New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is excited about the potential of the 2016 season and even more so about the future of one of baseball’s most storied franchises.
And while the team may be undergoing a youth movement Cashman insists that it won’t mean the Yankees aren’t expecting to reach the postsseason.
“We are in transition, but we’re not waving any white flags while we’re transitioning,” Cashman said. “That’s the balancing act that we’re taking. [This season] has a chance to be a pretty interesting year for us.”
“At the end of the day, you get a collection of talent, and your preference would be [to have] as much young, ready-to-go, plug-and-play players as you possibly can, but that’s not the reality of the situation,” Cashman said.
“You have to have the mixture of the veterans and young players and let them come together as a squad.
Hopefully we’ve given Joe Girardi and our staff down here enough talent that can stay healthy, mesh together really well and provide some exciting baseball for the next six months to push ourselves to the postseason again.”
Cashman believes in the abilities of pitcher Michael Pineda and that Jacoby Ellsbury can provide more at the top of the lineup.
“I just think he’s got a lot of ability that we certainly have seen in the past in championship-effort runs with Boston, and I still think there’s more in the tank with Jacoby Ellsbury for us,” Cashman said.
That may seem like Cashman is calling out Ellsbury, who has certainly fallen far short of the lofty expectations that come with the contract he signed with the Yankees a few years ago.
“Hopefully in 2017 we’ll see more of that, just like we need to see more of that from others on the roster, whether it’s a veteran or a still-emerging player like [Starlin] Castro or Didi [Gregorius]. … We think there’s more in the tank with those guys, too.”
With the World Baseball Classic on the horizon, Cashman noted that prospects will be taking advantage of the extra exposure and experience that the WBC provides.
“Every three years, regardless of whether we had a deep farm system or not, you’re in a situation where young guys start getting more exposure than they would normally get,” Cashman said. “And it’s great to see how they respond. It’s a great learning circumstance that will serve them better.”
While many Yankee fans and those covering the Bronx Bombers may be keeping one eye on this season and the other on the big offseasons of 2018 and 2019, Cashman remains focused on this season.
“We have the potential to be a championship-caliber team if we stay healthy and perform up to expectations,” Cashman said.
“Certain guys are obviously starting their careers and raise their ceiling sooner than later, then I think without question we can be a team to be reckoned with — and one not to be taken lightly.”