Yankee News/Rumors: Cash and Pudge talk Sanchez, Taillon upset already, and more

William Parlee
New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez, Gerrit Cole, Aaron Boone
Feb 16, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17), pitching coach Matt Blake, starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) and catcher Gary Sanchez (24) talk during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Cashman and Pudge Rodriguez talk Gary Sanchez

Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, who caught for the New York Yankees during 2008 and has since become a Hall of Famer, received a Thurmon Munson Award Tuesday night virtually. When speaking with reporters, Pudge had much to say about Gary Sanchez’s 2020 season and his commitment to bounce back this year.

“What the Yankees organization needs to do is just let him play baseball,” Rodriguez said. “He has tremendous ability, defensively and offensively. I know that he’s been struggling in both sides of the game, but I think right now it’s more mental.”

Ivan Rodriguez believes that he saw a player who needs to rediscover his love of the game.

“This year, he needs to come back to Spring Training ready to play, enjoying the game and enjoying putting that pinstriped uniform on,” Rodriguez said. “Go out there and be with his teammates, go behind the plate and do what he can do. I know he can be a great player behind the plate and also with his hitting.”

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talked about whether to non-tender Gary in December, which would have allowed him to become a free agent. The Yankees still believe the 28-year-old catcher can still be one of the best catchers in the league. Cashman and others in the front office showed their support for Sanchez by tendering him and giving him a slight raise, despite his horrible season last year.

“The fact that he’s still with us is proof of how we felt and how we feel,” Cashman said. “I know he’s looking forward to proving last year was a fluke. We look forward to him justifying our continued commitment to him and his talent level. We’ve invested our time, effort and money into him, for good reason.”

Jameson Taillon is upset with MLB.

Just a week ago, the New York Yankees traded with the Pittsburgh Pirates for starting pitcher Jameson Taillon who is coming back from his second Tommy John surgery. In the short time since he came to New York, much has been written about the talented pitcher and the Yankees’ hope that he can bounce back to his 2018 form. One thing that has not been advertised is that when with the PIraters, he was their representative to the MLBPA, The Major League Baseball Players Association.

When Taillon talks with his experience, he knows what he is speaking about and means what he says. Now with the Yankees, although he is not the Yankees representative, that hasn’t stopped him from letting us know how he feels about MLB and player issues. Now he is talking about the MLB’s latest moves to change the season and his disapproval.

“I know from a player perspective, we anticipated and expected the league to come to us with something back in October, November…December, even,” Taillon. said “At a certain point as a player, you have to get ready to compete. For them to come to us now, this late into the offseason while guys have…I mean, the human aspect of it, guys have started shipping cars, booking Airbnbs for spring training, all that. But then from like the big-league ballplayer side of it, guys are ramped up. Guys are facing hitters. I was watching Tyler Glasnow pump 97 against hitters the other day. Now you’re gonna ask him to ramp it back down and take a break? I just don’t think that’s right.”

It should be noted that not only Tyler Glasnow is at camp. Several Yankees are already working out at the George M. Steinbrenner training facility in Tampa, and why not its certainly better weather there than in New York. Among those already in Tampa are Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Luke Voit, Mike Ford, and Michael King. Catchers and pitchers don’t have to report until February 17, with the rest of the team on the 21st.

The Post’s Davidoff makes a case for Gardner

The New York Post’s Ken Davidoff thinks Brett Gardner will be back with the Yankees in 2021. I’ll wager $6 million over three years that the Yankees and Gardner find a way to reunite. I think it’ll happen, but based on the factors in play, I’m not willing to bet much on it.

Davidoff gave several reasons the New York Yankees should work on a deal. If Gardner could get a three-year deal, he would be as happy as a kid in a candy shop as he wants to retire from baseball as a Yankee where he has spent the last 15 years of his life.

Davidoff pointed out that he is a potential lefty bat on the bench that can at times hit for power. Gardner is a genuine lefty bat that is better than the lefties on the bench, Mike Tauchman, Mike Ford, and Tyler Wade. Gardner is also a bonafide centerfielder easily capable of replacing Aaron Hicks should he get injured. Brett can also fill in nicely in left field. Gardner is the most durable outfielder the Yankees have had. In all of baseball, he is second in plate appearances over the last eight years for outfielders.

Fauci wants another try

The nation’s top virus expert thinks that by mid-summer, enough baseball fans will be vaccinated to allow socially distanced fans in the nation’s ballparks. He also wants a redo of his terribly botched first pitch of the season last year at Nationals Park.

“I would hope that by the time we get into May, June, July, that we will have enough people vaccinated in the country that the level of infection would be low enough — maybe not yet total herd immunity — but low enough to say that we can go to a game, you know: wear a mask, but be seated — not sitting right next to each other,” Fauci said.