After a busy trade deadline, Brian Cashman was asked what had set off the trade frenzies that brought Andrew Benintendi, Frankie Montas, Scott Effross, Lou Trivino and Harrison Bader to the Bronx. The longtime Yankees general manager’s answer was quite simple.
“I mean we lost important personnel that helped generate that win-loss record,” Cashman said during a press conference after the trade deadline had passed. “We lost some really key guys. It’s our job to come up with answers to replace and fortify, and also assess if there are any areas of weakness. Ultimately our record through Aug. 2 won’t guarantee us anything in October. It’s the accumulation of talent and keeping it healthy and playing to the maximum ability.
“Just because we play exceptional baseball and win percentage through Aug. 1 … it doesn’t mean we get to kick back and relax and assume that it will continue that way.”
The deals to add the coveted starter, two relievers and two outfielders helped the Yankees fill deficiencies in their lineup and pitching staff, which has been especially hit hard recently. Luis Severino was placed on the 60-day injured list on Monday and Michael King was lost for the rest of the season in July.
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The Yankees are still waiting to see if they’ll get Zach Britton back at some point this season and Miguel Castro also found himself on the 60-day IL on Monday.
The Bronx Bombers had honed in on getting some help for their pitching staff and Cashman remained confident that his team’s starting rotation was strong enough going forward now, especially with Montas. Cashman also indicated to reporters after the deadline that he had been in play on adding another starting pitcher even after the Montas deal and the front office was “entertaining a lot of different concepts and ideas.”
“We went down swinging in the very end with a lot of different concepts and a lot of different ways to try and make it better and give ourselves the strongest roster possible,” he said.
The Yankees GM described the newly acquired starter as a top-of-the-rotation type caliber player and also pointed to the eventual return of Severino as a reason why he was confident in the starting group he had. Cashman also intimated that Clarke Schmidt could also compete for a rotation spot as well.
The Yankees did trade a rotation player just before the deadline by sending Jordan Montgomery to St. Louis, but Cashman wasn’t looking at the situation as a one-for-one change in the starting rotation.
“Is Montas an upgrade over Montgomery, I think the industry would say yes,” Cashman said. “But I didn’t acquire Montas so I could move Monty. … That’s what I get paid to do with our staff to make some tough decisions.”
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One tough decision that Cashman didn’t have to make during the deadline craziness was sacrificing some of the team’s top prospects. The Yankees general manager didn’t have to surrender names like Anthony Volpe or Oswald Peraza.
“Certainly we’re excited about the players that we have been able to retain,” Cashman said. “They’re obviously pushing towards the top end of our prospect list and we believe in their futures in this game and we think they’re impact players. Hopefully, they’ll be impact players for us, but at the same time, every deal we did came at a cost.”