimally be a part of the wild card race.
I'm glad Cashman and the Yankees still want to see Bird succeed in the role out of spring training. My question remains: how long of a rope will he be provided if he slumps and the skid is not related to his surgically-repaired shoulder? I fear that Joe Girardi will have a quick hook and shift at-bats to Carter because he's a "veteran."
There were no major surprises where it concerns Torres and Judge. If Torres is lighting the minors up through August (and in Triple-A), Cashman leaves open the chance for a September callup. As for Judge, he's the player they want in right field, but as with any other role, if he's faltering the club has other options they will not hesitate to go to.