‘Caught off guard’ Cashman runs to mend ties with Stanton, agent

Brian Cashman in his sleeping bag as he prepares for tonight's Covenant House Sleep Out in Times Square on Nov 17, 2023.

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Brian Cashman expressed astonishment at the unexpected reaction to his remarks regarding Giancarlo Stanton’s susceptibility to injuries. However, the general manager of the Yankees has since resolved any misunderstandings, engaging in discussions with both Stanton and his agent, Joel Wolfe.

Following Wolfe’s warning to free agents to have resilience while playing in New York, this gained particular attention as he represents Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Yamamoto is poised to be posted soon and is expected to become the premier free-agent pitcher on the market. Any tiff with Wolfe could put the Yankees’ pursuit of him in jeopardy. Subsequently, Cashman held discussions with both Stanton and Wolfe.

Cashman’s rescue act after self-goal

Cashman expressed his contentment on Thursday night, stating that he believes everything is well-positioned. This was conveyed before his participation in the annual Covenant House Sleep Out held in Times Square, aimed at raising awareness and funds for homeless youth.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Giancarlo Stanton

Cashman shared that he was taken by surprise about a week later when everything evolved into something unintended. He mentioned that his comments were not meant to provoke anyone; rather, he was simply responding to a question. Nevertheless, he emphasized his respect for both Joel, and more importantly, for their player, Giancarlo Stanton.

In response to the question of whether he had concerns about Wolfe representing Yamamoto, given the Yankees’ anticipated interest in the player, Cashman stated that he was not worried.

Cashman’s original statement was made during last week’s GM meetings, within a broader response addressing the influence of director of health and player performance, Eric Cressey.

He mentioned that Stanton would probably experience another injury, as it appears to be a recurring aspect of his game. Although Cashman praised Stanton as “a great hitter” when in good health, the initial segment of his statement gained widespread attention when reported on Monday, taking on a harsher tone when taken out of the broader context.

In response, Wolfe conveyed to The Athletic on Tuesday that he believed it served as a valuable reminder for all free agents contemplating signing with the New York team, whether foreign or domestic. He emphasized that playing for that team requires mental and physical resilience akin to being made of Teflon, as one must remain vigilant even during the offseason.

Cashman blames media

Yankees GM Brian Cashman is speaking to reporters on November 7, 2023.

On Thursday, Cashman expressed that he felt as though the coverage had spiraled out of control a week later.

Cashman mentioned that he was surprised by how the situation got twisted, turned, and played out. He acknowledged saying what he said and, as a result, engaged in conversations. Cashman emphasized his appreciation for Giancarlo Stanton as a player, highlighting Stanton’s contributions as a key driver for the team’s success. Despite challenges, Stanton has maintained a professional demeanor and showcased impressive performance, especially in postseason play.

Cashman expressed the team’s desire to have Stanton available consistently but noted that he initiated phone calls to both Stanton and Wolfe.

The incident was just one aspect of a hectic week for Cashman. Alongside maintaining communication with agents and executives regarding free-agent and trade prospects, the Yankees appointed James Rowson as the hitting coach on Monday. They proceeded with interviews throughout the week to fill the position of a new bench coach, made Rule 5 draft protections on Tuesday, and are currently confronted with the non-tender deadline on Friday.

The Yankees have the potential to take action before the 8 p.m. deadline, particularly considering the presence of six catchers on their 40-man roster. While veteran catcher Kyle Higashioka stands out as a prominent non-tender candidate, there is also the possibility of him being traded before the deadline.

A Yankees fan holds a FIRE CASHMAN sign at Yankee Stadium on August 5, 2023.

Cashman mentioned that it’s not a robust or deep position in the game, stating that many teams are expressing interest in their catching depth. He highlighted that it’s an area of strength for the team.

Regarding the Yankees’ potential acquisition of prominent players this offseason, including anticipated involvement with Yamamoto, Cody Bellinger, and Juan Soto (if made available by the Padres in a trade), Cashman stated that the team is consistently making efforts to do so.

He mentioned that they are actively approaching and engaging in discussions with those opportunities. He expressed that they would observe how the winter unfolds but affirmed their intention to have conversations with both significant and lesser-known possibilities.

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