Cashman: McCann Trade Gives the Yankees “More Choices”

The New York Yankees trade of Brian McCann could give the team the financial flexibility to make a big splash on the free agent market this offseason.

Reports indicate that the New York Yankees have shifted gears in the wake of the Brian McCann trade on Thursday and are now looking to make additions to beef up their 2017 roster. The McCann deal was very much in line with the series of veterans-for-prospects swaps the team made at the August 1st trade deadline this year, but it seems unlikely that a complete teardown is in the works this winter.

Instead, rumors suggest the move was largely a way to give Yankees general manager Brian Cashman some financial wiggle room to find upgrades on the free agent market. McCann was slotted to be the club’s primary designated hitter next season, and now that he’s gone, New York is free to bring in a bat that can hopefully provide more production out of that spot in the lineup.

After the trade, Cashman told James Wagner of the New York Times that the Yankees “want offense,” although he cautioned that they are not necessarily going to go after one of the biggest names. Interestingly, he did mention specifically that he had talked with representatives of the top bat on the market, Yoenis Cespedes, and said, “I’m sure we’ll talk again. Now that we have more flexibility, it gives us more choices.”

Cespedes seems like an odd fit for the Yankees given all of their current outfield options. Things will be crowded next year even if they do trade Brett Gardner as most analysts expect. Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier seem like the obvious long-term options for the outfield corners, and Jacoby Ellsbury is locked in through 2020 in center field. It’s possible they see Cespedes as a DH option, but that would seem to waste a lot of his value.

For less of an investment, the team could fill their DH spot for the next few years with one of the former Blue Jays boppers available on the market, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. Bautista especially could come at a bargain rate because of his advanced age and injury issues this season, but that makes him a greater risk as well. EE would probably be my preference out of these three big-ticket bats for his consistency.

It’s also possible the Yankees could use the savings from the McCann trade to add the top free agent starting pitcher, Rich Hill according to Buster Olney of ESPN. Olney also mentions their previously reported interest in bringing back Carlos Beltran to serve as their DH on a short-term deal.

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