Yankees GM Brian Cashman updated the team's pursuit of free agents Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg on Thursday night, and detailed his approach when it comes to how the Yanks hope to attract their targets to the Bronx.
"Everything we're getting right now is information, we're either providing (or) expressing interest," Cashman said while preparing to sleep outside Yankee Stadium to bring attention to Covenant House. "You get some definition of -- depending on the agent -- of what might be."
But it's so early in the process in my conversations with personnel that obviously, clearly, the bigger the name -- and they've earned the right -- the bigger the contract, the bigger the expectation, the bigger the money. There's gonna be some opportunities for people to take advantage of their great performance, obviously, in this marketplace. And they're gonna come out really well."
Cashman said on Monday at the GM meetings that the Yanks would pursue Cole and Strasburg, adding on Tuesday that he has "no mandate" from ownership to get under the $208 million luxury tax threshold.
While Cole and Strasburg are at the top of the market, the Yanks have also been connected to Zack Wheeler and Madison Bumgarner -- potential fallbacks should Cole and/or Strasburg land elsewhere. And Cashman revealed that he spoke with Jake Odorizzi's agent before he accepted the qualifying offer from the Twins.
Cashman also touched on other available starting pitchers that "could be impactful that might not be as pretty or sexy out there in terms of name recognition."
There has been chatter that Cole prefers a team on the west coast, and the Nationals have been clear about their desire to retain Strasburg. With a potential steep climb ahead, Cashman explained how the team will try to lure the big fish.
"We're just gonna put our best foot forward, making sure we can share who we are, what we represent, not gonna make any assumptions that 'hey, what you read in the papers is good enough,'" he said. "We're gonna make sure that we put our educational component of not just with the contract and the offer, but a lot more than just that. Gonna try to make sure that they understand what our culture is, the personnel that we have here to serve you, and the great operation that the Steinbrenner's allow to be run here."
While the Yankees could have the financial might to outbid any other team, Cashman said a winning contract offer "doesn't guarantee anything." He noted that the Yanks feel like they're in a good spot to get who they want, but "it remains to be seen how it plays out."
The wait on Cole to decide could be long, with SNY's Andy Martino reporting earlier this week that he's expected to wait until after the new year to sign. Strasburg could sign sooner.
"In free agency these guys have their own decisions they need to make, a lot of competition for their services," Cashman said. "There's competition in the trade market, obviously, where you're competing with teams where you don't know who they are. Just like in free agency, you don't know who the competition happens to be. You can speculate all you want, just like the Will Smith signing today. Lightning strikes, a player comes off the board. You just gotta have your process down, your evaluations and preference lined up pretty good, make the recommendations to ownership and then they give you the sign of the cross to go ahead and try to execute."