Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in roughly a month, which means that we’re more than halfway through the offseason. It is a new year, and it is time to start a new Brian Cashman approval poll. In January of 2016, 69% of PSA readers approved of the job that Cashman was doing over the offseason, compared to 72% in January 2015. Despite a mediocre start to the year, Cashman ended 2016 on a high note with an approval rating of 81% at the end of September.
Although the regular season is still several months away, it appears as though the Yankees roster is already set for Opening Day. In an interview a few days ago, Cashman indicated that he is "99.9 percent sure the Yankees are set." He expressed a similar sentiment around this same time last year. As always, it is important to remember that Cashman doesn’t have complete freedom over the moves that the Yankees make, and can only spend as much money as the Steinbrenners give him to play with.
Cashman’s first offseason move happened in mid-November when Brian McCann was traded to the Astros in exchange for pitchers Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman. It has been two months since that trade, and that remains the Yankees’ biggest trade of the offseason. Another small trade happened in November when the Yankees sent James Pazos to Seattle for pitcher Zack Littell. The Yankees also agreed to a third deal near the end of December when they traded Nick Goody to the Indians for a player to be named later.
Last year, Cashman had to rely entirely on trades, but this year the Yankees opened up their wallets and spent money on free agents too. With McCann gone, it became clear that the Yankees would need to find a designated hitter. In early December, the Yankees announced that they had signed Matt Holliday to a one-year contract worth $13 million.
A few days later, the Yankees signed Aroldis Chapman to the largest reliever contract in history, giving him a five-year deal worth $86 million. The move was not particularly surprising considering the fact that Cashman had been very vocal about wanting Chapman back after they traded him to the Cubs at the deadline.
The Yankees have yet to do anything in January, and the roster very well may be set for Opening Day at this point. If the roster is set, then Cashman was able to improve the team in some ways. The addition of Chapman certainly strengthens the bullpen, and Holliday should help the lineup. With Gary Sanchez set to be the starting catcher, there was no real need to keep McCann around as a backup.
However, the Yankees still need help in the starting pitching department, and Cashman was not able to make any improvements there in terms of MLB-ready pitchers. Granted, the free agency market is weak, and the Yankees have been unwilling to part with their top prospects to land any of the better starting pitchers who have been made available. It appears as though the Yankees are willing to roll the dice on a rotation where two spots are filled by some combination of Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Chad Green, and Adam Warren. Of course, there is still a small chance that the Yankees will make some other small moves to improve the team. Cashman could have a trick or two left up his sleeve.
If the roster stays at it is now, are you satisfied with the job Cashman has done over the offseason? Make sure to vote in the poll below and let us know in the comments section.