Surveying full spring squad, Cashman expresses optimism

Yankees GM hopeful roster of veterans, young players mesh into title contender

Surveying full spring squad, Cashman expresses optimism

TAMPA, Fla. -- After Brian Cashman watched the full squad of Yankees players assemble Thursday, the veteran general manager referred to his roster as a "potpourri" of bounce-back candidates and young newcomers, voicing hope that they will fit together for a run at a championship.

"I know this year is different, I guess, because we have some youth involved now, too -- but it marks the baseball season," Cashman said. "It's true of every camp.

"For the most part, I think you can look at every team and they need certain things, either guys to bounce back from injury, some young guys to step up, some of the new guys acquired to be what they had been. That seems to be true in every ballpark."

The Yankees have no shortage of questions coming into camp. Most prominently, starters Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda all had their 2014 seasons impacted by injuries, and the Yanks must bank that Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira can show more muscle at the plate.

The Yanks have spots in the bullpen to iron out, including making a choice between Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller as the club's fourth closer in four seasons. Didi Gregorius is replacing Derek Jeter at shortstop and it may take until the end of Spring Training to know exactly what Alex Rodriguez can provide.

"We have a lot of areas that we'll be focusing on as the season plays out, and you can't count on them in all cases answering positive," Cashman said. "But in most cases, if those declare themselves as positives, we have a chance to be a really good team and take a run at the title. But we've just got to wait and play it out."

On Wednesday, Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner told the New York Post that it would be "horrible" if the team missed the playoffs for a third straight season, and that dismissals and restructuring would be on the table if that occurred.

"I hope we don't miss the playoffs," Cashman said. "We're going to give it our best shot to be the last team standing. That's what our intention is every year."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.