- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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STAMFORD, CONN. -- After solidifying his pitching for next season, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman will start addressing the main culprit behind the team's early exit in the playoffs: the bats.
"Our pitching is pretty lined up," Cashman said after rappelling down a building dressed as an elf in Stamford, Conn. on Sunday. "I'm going to go from offense to defense now."
As baseball's winter meetings begin Monday in Nashville, Cashman heads in knowing that he has to make some additions to the Yankees lineup. He's lost starting catcher Russell Martin to the Pirates and outfielder Nick Swisher is a free agent and it seems highly unlikely that he is going to return. Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is also a free agent, although he's expressed an interest in returning.
"Obviously our offense has taken a hit," Cashman said.
While it seemed at one point that Suzuki's return was imminent, things have changed recently as the Yankees have focused on their pitching. Suzuki's agent, Tony Attanasio, has said the veteran has started talking with other teams. Suzuki thrived with the Yankees after being acquired in the summer, and seemingly would be a logical fit to return as a right fielder if the sides can work out a deal.
"That's market place," Cashman said of Suzuki's talks with other teams. "He's in the market place and is going to have action on himself. That's part of the gig."
While the winter meetings can spark trades and signings, Cashman acknowledged that the Yankees are usually not active at the meetings. He said the Yankees will try, but he doesn't want to get into a mentality where he has to do something as he believes that leads to mistakes.
Instead, Cashman said the Yankees have been active talking to players who have been non-tendered. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Yankees are the mix for outfielder Nate Schierholtz, but the general manager didn't comment if he's had talks with him.
"I wouldn't say who I've talked to but there's some non-tenders I've definitely reached out to and expressed an interesting in talking further with," Cashman said.
As Cashman goes to work on his offense, he's satisfied with his pitching staff. He's re-signed Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and Mariano Rivera recently and feels good about his bullpen. Cashman is pleased to have Rivera back for another year to anchor the ninth inning.
"Getting Mo back is obviously an important key," Cashman said. "He's had an amazing career and he's never had failure and I'm hopeful and I'm expecting that not to be the case either. He's going to be healthy by the time the bell rings and we look forward to him closing again."
As Cashman works on improving his team, his shortstop, Derek Jeter, has been in the headlines for photos seemingly showing him putting on some pounds as he rehabs his broken ankle. Cashman said Jeter hasn't reached out to him since, but the GM was able to laugh about it.
"It was very creative," Cashman said. "It was funny."