TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Yankees never talked dollars with Manny Machado when he visited New York with agent Dan Lozano in December.
“The free agency process leads people to where they belong, and Manny belongs in San Diego at this time of his career,” Cashman said Friday, a day after the Padres and Machado finalized a $300 million, 10-year deal. “We had some interest in him. That’s why we spent some time engaging Dan Lozano during the process. We certainly had a good meet and greet. I really the enjoyed the company of Manny and his wife.”
And don’t expect New York to pursue Bryce Harper.
“Regardless of who the next big free agent is and where they ultimately sign, the message from my perspective as general manager of this club for a long time is we like our club,” Cashman said. “We’ve got a special group of people. We’re one of the teams that I think have a legitimate shot to do something like be the last team standing in and celebrating.”
New York added shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for the major league minimum of $555,000 after he was released by Toronto, which owes the majority of Tulowitzki’s $20 million salary. Tulowitzki is projected to start at shortstop until Didi Gregorius returns from Tommy John surgery this summer.
Cashman said the emergence of third baseman Miguel Andujar and the desire to fill open bullpen spots factored in New York’s offseason decisions.
“We had areas of this team, a lot of areas on this team we wanted to try and address,” Cashman said. “We have a young third baseman in Andujar that we believe in. It gave us the ability to have a lot of different choices.”
After going 100-62 in Aaron Boone’s first season as manager and finishing second to Boston in the AL East, the Yankees also added left-hander James Paxton, reliever Adam Ottavino and infielder DJ LeMahieu while re-signing pitchers CC Sabathia, J.A. Happ and Zack Britton along with outfielder Brett Gardner.
“We’re comfortable with the path we walked,” Cashman said.
Right-hander Luis Severino agreed to a $40 million, four-year contract earlier this month, a deal that raised New York’s raised projected luxury tax payroll to about $225 million, well above the $206 million threshold.
Gregorius, outfielder Aaron Hicks and reliever Dellin Betances are eligible for free agency after this season. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez will become eligible for salary arbitration next winter.
“We’re spending a lot of money,” Cashman said. “We’re spending a ton of money. We spent more than most. We have a very significant finanical committment to the team that’s already on the field, and it was how to address the needs of that team in the present and create flexibility as we move forward in the future.”
The 20-second pitch clock will be tested during spring training.
“I don’t think players are going to have to make some massive adjustment,” Boone said.
Boone said the loser of the first base competition between Luke Voit and Greg Bird could start the season in the minor leagues. ... OF Clint Frazier, coming back from a concussion last season, will start in left field on Saturday. “I’m ready,” Frazier said.
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