Making Sense of Day 1 of the GM Meetings: Rumors Galore
As the GM Meetings are occurring this week, most everything that a general manager says and does- or even what they wear– will draw extreme analysis into what, if anything, they are trying to convey.
Typically these meetings are reserved as times for the front offices of each major league baseball franchise look to set up a plan for their future- either immediate (see teams like the Braves, Dodgers, etc.) or in the coming years (see teams like the Marlins, Orioles, etc.) and to discuss other aspects of the game.
Deals happening during this time, while not uncommon due to the fact that all 30 GM’s will be in constant communication over the week- see: Mallex Smith/Mike Zunino trade last year– often get developed into a simple framework to be further discussed during the GM Winter Meetings, which this year will occur between December 9th and 12th.
Brian Cashman, the Yankees GM, has already come to this year’s meetings with more than a few quotes from Day 1 that we can analyze.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman the early leader in the ironic T-shirt competition. Strolled into the GM meetings witn a shirt that said OFF DUTY. — Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) November 11, 2019
It seems like most years there is a gimmick or line that gets repeated often during the GM Meetings (and the Winter Meetings) that seem to set a tone for a fanbase to get behind. At last year’s Winter Meetings, Cashman stated that the Yankees were a “fully operational death star” in regards to signing a Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.
At the time, it seemed like he was saying that the Yankees were going to go full ‘Evil Empire’ and outspend everyone else in getting one of the major 2018/19 offseason superstars. We only realized later that this meant they were fully operational in fielding a competent team, but not fully evil empire. I think RiverAveBlues twitter put it best:
The Death Star, while fully operational, wasn’t complete. It had a hole and was a fatal flaw that was used to destroy the Empire. — 🎅🏿 forever (@RiverAveBlues) January 4, 2019
We can only hope this ‘Off Duty’ shirt is truly a statement of irony. (As I think it is, because…)
Ownership and Gerrit Cole/Stephen Strasburg:
Brian Cashman confirms yankees will be in on Cole and or Strasburg. This ain’t Harper/Machado — Andy Martino (@martinonyc) November 12, 2019
I mean, obviously. How can you not be? All it takes to be ‘in-on’ somebody is talking to their agent. Even this (sample) conversation would suffice it to say you were ‘in-on’ them:
Cashman: “Hey Scott [Boras], I see both Cole and Strasburg are available in Free Agency.”
Boras: “That’s right Cashman, and I can tell you that Cole is going to want at least $300 Million to start.”
Cashman: “What about $150 Million over 6 years?”
Boras: “That’s far too low.”
Cashman: “Well, that’s my offer right now.”
It’s that easy. So, of course at least that is going to happen.
Brian Cashman, as I included in my review of his post-season press conference, went on the record talking about how he had pursued other pitchers in recent history: Patrick Corbin (2018/19 offseason), Justin Verlander (2017 trade deadline), even if he didn’t get them to come to the Bronx.
Cashman also said he has no directive from ownership to stay under the luxury tax — Andy Martino (@martinonyc) November 12, 2019
This however, is a different story, and a very interesting thing to let outsiders know. Even while the luxury rate threshold has been a number that the Steinbrenner’s have been holding near and dear to their hearts in recent years, I’m sure that has helped to haggle on some dollars and cents on more low-key acquisitions.
If I was an agent, upon hearing this would only help to elevate my ability to grab more money for my client from the Yankees- if they are interested- as they should be with Cole and/or Strasburg.
This is also why I hold the same stance as Marc Carig above about how the T-shirt is most definitely ironic.
But, still, I will hold some lingering doubts until I see a major signing happen.
More General on Cole and Strasburg (and more):
Brian Cashman on Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg: “Of course we’re going to talk to Strasburg. We’ll talk to Cole. We’ll talk to the higher end guys, clearly, and have conversations there and we’ll also talk about some surprise guys… It’s going to take two to tango.” — Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) November 12, 2019
I’m not going to beat a dead horse about Cashman’s comments on Strasburg and Cole, it’s abundant that it’s the move that the fans want. Instead, I’m more interested about Cashman’s talk of the ‘surprise guys’.
(Side-Note: Again comes another potential quote of the meetings in Cashman’s Tango with some Free Agents.)
So, who could some of these guys be?
It’s been speculated a lot already, but players in this realm look to be the likes of a 4/5th string pitcher on this team, behind the likes of Luis Severino, James Paxton, and Masahiro Tanaka (and a Cole/Strasburg too?).
Think: Rick Porcello (4.1 bWAR over the last 3 seasons), Rich Hill (4.8 bWAR), Alex Wood (4.3 bWAR), Jake Odorizzi (5.3 bWAR), or maybe even a Kyle Gibson (4.5 bWAR). All 5 of these guys (and some more SP FA’s) are all in that same ballpark of effectivity.
None of these guys are necessarily bad, but these would have to be secondary moves to fill-in pitching after signing a marquee free agent.
Final Note from Day 1:
Cashman mentioned Jordan Montgomery, Deivi Garcia and Michael King as up and coming rotation candidates if they don’t add from outside. — Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) November 12, 2019
This is another thing that I stated from Cashman’s end of the year press-conference, but if he doesn’t make a big splash, I could see this being his fall back on why he didn’t.
It’s smart business for him to do so, as he is clearly setting up the stage for this type of statement very early on.
From here though, we can only wait and see.