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BOSTON — Brian Cashman is trying to jockey the Yankees into a position to come storming back in the race for the American League East.
The Bombers went into Saturday night’s game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park 5 1/2 games behind the division leading Rays and 4 1/2 back of the second-place Red Sox.
And no one feels there is a comfortable lead there.
“I don’t think you can sleep on anybody. This division has obviously proven that it’s a lot better than people thought it was going to be when the winter was completed,” the Yankees GM said before the game. “So it’s one of the tougher divisions out there. And it’s played out that way. And so right now we just have to internally tighten things up and try to find a way to do it because the talent’s there.”
Cashman, however, sees what is holding the Bombers back — and what can propel them back into the mix.
“And we have to find a way to tap into that on a more consistent basis, because there’s too many games where there’s a lot of frustration that you’re like ‘Wow, how, why did that happen? ‘or How did that happen?’ We left too many runners on base. We’ve had a lot of traffic without results, missed opportunity ... where you just go home unhappy,” Cashman said. “But at the same time, the flip side is more recently, it’s obviously been a lot better. And so you know, that we know what we’re more than capable of, but trying to consistently get that we’ve closed the gap. I know that the teams in front of us now are like, ‘Wow, here they come,’or they’re expecting us to come, but we just got to do it. I believe we will, and I believe we can, but it doesn’t matter saying it, you gotta do it.
“I’ve gotta do some things on my end to help them.”
Cashman said that the trade market has yet to develop and with the amateur draft, an event that takes the focus of the majority of the front office, being pushed back from June to July this year, he isn’t sure when teams will actually get down to business.
“I wouldn’t say there is any momentum, I don’t get a sense that there’s a feeling of action right now from the industry,” Cashman said. “It doesn’t mean that people can’t make a deal or will make a deal but it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of heavy activity ready to burst.
“I was talking to (Red Sox GM) Chaim Bloom a little bit just now and he got the same sense of there’s a lot of curiosity right now about when will that dam break, when will it really be full bore,” Cashman continued. “The closer you get to the draft, the less likely people will be engaged during that time frame, because you’re really going to be focused on nailing the draft. So I don’t know. I mean, clearly with areas that we want to try to improve upon. We’re open to a lot of ideas. We’re ready to win, but it doesn’t mean that the markets are ready to move yet either.”
Cashman said that the Yankees’ 7-3 run since he last talked hasn’t changed his approach. They still would like to make a move at center field and possibly some starting pitching. The offense could use some help too.
“I want to address certain areas that we spoke about already. And that’s going to be my effort. ... We have a lot of great individual players that just haven’t collectively put it together as a team on a consistent enough basis,” Cashman said. “You’re always trying to improve yourself regardless, but if we can bring [someone from the] outside that somehow makes it all come together and click that’d be certainly something that would benefit us. I’m going to try to do that.”