NEW YORK -- The hints of Brian Cashman's pessimism first went on display three weeks ago, as the Yankees' general manager opined that the Trade Deadline marketplace might not be of much use to his club this year.
The Yankees wanted starting pitching, bullpen help and bench pieces, but their calls yielded an underwhelming selection of available chips, coupled with teams hoping to pull away several of the team's top prospects.
Instead of caving, Cashman did what he has rarely done during his tenure in the GM's office, flipping his phone closed and allowing the 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline to pass with the Yankees standing completely pat.
"I was very involved with it. I explored every opportunity," Cashman said. "It just didn't lead to anything that was of comfort from my perspective, whatsoever. I didn't feel like I got close on any of it. I think the positions that were presented to me were easy to say no on."
It marked the first time since 2002 that the Yankees permitted the week of the Trade Deadline to pass without a tweak of some sort, and their first completely dark July since 1998.
Cashman said the Yankees were in touch about every player dealt this week, which included the most-discussed chip on the market, right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, whom the Rockies dealt instead to the Indians.
"You always want to improve on your pitching, but how realistic is it?" Cashman said. "Listen, I made the phone calls to 29 clubs, trying to see if we can pick off some of the talent that they might have."
Colorado tried to tap the Bombers' prized farm crop for Jimenez, requesting more than one player from a group that included left-hander Manny Banuelos, right-handers Dellin Betances and Ivan Nova, plus catcher Jesus Montero.
The Yankees discussed left-hander Wandy Rodriguez with the Astros, but those talks fizzled over cash, with the hurler owed $34 million through 2014. Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda stayed put with the Dodgers, and chats with the Padres about relievers Mike Adams and Heath Bell led to dead ends for the Yankees.
"I'm very comfortable telling you, what I saw out there and the price tags associated with it, I'm not sure if it was better than what we have," Cashman said, adding that he didn't want to "pay an inordinate price on something that I'm not certain what it's going to provide."
So when the dugout phone did not ring on Sunday with news of an acquisition, Yankees manager Joe Girardi wasn't surprised. From his conversations with Cashman and others, Girardi didn't anticipate a move was in store.
"I didn't expect one. I didn't really see one coming," Girardi said. "As I've said, I worry about the guys in that room, and they've done a great job."
For the most part, the Yankees' players shunned the trade talk leading up to Sunday. With the Deadline disappearing into the rearview mirror, outfielder Brett Gardner applauded management's decision to hold steady.
"What are we going to trade for? I don't have any good ideas," Gardner said. "I don't really know who we need. Everybody's been playing pretty well. You hear people talking about trying to get a pitcher, this and that, but I don't really see where we need one."
New York recently reinstated Bartolo Colon and Phil Hughes from the disabled list, as well as promoting Nova from Triple-A. Eric Chavez has returned, and they expect to have Alex Rodriguez healthy by mid-August.
While Cashman admits "we're in no-man's land" in predicting the future performance of Colon and Garcia, Cashman named Triple-A right-hander Adam Warren as another legitimate big league starting option.
They also may scour the waiver wire for help, as they did in 2009 by picking up pitcher Chad Gaudin.
"It doesn't mean we're done shopping, doesn't mean we're done looking," Cashman said. "We'll see where it takes us. I'm very comfortable with the decisions we made on the options presented. I like our team and I'll continue to look for ways that make it better."
An early step to that may have quietly taken place on Sunday, as Banuelos packed his bags after being promoted to Triple-A, perhaps under consideration to finish his season in the Bronx.
"We'll see," Cashman said. "It's time for him to take the next step."
One year after Montero was dangled to the Mariners for Cliff Lee, the slugging catcher remains one of their top talents, and Cashman commented that he has a chance to be a middle-of-the-lineup offensive force in the league for years to come.
"Let's put it this way: If Montero was traded this Trade Deadline, he would have been the best player moved by anybody at the Deadline, prospect-wise," Cashman said.
That deeper system made it easier for Cashman to consider a quieter avenue.
"I don't think we're in the position, as we have been in years past, where we might have had to go out and do something, no matter what," Cashman said. "It's nice to be able to say, 'We could do this and it might make us better, or we could stay in-house and that might make us just as good -- if not better."