Cashman: “More likely” Yankees hold on to Gardner, Miller

Brett Gardner

While the Yankees continue to attempt to shake up their roster and the upcoming Winter Meetings with a significant swap, general manager Brian Cashman said Friday that the club will probably hold on to Brett Gardner and Andrew Miller, two of their most appealing trade chips.

“I think it’d be more likely that we keep them than move them,” Cashman said. “I say that recognizing that if somebody wants to ring a bell that I’ve put out there, then that could happen as early as tomorrow. But if I’m predicting anything, I’d predict that they would be here, not somewhere else.”

Cashman spoke between rappels down the side of Stamford’s 22-story Landmark Building, joined by MLB.com correspondent Lindsay Berra, Fox 5 sports anchor Duke Castiglione and FOX News meteorologist Rick Reichmuth as they prepared for Sunday’s ‘Heights and Lights’ winter celebration.

We’ll have a full rundown on MLB.com & Yankees.com shortly, but here are some quick hits from Friday’s chats:

Cashman’s expectations for the Winter Meetings: “Everybody is waiting for [Zack] Greinke to sign and [Jason] Heyward to sign and [Darren] O’Day to sign – I read that O’Day is holding up the relief market. On the free agent side, once guys start coming off the board you start seeing some things take place and move faster, but it’s hard to predict. It’s really hard to predict. It’s like the trade deadline: usually there’s just a flurry of activity. It’s been very, very, very busy with conversations. Doesn’t mean it will lead to anything. I’ve had so many conversations – it feels like more this winter than any winter – but I’ve only made one move which is the [Aaron] Hicks-[John Ryan] Murphy swap, and that’s because despite every conversation, either my opponents I’m dealing with or clearly myself are not willing to match. It might be good enough for me but not good enough for them, and vice versa. So we’ll keep running through it.”

Cashman on Ivan Nova’s value: “I think he’s an asset. If you see the marketplace out there too, the asset becomes even more valuable. At the very least a one-year guy that’s on his free agent drive, that’s healthy, that you know will give you 200 innings, and he’s probably going to wind up to have his best performance as he enters the free agent market so he can put himself in a great position to secure the best contract he possibly can. … As of right now, he’s valuable to me, no doubt about it, unless somebody makes me think otherwise. One thing I can write down: Who’s more likely to give me 200 innings next year? I would easily say Nova.”

Cashman on the Red Sox signing David Price:  “I wasn’t surprised. The rumor was the Boston was going to get him at all costs. That’s what you read, and that’s what happened.”

Cashman on the chances of signing a big free agent: “I think in terms of any significant, newsworthy type of acquisition, it’d be more likely to be on the trade front than a free agent signing. That doesn’t mean there won’t be something out of a free agent signing. But if you’re playing the odds, the odds are more likely for us to either make a trade, or not do anything. But we’ll see.”

Cashman on meeting with free agents in Nashville: “I don’t know if I’ll meet with any free agents. I definitely won’t meet with any free agent players. I’m not averse to meeting with agents, but I’m a big believer in having a productive use of my time, so I could just as easily have a phone conversation, rather than having to set up a sit-down meeting. I know the landscape I’m operating in, so I’ll just try to have to have a phone conversation rather than try to navigate that hotel.”

Cashman on Gary Sanchez as the backup catcher: “He’s going to take a significant run at it. I’m not promising him the position, but he’s clearly continued his domination of development, which has pushed him into the mix, and made me comfortable enough to trade from that area of depth, and move murphy to Minnesota. I didn’t want to move Murph. But the Hicks acquisition fits our needs as we move forward better. Gary gave us the comfort to move from an area of strength. And we still have Romine, so right now the competition would be between Romine and Sanchez, and if something presents itself between now and then.”

Injury updates: “[Mark Teixeira is] out of his boot. He’s, I’d say, healthy. He’s walking around, doing activities. I can’t say if he’s running yet or not so I can’t give you an update on that. [Masahiro] Tanaka is reporting for Japan this week at some point. He finished his physical therapy at the Hospital for Special Surgery under the tutelage of Dr. [David] Altchek. I think he’s scheduled to fly off to Japan sometime in the next week. He’s got a throwing program, so he should be good to go in the spring, but I’m sure we’ll be careful with him nonetheless.

“[Nathan Eovaldi] finished his rehab off and he was ready to pop on the roster if we were fortunate enough to get to Kansas City. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. So no, no concern. He’s got a normal winter routine that he can execute.”

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