NEW YORK – Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that he has spoken with Giancarlo Stanton and his agent to clear the air, adding that he was “caught off guard” by fallout from his comments regarding the slugger at the General Managers’ meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz.
In a testy group interview last week that spanned more than an hour, Cashman said that he believes Stanton is “going to wind up getting hurt again, more likely than not, because it seems to be part of his game.”
That remark prompted Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe, to tell The Athletic that “it’s a good reminder for all free agents considering signing in New York, both foreign and domestic, that to play for that team you've got to be made of Teflon, both mentally and physically because you can never let your guard down, even in the offseason."
Wolfe’s response seemed especially pointed because the agent also represents Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, whom the Yankees are interested in signing once he is posted. Cashman said that he believes any issues with Stanton and Wolfe have been squashed.
“I feel like things got spun out of control with the coverage a week later,” Cashman said in Times Square, where he participated in an annual Sleep Out event to raise awareness for Covenant House. “I had a conversation with Joel Wolfe, who I’ve known a long time, and also our player, Giancarlo Stanton. I feel like everything’s in a good spot.”
Stanton, 34, is coming off a disappointing season in which he slashed .191/.275/.420 with 24 home runs and 60 RBIs in 101 games. Cashman said his comments “weren’t intended to poke anything at anybody.”
“I value Giancarlo Stanton as a player,” Cashman said. “Without a doubt, he’s one of the big drivers when we do win. He’s one of the few players you bring to New York that hasn’t backed down, that has handled himself in a professional manner through thick and thin.
“He’s one of the few players that, when the money’s on the line – if you look at his postseason numbers, it’s pretty impressive. He’s a gifted, talented player. He’s a feared hitter. We’d love to be able to deploy him at all times.”
The Yankees have a busy offseason ahead, coming off an 82-win campaign in which they failed to qualify for the playoffs.
In addition to Yamamoto, Cashman has said the club is seeking at least two outfielders, preferably one who is left-handed. The Padres’ Juan Soto and free agents Cody Bellinger and Kevin Kiermaier are believed to be among their potential targets.
“We’re always trying,” Cashman said. “We’re knocking on those doors, we’re having those conversations. Hal Steinbrenner and his family have always run it the way that if there’s some opportunity worth pushing through on, they’re always there to allow that to happen. It’s really all about a team situation and how the collective all works together, so we’ll see how this winter plays out. But we’re going to have conversations about the big ones and the small ones.”
Asked specifically about Bellinger: “There’s a lot of free agents out there right now that can be a fit for us, and certainly a lot of trade options that can be a fit for us as well.”
Cashman said that he was preparing for a restless evening on the concrete while participating in the Covenant House event, in which he has participated for more than a decade throughout various New York City locations. Thursday marked the organization’s largest Sleep Out ever in recognition of Youth Homelessness Awareness Month.
“My first thought when I heard it was going to be Times Square [was], it’s going to make sleeping even more difficult because the lights don’t get turned off,” Cashman said. “There’s no way I’m going to sleep tonight, but that’s what this is about. You’re supposed to shine a light on what the struggles of what these people deal with on a daily basis, and they shouldn’t have to.”