He spoke to reporters, including Brian Cashman The Athletic’s Chris KirchnerFor the first time since the Yankees’ ALCS loss to the Houston Astros. Cashman future It was among the topics discussed, but the GM also took the time to offer some insight into various game details.
Aaron JudgeHis future with the organization is the biggest question heading into the off-season, and Cashman said he would likely make a deal soon if the team were to re-sign him. Judge is the favorite for AL MVP after hitting 62 home runs and posting a .311/.425/.686 slash line. The worst-case scenario for the Yankees would be to lose Judge after free agency drags on for a long enough off-season and likely replacements are signed elsewhere, so it would make sense for Cashman to opt for a trade full speed ahead.
“He’s going to dictate the dance steps to free agency because he’s earned the right to get there,” Cashman said. “We’ll see how it works. He is the most important. If he comes in here today and says ‘I’m signed up’. let go; There is still work to be done.”
Cashman wouldn’t offer much insight into the process, saying “no comment” when asked if the Yankees and the umpire have had discussions since the end of the season. For Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, he pointed out, it was even more of a decision. Cashman has said he clearly wants Judge back, but the final decision will fall at Steinbrenner’s feet on how big of a contract he’s willing to give.
DJ LeMahieu He struggled with a foot injury late in the regular season and was completely gone after the postseason. The Yankees haven’t stopped moving forward to deal with the injury during the offseason, but surgery remains on the table. LeMahieu is hitting a .261/.357/.377 line this season with 12 home runs, just short of his MVP-level offensive output for the Yankees in 2019-20. The Yankees hope that a full recovery from the injury will allow LeMahieu to post better offensive numbers, but he will be 35 in 2023 and it’s probably not unreasonable to expect much of a rebound for the veteran. With four years and $60MM left on his contract, he’ll almost certainly return to the pinstripes, but where he fits is up in the air and could depend on how he plays in the offseason.
LeMahieu played a lot of first base with the Yankees, but that has since become less of an interest. Anthony Rizzo He joined the team last season. it is. It has already been reported Rizzo is expected to decline his 16MM player option for 2023. Not much of a surprise since Rizzo is having a solid season and is expected to benefit from shift restrictions next year. If Cashman opts out, the Yankees have said they would like to re-sign Rizzo. That could come in the form of a qualifying offer, but Rizzo could turn that down for a multi-year deal.
The left side of the field drew a lot of criticism during the season and especially during the playoffs, but Josh Donaldson And Isaiah Kiner-Falefa Both are controlled through 2023. Donaldson is owed $21.75MM, Kiner-Falefa is in the final year of arbitration and MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz is projected to make $6.5MM. Donaldson ranked eighth among third basemen in outfield average, but he struggled with the bat, hitting just .222/.308/.374 with 15 home runs. Keener-Falefa was never expected to be a big hitter, but the defensive metrics have mixed in his glovework and he’s only 28th in runs saved against defense at shortstop. While a third-base change may be difficult for Donaldson’s significant salary, Cashman has left the door open for a change in the short term, especially by showing off his impressive starters. Oswaldo Cabrera And Oswald Peraza He lowered the stretcher. The Yankees also have high hopes. Anthony Volpe Getting to the basics.
“I think Keener lived up to our expectations,” Cashman said. “It gave us an opportunity to close the gap as our kids continue to grow because everyone in the industry, fans and teams, realizes that we’re growing and we need some more impactful prospects.”
In other information provided at Cashman’s press conference, he said he would not discuss players but the outfielder. Aaron Hicks He felt he would come back and that the team still had something to offer. Hicks hit .216/.330/.313 in his age-32 campaign, and has $30.4MM and at least three years left on his contract. It’s worth adding the admin here. Aaron Brown He said he wants to use it today Giancarlo Stanton In the field twice a week next season. Stanton has mostly been played as a late hitter, but inserting him regularly into the outfield depth chart will affect Hicks’ playing time.
The Yankees also hope to bring back pitching coach Matt Blake. Blake, who was hired from Cleveland in 2019 after the Yankees parted ways with Larry Rothschild, is out of contract. The Yankees are third in team ERA at 3.30 this year behind the Dodgers and Astros.