NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Day 1 of Major League Baseball’s winter meetings contained the usual array of rumors, the reports of rumors, speculation and buzz. Almost none of it was generated by the Yankees.
General manager Brian Cashman set the bar low entering these meetings in terms of activity and, at least one day into them, that bar was met. “I don’t even have a bad rumor for you involving the Yankees,” one opposing team executive said Monday. “Seems pretty quiet as of now.”
Quiet, of course, does not mean inactive. Cashman said before leaving for the meetings that trade dialogue had been “busier” for this time of year than at any other time he can remember. “There are things that are percolating,” he said Sunday night. “I just don’t know if they’re going to get to a level that we’re going to be able to complete something to our satisfaction.”
The Yankees’ offseason priority is adding depth for a rotation that on the surface looks deep but is filled with question marks. They then will explore better options at second base than the platoon of Rob Refsnyder and Dustin Ackley.
All indications continue to be that the Yankees won’t spend big on the free-agent market, so any significant roster upgrades likely will come via trade. Cashman has said all offseason that he’s “open to anything,” and he’s received plenty of calls on leftfielder Brett Gardner and closer Andrew Miller, his most tradeable commodities and the ones who could bring the most in return.
One rumor that gained steam Monday, though seemingly shot down later, was the Marlins possibly trading ace Jose Fernandez, a pitcher the Yankees and quite a few other teams checked in on. But Marlins president Michael Hill, according to the Miami Herald, said early Monday night of Fernandez: “He’s not available.”
Meanwhile, that the Yankees are even considering trading Miller — a long shot, to be clear — caught the attention of at least one AL East rival.
“That would be a nice guy for us to get. I don’t see that happening,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said with a smile. “You figure the Yankees are always laying in the weeds to do something. I’m sure they’ll make some moves.”
Notes & quotes: Cashman has said Gary Sanchez, who tore up the recent Arizona Fall League with a league-leading seven home runs and a .982 OPS that ranked fourth, will be given every opportunity to capture the Yankees’ backup catching job.
“He’s ready,” an opposing team’s talent evaluator said. “I have no problem with him being a No. 1 catcher. Especially with a guy that’s got that kind of power.”
On Monday, Sanchez, 23, was named to the AFL’s top prospects team.