Cashman’s goal for Yankees this year: ‘Another ring’

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. — General manager Brian Cashman knows the hype surrounding his team, understands it and embraces it to a degree.

But Monday morning, as the Yankees started their first full-squad workout, there were no declarations that channeled George Steinbrenner.

“I’m not going to say World Series or bust,” Cashman said. “I have too much respect for all the teams and players we have yet to go up against. It’s my job to provide as much talent as we possibly can to put us in the position to compete for that and let it play out. We’re proud of what we’ve done, but the goal is to win a world championship.”

Cashman was quick to point out, as he did throughout the winter after adding NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton to the mix, that the Red Sox are the defending AL East champions and the Astros, who beat the Yankees in the ALCS, are the defending World Series champs.

“Our first focus has to be more so the Red Sox,” Cashman said. “The best teams are in the American League. We know we have our work cut out for us.”

Adding Stanton and his 59 homers to a lineup that has Aaron Judge, among others, has created anticipation around the club not seen in a while, probably not since 2010 when the Yankees came into the spring as the defending World Series champion.

“I think there’s more excitement because of what we did last year and the addition of Stanton,” Cashman said. “No doubt the buzz from the winter and coming into the spring is a lot louder and more positive, and that’s our job. Our job is to put ourselves in position to be relevant and be considered championship-caliber and a contender. But Houston’s a great champion so it’s going take a lot to take them out.”

Though the roster looks solid top to bottom, Cashman continues looking for starting pitching depth and isn’t against adding a veteran infielder as insurance at second and/or third. Both positions are open competitions this spring with a pair of top prospects, Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, firmly in the mix as possibilities.

Cashman typically says it’s his job not to be comfortable with any given team, always on the lookout for landmines.

His concerns now?

“Injuries and then the competition,” Cashman said. “There’s a high respect level for Cleveland, Houston, Boston, amongst others. Minnesota made a lot of moves this winter, Anaheim’s done a lot. Listen, it’s a new landscape, new teams, new strengths, new weaknesses, we’ll see where it takes us. The biggest thing is staying healthy and making sure you can deploy the maximum amount of weapons you have on a daily basis.”

Regardless if they win it all this season or not, the Yankees’ franchise overall is as healthy as it’s been in years and seems poised to be at the very least an annual contender for the foreseeable future.

“We hope so but the goal is to find a way to win the next one, to need another ring is the goal,” said Cashman, the GM since 1998. “I need another ring. I’ve got rings but there’s other guys in there that don’t have a ring. Some have rings somewhere else, they want a Yankee ring. I think having a ring with an ‘NY’ on it means more than any of the other ones out there in my opinion. So ultimately and collectively we’re going to try and find a way to get that done.”

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