With Yankees pitchers and catchers set to report to camp Tuesday, general manager Brian Cashman warmed up for the season with some spring training Q&A with Post columnist Steve Serby.

Q: Why should Yankees fans be excited about the 2017 season?
A: We’re assembling a crew of talent that some they know, but some they don’t know. And some of the unknowns have pretty exciting upside. And hopefully some of that upside will start arriving in a consistent manner as early as ’17.

Q: Has your farm system ever been in better shape than it is now?
A: It’s pretty strong and pretty deep, and I’d say probably starting to turn the clock back to the days when I was the assistant farm director and Brian Sabean was the scouting director back in the early ’90s. It hasn’t been this strong since the early ’90s.

Q: What can Gary Sanchez do for an encore?
A: If he stays healthy, I think an encore is just establishing himself not for two months but for six months as an above-average player on both sides of the ball at his position.

Q: What excites you about Sanchez at the plate and behind the plate?
A: Gary was born to hit — that is his calling card. He had to work extremely hard to translate his tools to work as an above-average catcher on the defensive side. He made that commitment and now he has a chance to hopefully hold this position for quite some time. He is just an exciting young middle-of-the-order talent.

Q: What do you want and expect to see out of Aaron Judge this year?
A: I think if Judge can win the competition, he’s certainly capable of hitting 30 home runs. He’s got big-time power. He does strikeout. He’s gonna give you above-average defense, he’s got a good arm. And on the offensive side, you’re gonna trade the strikeouts for home runs. I think if you give him 500 plate appearances, he’s gonna hit a lot of homers. But again, can he limit the strikeouts in his maiden voyage? But first he’s gonna have to win out a competition between first and foremost Aaron Hicks, and a Tyler Austin, Rob Refsnyder’s gonna want to push himself into the mix. … And got young guys knocking on the door like Clint Frazier, so who knows? But the more realistic combination is gonna be Judge versus Hicks.

Q: What excites you about Greg Bird?
A: I just remind people two years ago he was our No. 1 prospect in a system that included Gary Sanchez, who was one of our top prospects at the time. Bird was the guy that sat on the highest spot on our listings, and he’s got a beautiful swing from the left side. Yankee fans got the chance to see a little bit of his capability when [Mark Teixeira] went down in 2015. I just want him to turn the clock back and get back to where he was prior to that [shoulder] surgery. We believe and know he’s healthy now, and so now it’s about knocking the rust off and how soon can that be done? If he can hit the ground running and turn the clock back, then I think we’ve got a very exciting, young talented first baseman that will be manning that position for years.

Q: If everybody stays healthy, Sanchez, Judge and Bird are all potential 30-home run guys, aren’t they?
A: I don’t know about Bird — I think because of right field and he’s left-handed, yeah, I guess that’s possible. They’re certainly all capable of approaching that if they’re playing at their best of their abilities, but Bird never hit 30 in the minor leagues so it’s hard to project him to hit 30 in the big leagues. I think definitely all three of ’em are 20-plus.

Q: Do you have enough left-handed power?
A: We have enough lefty hitters in our lineup, but we do not posses those big, hairy monsters from the left side that we are used to — the power is significantly stronger from the right side at the moment.

Q: Describe first baseman/outfielder Tyler Austin.
A: Obviously the Chris Carter acquisition is gonna compromise his initial efforts, so to speak, because he’s gonna be on the club, and the first-base playing situation, he’ll still be competing, but he’s hitting from the same side as Carter, so he’ll try to compete in right field with Judge and Hicks. He’s capable of a lot, there’s no doubt about that, it’s just he’s not as good a defender in the outfield, his best position is first base. So I’m not sure right now what to expect from Tyler. I know he’s gonna compete, and he’ll either find a way to make our 25-man roster or he’ll go to Triple-A and be waiting in the wings.

Q: Outfielder Clint Frazier.
A: He’s a very confident lad. He’s just someone who’s gonna get his uniform dirty, there’s no doubt about that. He’s got power and he’s got speed and he’s got confidence. He’s conquered every level thus far on his pro career, but he’s yet to conquer Triple-A, got exposed to that the second half last year. He’s got to establish himself at Triple-A and dominate that league for a period of time before I think he’d get serious consideration at the big league level, but I know he’s a man on a mission and he’s looking to find a way to open everybody’s eyes. This will be his first big-league camp in his career. He never went to big-league camp with the Indians.

Q: Pitcher Luis Severino.
A: Our hope is that he re-establishes himself as one of the top young starters in the game. He had that label and value until last year’s performance, which I’m sure was a learning experience for him. So I’m looking forward to him re-establishing that pedigree.

Q: What is Didi Gregorius’ upside?
A: I know our guys still think there’s even more in the tank. He’s obviously exceptional defensively. Really established himself as someone that can hit both righties and lefties. He showed up with 20-home run power last year. He’s so physically gifted that I know [hitting coach] Alan Cockrell believes that there’s more in the tank there.

Q: How do you determine whether a young player has the right makeup for New York?
A: You ask a lot of questions. … Your scouts are somewhat trained to see how they go about their business in another environment. But you talk to as many people that are around the player as they possibly can to get to know the player’s mental toughness, how they interact in the clubhouse, with their teammates, with the media, how they handle adversity, how they react to the adversity to determine the best guess. But it’s ultimately a guess, because unless someone’s playing in Boston, New York or Philadelphia, there’s no true test that will prove out whether a player can handle it or not. So at the end of the day, you take your chances with whoever you bring here. It’s a tough environment. It’s not something that everybody can handle. There are Hall of Famers that had tremendous careers but they could not handle New York.

Q: What has enabled you to handle New York?
A: I grew up in this environment. I didn’t come outside the organization as a general manager somewhere else, and wasn’t, I guess, formed and established. I wasn’t exposed to conditions doing this job in another city. I grew up in this city professionally, and worked under a lot of great mentors. I saw how Gene Michael, how Bob Watson, Bob Quinn — I can roll off all these GMs I worked for — Woody Woodward, Clyde King, Syd Thrift, to name a few. I saw what they went through and how they had to go through what they went through and deal with controversy and deal with trades that worked and trades didn’t work, teams that worked, teams that didn’t work, answer to their owner and to the fans. So I had a chance to see that play out and learn from it. So the best way for me to approach New York is to recognize there are no secrets, don’t lie to the press, be accessible, be honest with your players, with your personnel, with your ownership, and obviously with your fan base. And then take the good with the bad. Take the slings and arrows if they’re deserved,

Q: How do you deal with the stress of the job?
A: That’s probably why I’ve jumped out of airplanes and rappelled off buildings (chuckle) and stuff like that. I try to make sure I enjoy life to the best of my ability, because this is ever-present every day, morning noon and night. That’s never gonna change, that doesn’t stop and it shouldn’t stop. But how do I deal with it? I just live life to the best of my abilities.

Q: How challenging or energizing is it rebuilding on the fly?
A: I think it’s just what we need to do. I think you try to approach every year with a game plan. You gotta have an honest estimate of where you are and what you are, and then react to that. And this is just a natural reaction to the reality of where we currently sit. And if you approach it that way, I guess if you’re out sailing and you see a storm on the horizon, you adjust. You adjust the sails and plan accordingly. That’s what we’re doing. We’ve had a lot of success, we had some failure. That old adage what’s up must come down, what’s down must come up. We’re looking for that rebound for our franchise to get back to where we were. But there’s a process that you need to take to get there, and we’re just trying to approach it based on the reality on what we are right now.

Q: How difficult is it for you to remain patient?
A: It’s not difficult at all. The only way for us to be successful is to string together every decision you make it the right one. But the ultimate goal of every decision has to lean towards the future being brighter and getting you closer to that next world championship. And if we do that, and we do it consistently, we’ll be served well with that, that type of process.

Q: What are the biggest similarities between Hal and The Boss?
A: Well, they’re Steinbrenners. That means everything we’re doing, even as we’re mapping out a strategy for this youth movement that we’ve got, which is the right, appropriate strategy to have, we still have to win at the same time. Hal’s got that Steinbrenner side of, “We have to win In New York,” and that’s why other franchises can game plan, strategize to purposely lose and approach 100 losses in a year, that’s not an approach we’re gonna take. That’s obviously something the Steinbrenners, they’re not gonna allow you to go off the cliff. Winning is vitally important to them.

Q: What makes your relationship with manager Joe Girardi work?
A: Good, honest dialogue. I think we both are genuine with each other, honest with each other, and o understand what his job description is and I think he understands mine, and it allows the respect factor to be very strong, and there’s a lot of understanding.

Q: You’re on a one-year deal. How secure do you feel and do you feel pressure to win another world championship?
A: I think being a graduate of Steinbrenner University, I grew up as an intern all the way to where I am currently, you’re trained never to feel secure. I think if you ever feel secure, then it’s probably time for you to go. I’m an employee and … tomorrow’s not guaranteed. I want to win another world championship, it’s not pressure, that’s the goal. That’s why you do this job. So I don’t feel pressure to win, that’s what drives me, I’m trying to win. And obviously, there’s a lot of different ways to climb that mountain, there’s a lot of different obstacles to get from A to Z for every organization, but the ultimate goal is to be that last team standing, and I’ve been there, and I want to get there again, and that’s my drive. I don’t know how long it’s gonna take, but I intend to get back there and win another world championship.

Q: Are the playoffs realistic for this 2017 Yankees team?
A: I think it’s possible. Obviously if we stay healthy, and most of the roster performs up to their projected ceilings, then I think we have a shot.

Q: What would you tell Yankees fans who are concerned about the rotation?
A: I understand. We’ve tried to address it. Pitching wasn’t our problem last year as much as our offense was, but at the same time, pitching is the key to the kingdom and obviously the recipe for success. We’re gonna be counting on [Masahiro] Tanaka, [Michael] Pineda and CC [Sabathia] again, and there’s five younger players that are gonna be competing in the rotation between [Luis] Cessa, [Chad] Green, [Adam] Warren, Severino and [Bryan] Mitchell. And it’s my job to continue to add to that if there are possibilities that are realistic that align with our interests. In the meantime, we have a lot of good arms, and hopefully [pitching coach] Larry Rothschild can get the most out of those guys if that’s possible, and I think we’ll be OK.

Q: Who might be a sleeper starter?
A: There’s a kid, Chance Adams, that was really dominant in A-ball and Double-A last year, and he may very well be our best pitching prospect, if he can continue with the stuff he had in Double-A into Triple-A, he’s someone that could be knocking on the door. James Kaprielian was a No. 1 pick in 2015 for us and missed all of 2016 [because of an elbow problem]. He’s someone I know is interested in pushing himself into the mix as well, so he is certainly.

Q: Describe your outfield defense, bench and middle relief.
A: I think our outfield defense is above average, without a doubt. The bench is good. I think we have a good backup catcher in [Austin] Romine, [Ronald] Torreyes was a good pickup for us last year — he can spell at short, third, second. I think we have enough young players that have a lot of ability that I think there’ll be some interesting choices for us toward the end of the spring but we just have to see how these competitions play our first and foremost. Chris Carter will give us a big boost for that bench, too. Middle relief I think we’re gonna have a lot of quality arms to choose from. I think we’ll be able to bridge it fine. I think it’ll be good enough.

Q: What do you think of the AL East?
A: I’d say Boston is the team to beat. I think the AL East is the best division in baseball. I thought it was last year. There is no easy breather team in this division. I think from top to bottom, it’s gonna be a dogfight.

Q: What is your impression of what Bill Belichick has done with the Patriots?
A: Just truly remarkable. The one constant is Tom Brady, but past that, the roster is turned over and changed many a times. He’s just had an incredible run in New England and one of the greatest coaches in sports history. I certainly have a lot of respect for what that organization has done, and he’s obviously leading it.

Q: Describe The Yankee Way.
A: I think we’re about winning. Listen, we’ve got more world championships than anybody else [27]. But despite having that reputation, we obviously haven’t won every year, we don’t have 100 championships for the length of our franchise. But when people associate what the New York Yankees represent, they represent an effort towards excellence, and a drive towards excellence. So I think the Yankee Way is about trying to find a way to be successful even though you don’t continually get that success but the effort’s constantly there. So I think there’s an understanding and respect from the sporting world and not the sporting world that the Yankees compete to win,

Q: Who are some of the unsung heroes behind Brian Cashman?
A: I’m lucky, because I’m in a position to hire people that are smarter than me — whether it’s our assistant GM Jean Afterman, she’s a lawyer, tremendous negotiator. I have an incredible analytic mind in Mike Fishman. He’s also an assistant general manager, he had previously been our quantitative analysis director, one of the great bright minds in the game that’s transformed how I see the game by educating me about statistics, numbers and data. Tim Naehring is one of the best evaluators in all baseball. I have a team behind that team of really remarkable bright people that have served us extremely well as we transition out of these back-loaded contracts and older players and they’ve allowed us to map out a healthy strategy to get us close to that next championship. Our pro scouting director Kevin Reese, amateur scouting director Damon Oppenheimer and international scouting director Donny Rowland have all been guiding us to the best talent possible that we can acquire, and Gary Denbo is doing a tremendous job as director of player development in molding that talent into future major league players.

Q: Are there similarities between The Boss and Donald Trump?
A: They do it their way, and take no prisoners (chuckle). I think they’re very similar. I never worked for Donald Trump, but I know you don’t pick up success like he does without doing it your way. The guy I worked for knew what he wanted, and didn’t care who was in his way to get from A to Z. He just cared about getting from A to Z, and I get the sense that that’s how Donald Trump approaches things. He sees where he wants to go on the horizon, and he’s gonna get there, and that’s the bottom line is, “How am I gonna get from Point A to Point Z?” and everything else in between’s not gonna matter as long as he gets to where he wants to go. I’m not talking about the presidency. … It’s a man with a plan, and the end game is whatever he has established, and just find a way to get there. And that’s the way George Steinbrenner was too. It might not be a delicate touch, but the results are the results.

Q: Do you know him at all?
A: I’ve met him, I can’t tell you I know him. He’d come up and sit with George, he’d come to the box. George actually asked me to call him one time. I covered the ground that George asked me to cover with him. I was appreciative that he actually took my call, because Donald Trump has always been Donald Trump, he’s always been a titan, so I felt a little uncomfortable calling a titan that I didn’t know. I wasn’t even sure if he’d take my call or not, but he did, I’m sure out of respect for George Steinbrenner.

Q: How much do you miss being a world champion?
A: A great deal. That’s all this is about is a race against time accumulating as many championships as you possibly can before you don’t have that opportunity anymore. Tomorrow’s never promised. You’re on the clock in trying to add to that trophy case. And I’m proud of what we’ve done, but I want more, and we need more, and the fans deserve more.

Q: How much sleep do you get?
A: It varies. Probably not enough. Everything we do, especially if they’re big, they’re still not easy decisions. Even the ones that work out well, they keep you up at night because it’s vitally important that every decision we make somehow pays off for this franchise. That’ll make you toss and turn because you know there’s Yankee fans worldwide, not just in the tri-state area are counting on us in getting the job done.

Q: But you wouldn’t trade your job for any other job would you?
A: I’m so focused on trying to do this job that I don’t think about any other job. I don’t think of it that way, I just think of trying to do it to the best of my abilities, for all of us.

Q: What message would you want to leave to Yankees fans?
A: We’re going in the right direction. Better days are ahead. I like the trajectory that we are on, and I think we’re going in the right direction. It doesn’t mean there’s gonna be tough times ahead regardless, but I like the direction that we’re taking and I thought the decision-making in the summer was vitally important for this franchise and I think we’ll be better for it all going forward.

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