Yan­kees GM Cashman looks to keep prospects

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ron­ald Blum

When teams dan­gle vet­er­ans for prospects this off­sea­son, Yan­kees GM Brian Cashman will do his best to say no.

When teams dan­gle veteran stars for prospects this off­sea­son, Yan­kees gen­eral man­ager Brian Cashman will do his best to say no.

New York missed the play­offs for the third time in four years and at 84-78 fin­ished four games out of an AL wild card.

The Yan­kees strug­gled to a 9-17 start, then im­proved in the fi­nal two months of the sea­son af­ter bring­ing up catcher Gary Sanchez, right fielder Aaron Judge and first base­man Tyler Austin.

First base prospect Greg Bird, a late 2015 sen­sa­tion, re­turns fol­low­ing shoul­der surgery, and more youth could bub­ble up from the mi­nors dur­ing the sea­son.

Right now, a veteran pitcher

such as White Sox ace Chris Sale prob­a­bly is not a good fit for the re­build­ing Baby Bombers.

“We have an ex­cit­ing, young nu­cleus that’s com­ing, Some of it’s ar­rived, some of it’s still com­ing,” Cashman said Wed­nes­day.

“You’d have to be one piece away, and I would not rec­om­mend that type of de­ci­sion-mak­ing as we ap­proach the 2017 sea­son. I think that would be a dan­ger­ous ap­proach.”

Cashman spoke for nearly an hour, as­sess­ing 2016 — “our of­fense was bad; we had a bad of­fen­sive team” — and de­tail­ing his ap­proach for 2017. He an­tic­i­pates com­pe­ti­tions among young play­ers for first base and right field dur­ing spring train­ing.

“There will be some hes­i­tancy to forego giv­ing the kids a chance to take it, and cer­tainly that can cre­ate some prob­lems if they don’t,” he said. “But that doesn’t pre­clude me from be­ing open-minded to any and all op­por­tu­ni­ties that present them­selves.”

Seven years re­moved from its last World Series ti­tle, the Yan­kees traded Aroldis Chap­man, An­drew Miller, Car­los Bel­tran and Ivan Nova for prospects dur­ing the sum­mer and re­leased Alex Ro­driguez.

They cut pay­roll to roughly $224 mil­lion and saved $2.38 mil­lion in lux­ury tax in the process, but still will pay about $26.5 mil­lion.

Yan­kees av­er­age home at­ten­dance dropped from 41,995 in Derek Jeter’s fi­nal sea­son in 2014 to 39,430 last year and 37,820 this sea­son.

Av­er­age view­ers on the YES Net­work fell from 288,000 in 2014 to 259,000 the fol­low­ing year to 218,000 this sea­son — Mets’ games on SNY av­er­aged 263,850 this year, up from 242,667 in 2015.

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