Following a season in which the New York Yankees finished fourth in the division and traded away several big-name players for top prospects, GM Brian Cashman said he felt both proud and hopeful the team's youth movement will pan out.
"It's my job as general manager of the Yankees to be utilizing every tool in the tool box so we can be the best we can possibly be," Cashman told USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale. "I'm proud of the fact that we're not afraid to be open-minded at all times. I'm proud that the ownership has given me that freedom to do that, while also recognizing that, hey, we're the New York Yankees."
While the Yankees missed the postseason for the third time in four years and have yet to reach the World Series since 2009, Cashman hopes the moves New York made over the past nine months, which included trading Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran in an effort to shed payroll and acquire top-level prospects.
Several publications ranked the Yankees' organization as having the second best farm system in baseball with a number of top-100 prospects, including Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield, all of whom were acquired in deadline deals last summer.
The Yankees have been committed to their youth movement, opting to hang on to players like Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and Aaron Judge over the past few years with hopes they could become a core of the Yankees' next generation.
"We do believe we have a lot of guys who are going to be special," Cashman said. "But saying it means nothing. It's having them reach those peaks on their own.''
That said, that hasn't stopped Cashman from making splashes in free agency as well. He signed Chapman to a five-year deal after he became a free agent and also signed Matt Holliday to a one-year deal. There have been rumors and indications that the Yankees could make several big-name signings in free agency following the 2018 season, when Manny Machado, Bryce Harper and Matt Harvey headline a stacked free-agent class.
"It doesn't matter which way you do it,'' Cashman said, "no ring is any different than any other ring. Normally, it's always going to come on the backbone of a strong player development/scouting system. Obviously, we've imported players making a lot of money to finish that off, but the backbone is always the system."