But Cashman said that Steinbrenner was not inclined “to line the pockets” of teams who qualify for revenue from the luxury tax pool. (However, the Yankees — of their own volition — have paid the Houston Astros $11 million over the last two years for taking catcher Brian McCann off their hands.)
Steinbrenner, in an interview on ESPN radio later Friday, was typically vague.
“As far as going over the threshold, that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I come to it,” he told the Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay. Steinbrenner added: “We’re going to leave no stone unturned. Every single option that comes across my desk we’re going to be considering.”
The Yankees will hold their organizational meetings this month, and next month Cashman will have a firmer sense of the trade and free-agent landscape at the general managers’ meetings next month. By then, the Yankees will have a better idea of what to expect from Gregorius, who is to have surgery next week.
Cashman said that he was not sure when Gregorius would return, but that he expected it to be sometime next season. Pitchers generally take 12 to 14 months to recover from the operation. Position players can sometimes recover in less time, though catcher Kyle Higashioka, who had Tommy John surgery in 2013, returned in a little less than 15 months.
Boone dismissed the possibility that Gregorius might return much earlier in the designated hitter’s role, saying there would not be much time between when he could swing a bat and when he could throw.
Replacing Gregorius, 28, will not be easy. The team’s strongest left-handed hitter, he had his best season this year, hitting 27 home runs, driving in 86 runs, stealing 10 bases and posting a .829 on-base-plus-slugging percentage while playing terrific defense. He committed just six errors.
As bad as the news of his injury was for the Yankees, it could be even more costly for Gregorius, who is due to become a free agent after next season.