Yankees’ Brian Cashman clears air with Giancarlo Stanton, agent after injury-prone comments

Brian Cashman was surprised his comments about Giancarlo Stanton being injury prone created the delayed stir they did.

But the Yankees general manager has cleared the air in the aftermath, both with Stanton and his agent, Joel Wolfe.

After Wolfe issued a warning of sorts about free agents needing thick skin to play in New York — which was especially notable because he represents Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who is set to be posted soon and become the top free-agent pitcher on the market — Cashman spoke with Stanton and Wolfe.

“I feel like everything’s in a good spot,” Cashman said Thursday night before participating in the annual Covenant House Sleep Out in Times Square, which raised awareness and funds for homeless youth.

“I was caught off guard, about a week later, when everything became something that was never intended,” Cashman added. “My comments weren’t intended to poke anything at anybody. I was just answering a question posed at me. But regardless, I got a lot of respect for both Joel but more importantly for our player, Giancarlo Stanton.”

Sleep Out in Times Square, said he was surprised his comments about Giancarlo Stanton being injury prone received such backlash.
Brian Cashman, participating in the Covenant House Sleep Out in Times Square, said he was surprised his comments about Giancarlo Stanton being injury prone received such backlash.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Asked whether he was worried about Wolfe representing Yamamoto in light of the situation — the Yankees are expected to be one of the many teams in pursuit of him — Cashman said he was not.

Cashman’s initial comment came last week at the GM meetings, as part of a longer answer about the impact of director of health and player performance Eric Cressey.

He said Stanton was “going to wind up getting hurt again more likely than not because it seems to be part of his game.” While he went on to laud Stanton for being “a great hitter” when healthy, the first part of his quote went viral when written about on Monday, sounding harsher when clipped out of the larger context.

In response, Wolfe told The Athletic on Tuesday, “I think 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.”

Cashman said on Thursday that he felt like “things got spun out of control with the coverage a week later.”

“I was surprised how it got twisted and turned and played out, or what have you,” Cashman said. “I said what I said. So that’s why I certainly had the conversations. I value Giancarlo Stanton as a player, without a doubt. He’s one of the big drivers of when we do win. He’s one of the few players you bring to New York that hasn’t backed down, that’s handled himself in a professional manner through thick and thin. 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.

Giancarlo Stanton has been injury-prone during his Yankees career.
Giancarlo Stanton has been injury-prone during his Yankees career.
Jason Sznes for the New York Post

“We’d love to be able to deploy him at all times. But I made the phone calls [to Stanton and Wolfe].”

The snafu was just one part of a busy week for Cashman. In addition to staying in touch with agents and executives about the free-agent and trade markets, the Yankees also hired James Rowson as hitting coach on Monday, conducted interviews throughout the week for a new bench coach, made Rule 5 draft protections on Tuesday and now faces the non-tender deadline on Friday.

The Yankees could make a move before the 8 p.m. deadline, especially with six catchers currently on their 40-man roster. Veteran backstop Kyle Higashioka is the most notable non-tender candidate but could also be moved in a trade before then.

“It’s not a strong position in the game, or not a deep position in the game,” Cashman said. “A lot of teams are knocking on the door about our catching depth. It’s an area of strength for us.”

As for whether the Yankees will be able to land one of the big names this offseason — they are expected to be involved with Yamamoto, Cody Bellinger and Juan Soto, if the Padres make him available in a trade, among others — Cashman said they are “always trying.”

“We’re knocking on those doors, we’re having those conversations,” he said. “… We’ll see how this winter plays out, but we’re going to have conversations with the big ones and the small ones.”