It doesn't take great detective work to figure out what New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is up to this week at the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona.
If you're looking at this mini-convention through the prism of a transaction wire, don't. Not a lot gets done that'll end up as a back-page headline. Wait at least until next month's winter meetings for your tabloid fix.
But the relative quiet shouldn't fool you, either. There'll be plenty of stealth activity.
Like most everyone in the industry, Cashman will be talking to agent Scott Boras to learn more about the winter's jackpot: right-handers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.
Among the teams expected to pursue Cole and/or Strasburg, none generates a more intriguing narrative than the Yankees. They have MLB's deepest war chest, which means they can pay Cole or Strasburg whatever their asking price might be. And make no mistake, the Yankees are hunting for big arms.
That isn't quite the company line, of course. A few weeks ago, Cashman absolved his pitchers for the American League Championship Series loss to the Houston Astros. Team owner Hal Steinbrenner issued the same pardon days later, telling Dan Martin of the New York Post: "I also think (the starting rotation) did a good job in the postseason. In the end, it was primarily a lack of timely hitting that was our downfall, resulting in too many guys left on base. My opinion."
But while the bosses were giving cover to the likes of Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and Luis Severino, pitching coach Larry Rothschild was summarily fired. He was replaced by Matt Blake, who had been promoted to be the Indians' director of pitching development only days before. Considering the Yankees also lured Tanner Swanson from the Twins to be their major league catching coach, you're left with only one conclusion: Cashman knows pitching indeed was an issue in 2019.