After a quiet offseason in the Bronx, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has undergone scrutiny from angry fans for failing to strengthen the team's roster as the free agent market has been drained of quality players. However, Cashman still believes the Yankees have a competitive team and will continue looking to improve the roster up until the trade deadline.
"I have until now and the trade deadline to solve all issues, and everybody usually has some area of vulnerability," said Cashman, regarding those doubting the job he's done this offseason. "We obviously have some that we need to shore up. I think the pitching staff's not one of them at this stage, and we have a lot of quality players we are going to be running out there. So I'll have some time between Opening Day and May 21st or whatever to continue to look for ways to shore up and improve those areas, such as the bench and a right-handed bat for the outfield, that currently stand out."
Though many critics have blamed Cashman for the lack of acquisitions this winter, New York's Front Office is working to lower the team's payroll to $189 million before the 2014 season, leaving Cashman with a limited budget to work with.
Earlier this winter the Yankees were rumored to be interested in Scott Hairston, Vernon Wells, Michael Morse, and even Justin Upton. However, a lack of trade pieces and unwillingness to take on multi-year deals has prevented them from acquiring any proven Major Leaguers. With Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, and Ichiro Suzuki all starting in the Yankees outfield and batting left-handed, the Yankees are looking for a right-handed hitter to platoon at the corner outfield positions and replace Nick Swisher's offensive production. Swisher signed with the Cleveland Indians earlier this winter after driving in 93 runs last season in pinstripes.
Currently the Yankees have a handful of options ready to compete for the fourth outfielder spot in spring training, including Matt Diaz, Thomas Neal, Russ Canzler, and minor leaguers Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte, who impressed last spring.
Free agency has now slowed down, with just one elite free agent, Michael Bourn, left on the market, but Cashman continues to work hard looking for any options that could potentially help the Yankees win games in the future.
"I'm in the marketplace both with free agents and trades, and I'll stay that way, with available players and have conversations, whether it's a non-roster invite or actually a Major League acquisition in some form or fashion," Cashman said. "I mean, I'm open for it. Clearly, everything that's taken place so far, either we passed on or they passed on us. We just keep working on it and see where it takes us."
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