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Yankees GM Brian Cashman talks Zach Britton, trade deadline, and Gary Sanchez

Cashman clued us in to the state of the Yankees and more.

MLB: Spring Training-Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday morning, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman held a conference call with members of the media. Cashman discussed a variety of topics, ranging from the Zach Britton deal and the MLB trade deadline, to Gary Sanchez and the team’s catching depth. I was able to hop on the call and provide some of the interesting takeaways.

On whether the Yankees pivoted from starting pitching to other trade deadline priorities…

“No, we have evaluated the available players in the marketplace, regardless of position, and just kind of assessed whether they could improve our ability to compete on a daily basis. [We want to] give Aaron Boone and the coaching staff as many weapons as they can possibly utilize for the ultimate goal. It’s taken us into position player conversations, it’s taken us into starting pitching conversations, as well as bullpen conversations. So, it’s just a manifestation of that.”

On if the Britton trade changes the desire to upgrade the starting rotation…

“We certainly would love to add to the rotation, but at the same time, we are evaluating the available players in the marketplace. We have Luis Cessa starting today [yesterday]. We have pitchers: Loaisiga eventually coming back, Justus Sheffield doing what he’s doing, Chance Adams. We have some alternatives that we can utilize or rely upon with a strong ‘pen. So that’s something we’re also analyzing versus the price tags that are being thrown our way on starting pitching options. It’s good that we reinforced the pen.

“I think strong organizations evaluate what they have within their system. That’s a strong fallback position for us as well. I feel like we have quality arms, some of which we haven’t tapped into just yet and haven’t deployed just yet at the major league level. But as we move forward we won’t be afraid to do so as necessary.”

On attempts to add an Orioles starting pitcher in the Britton trade…

“I’ve had several conversations with Dan Duquette. Dan and I go way back; we’re some of the remaining veteran executives of this game at this stage now. We have an upstanding relationship. We’ve had a lot of dialogue about a lot of different things, most of which obviously never happened. But Dan and I have been in contact about various interests that we both have with our respective clubs in the near term. But the only thing to show from any of those conversations is what we were able to complete last night. We’ll stay in touch on anything also that they might be trying to accomplish and see if it matches up what we have needs for, but I think they’re doing a good job in terms of the direction they’re plotting and addressing and hopefully we’re doing the same with us.”

On Britton’s role in the bullpen, pitching matchups, and adding salary…

“The man who makes those types of decisions, Aaron Boone, is probably better equipped to answer that. We just want to create an opportunity that, regardless of how a game is playing out, our manager has a chance to navigate with legitimate choices. You never want to be sitting there crossing your fingers, looking like you’re overmatched with a certain matchup, or certain matchups, as the inning plays out with the next two to three or four hitters in their lineup….”

“I think we’re doing everything we can just to try to arm Aaron Boone and Larry Rothschild and Mike Harkey with a lot of high-end quality choices, because you know, the teams, if we’re fortunate to get to the postseason, the teams and the lineups we’ll be up against are very impressive. And obviously very difficult.”

“We have to thank the ownership, and Hal Steinbrenner and his family for stepping up and allowing us to import someone on a rental basis like Zach Britton. [They let us] take on the remaining portion of his contract and allow us to fortify and improve. I think it just makes all of the options better.”

On if Gary Sanchez’s injury will force the Yankees into the market for a catcher

“We’ll see…

“Obviously Austin Romine has done a great job for us, and I think Higashioka has done a great job coming to be the backup he provided in the previous stint. Real nice pop, and I think he’s one of the game’s best receivers — framers — that’s his reputation before and I think he showed that in his major league timeframe. I think we’re very comfortable with that duo.”

“Like everything else, it’s my job to explore, protect, and to the degree we can, we’ll certainly look at all aspects. But seeing how other clubs have had to deal with that over the course of this season as well, I already recognize it’s a very thin position that’s not deep and that’s not easy to solve if there are issues there. I’m not optimistic that that’s a realistic option.”

On Sanchez’ timetable to return

“Thankfully what Gary has is a solvable health issue. It’s just a timing one. We’ll just have to wait and hopefully he’ll be in a better position when he returns, which will be the end of August or early September.”

On bullpenning as a strategy

“I think we’ve deployed it already. You’ve seen examples of it. You saw what happened in last year’s Wild Card Game. Sevy didn’t do well in that first inning, and we bullpenned it the rest of the way. Offensively, as well as our bullpen, allowed us to secure a win and move forward. That wasn’t a strategy, just kind of how it played out. I think we got eight innings, off the top of my head, out of the bullpen in the Wild Card Game last year. It’s clearly something a team can do.”

“If it’s the best avenue for any team to take versus the alternative, I’ll be willing to do it. We’ll be no different. It’s not something that’s on the forefront of our thought process. Our preference would be to have a strong starting rotation, that gets you deep into games, then turn it into a fresh, usable, high-ceiling, high-leverage caliber bullpen. That would be the perfect recipe.”