The Yankees entered Monday with a talented, injury-riddled roster. And that’s still what they had after Monday’s trade deadline.
General manager Brian Cashman said he explored numerous deals and was looking for starting pitching, but came away empty-handed — in part because he was still looking toward 2021 and beyond.
“Without a doubt, the effort was to try to get — whether it was a controllable starter moving forward or even a short-term starter — to continue to give ourselves a better chance,’’ Cashman said Monday. “But the price tag associated was usually a subtraction of an impactful player that was currently playing a role or anticipated to play a very important role for this franchise in the present or immediate future.”
So the likes of Lance Lynn of the Rangers and San Francisco’s Kevin Gausman stayed put, while another potential Yankees target, outfielder Starling Marte of the Diamondbacks, went to the Marlins.
That leaves the Yankees betting their injured stars will get — and stay — healthy in time for them to make a postseason run.
“I’m very comfortable not doing what was being asked of us, but you’ve got to go through those motions,’’ Cashman said.
Cashman and Co. have had to count on some players who might have seemed expendable if the team was at full strength, whether that’s Clint Frazier in the outfield, filling in for Aaron Judge, or Deivi Garcia bolstering their rotation with his impressive MLB debut Sunday.
Without mentioning individual players, Cashman made it clear his focus wasn’t simply on 2020.
“The names that were necessary to execute certain things are names we are going to rely on in the present, as well as the future — and that means the near future,’’ Cashman said. “We feel we have a team that can compete for a title this year when we’re at full strength and we feel we will have a team that can compete, as well, going forward next year and beyond for the same reason.”
Cashman and Aaron Boone were hopeful left-hander Zack Britton would return from his hamstring injury in the coming days and Gleyber Torres could also be back before too long.
The outfield situation is a bit murkier, with Aaron Judge (calf) out for at least a few more weeks and Aaron Hicks dealing with cramped calves on Sunday — although Boone said again Monday Hicks was OK.
Asked if he was taking a “leap of faith” in terms of the team’s health considering their continued issues, Cashman said, “Leap of faith or not, I believe for us to be what we’re capable of being, we need those guys to come back, anyway, whether I made an addition or not. Because I can’t acquire something on the level of a Gleyber Torres or Aaron Judge, anyway.”
Boone also remained confident in what his team already had.
“We look forward to this now being past us and we can get on with it and I think everyone in our clubhouse knows what we’re capable of,’’ Boone said of the deadline before the Yankees began their series against the first-place Rays in The Bronx.
“It’s important to continue to get guys to trickle back in,’’ Boone said. “We feel we have a group capable of being a championship team and that continues to be our goal, even as we weather through a time that’s been a little bit difficult for us. … Certainly, when we’re whole, feel like we have a special group.”