Brian Cashman says no Yankees are expected to opt out of playing at this point: “The crew is all in”

Coronavirus has impacted our lives in ways we didn’t imagine at the start of the year. Lives and job positions lost often take the headlines, but our everyday dynamics have also been altered one way or another. And, for those of us who love baseball, we have had to endure several months of rumors, negotiations and bad blood between MLB and the union trying to figure out the details for the sport to return this year. Everything is behind us, for now, and we will get to see our beloved New York Yankees soon enough… if COVID-19 allows the season to start and end.

Speaking of COVID-19, it still represents a huge health risk that some players aren’t comfortable taking at this point. That’s why prominent players such as pitchers Mike Leake and Joe Ross, infielder Ryan Zimmerman and outfielder Ian Desmond had opted out of playing in the MLB 2020 season.

Will any Yankees players opt out of playing at some point?

That raises the question: Will any New York Yankees’ players take a similar path? Our own Alexander Wilson examined that possibility a couple of days ago, and while it remains possible that some Bombers jump out of the ship at some point before or during the season, it seems like most, if not all of them, will stay and seek championship number 28.

According to what Brian Cashman told James Wagner of the New York Times, no players have given him the indication that they will not play the season because of concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The crew is all in at this stage,” Cashman said. The Yankees did lose minor league signing and cancer survivor Chad Bettis, who elected to retire as opposed to trying to make the team as a non-roster invitee.

The Yankees’ baseball decisions leader also said that his understanding is that clubs won’t be able to disclose when players go on the COVID-19 injured list (IL) in the season. That will surely lead to speculation and confusion.

New York Yankees: The Giancarlo Stanton injury news we didn’t want to hear

New York Yankees, Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees have been a revolving door of injuries the past two years. The majority of their starting outfield was injured before spring training even began this year. With the coronavirus pandemic setting everything back months, the Yankees had ample time to recover and heal from previous injuries.

Players like Aaron Judge, James Paxton, Aaron Hicks, and Giancarlo Stanton have had an additional 4-5 months to prepare for the second wave of training camp and a condensed regular season, scheduled to start in late July.

On a conference call with Brian Cashman on Tuesday, he stated that Giancarlo Stanton would likely be a full go as the DH option, but that he hasn’t partaken in any outfield drills yet. Stanton suffered a grade 1 calf strain back in February; grade 1 being the very minimum of strain intensities.

The slugger still hasn’t taken any outfield reps, even in a practice scenario. This is very problematic for a player that struggled with soft tissue injuries last year and has clearly carried those same ailments into 2020.

The New York Yankees should be preparing to feature others in the outfield

Five months after he suffered the injury, Stanton is still struggling with the ability to field balls, as we can derive from Cashman’s statements. It is quite blasphemous that we are still talking about a minor Injury that occurred almost half a year ago. Whether it be the former strength and conditioning coach Matt Krause and his methods or Stanton simply preferring to be a bodybuilder over a professional athlete; this is a controversial situation considering he cannot return to full health following such a minor injury.

Stanton played in just 18 games last year, earning 59 at-bats which saw him hit three homers, 13 RBIs, and landed a .288 batting average. This was the least amount of games he has played in his career by a fair margin, having started in 158 two years ago in his first year with the Yankees. He had 38 homers, 100 RBIs, and logged a .266 batting average.

If Stanton can return to full health and at least rotate in at leftfield occasionally, the Yankees will be getting some sort of defensive value from him. However, it seems as if he will be mostly an offensive threat as the DH, giving players like Brett Gardner and Clint Frazier more opportunity to start in the outfield. Again, it is mine blowing that he has yet to begin taking flyballs or any sort of activities in the outfield. With spring training 2.0 starting very soon, he could progress quickly, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

New York Yankees: ESM has conference call with Yankee GM Brian Cashman, Judge may be ready

New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman

For the New York Yankees and Yankee fans everywhere, there are many unanswered questions as spring training starts tomorrow.  Today at 2 pm, this writer had the privilege of being in on a conference call as an editor for  General Manager of the New York Yankees Brian Cashman answered questions on varied subjects asked from across all the baseball writers in on the call. The call lasted just under an hour.

The interview started with a question about if any players had tested positive from the New York Times.  Cashman said he couldn’t answer that per the agreement with the players association.  He did say the cases “that Yankee personnel did have were mild and that they had recovered.”  He also offered prayers for those that have not had mild cases.  Answering a question as to if any Yankee players had opted out, he said, “there are none,” and that all the crew had reported to the stadium, although not all players.

Brian Hock of if Aaron Judge would be ready for the season. He asked for an update and what Cashman’s confidence level was.  Cashman did not answer the question directly but said that he was “optimistic that he would be ready.”  He stated that Judge has been doing all workout activities has been swinging off the Tee and will be hitting off of live pitching in the coming days.

When asked about Aaron Hicks, James Paxton and Giancarlo Stanton Cashman recalled all the different injuries and surgeries that took place and said: “that they are ready, and it will depend on conditioning during the next few weeks.”  As far as Stanton is concerned, he seemed less optimistic that he would be starting in the outfield but would definitely be a DH. He made it clear several times that the next few weeks will be telling on if any of these players will be able to withstand a 60 game season over 66 days.

Another interesting thing revealed in the call was that talks are going on now about whether to have any exhibition games during spring training 2.0.  Cashman said the owners are talking about it but no decision had been made.  He made it clear that the New York Yankees would not want to play in any road games during training.

The New York Post asked if all the players were there at Yankee Stadium, Cashman responded saying no they aren’t without cited which players had no arrived.  He cited different travel restrictions from countries like Chile, Japan, and other countries. He said they hoped to be in full force in the coming days.  When he was asked if the pitchers would be ramped up by the time the season starts, he said he would have to defer that question to the coaches, but added the New York Yankees, new pitching ace Gerrit Cole was already at the Studium “working his tail off.”

When the discussion turned to the August 25 trade deadline, he was asked if there would be more action or less action due to the shortened season.  Cashman responded that he thought there would be less, as general managers and managers are too busy spending time on trying to make a full season happen.  He did say that if a special opportunity was to arise and COVID-19 or injuries caused a need, and there was “a chess piece available we are in it to win it, that’s the challenge ahead.”

In recalling the entire interview content, Cashman continually referred to the COVID-19 virus and the effect it could have on the season. When asked about the health protocols, he said that he has the 101-page health initiative, and it will be a challenge and costly one to implement all of the procedures. He stated that he had no anxiety about the screening or anything related to the season. He sees the challenges as “an opportunity to do everything to have a champion run at the World Series.”





Yankees’ Brian Cashman expects James Paxton, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton to be good to go

New York Yankees, Brian Cashman

On a conference call Monday, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman gave several updates on the status of his players. He anticipates James Paxton, Aaron Hicks, and Giancarlo Stanton will be ready to start the 2020 regular season and begin spring training 2.0 on July 3.

Paxton succumbed to surgery this off-season after doctors found a cyst in his lower back. Paxton would have missed a majority of spring training and likely the start of the regular season, but the extra time off allowed him to heal and return to form. He should earn live reps in exhibition games leading up to Opening Day in late July.

The Yankees will likely gain back two starting outfielders

As for Aaron Hicks, who underwent Tommy John surgery this past off-season, he was expected to return in mid-summer, and the Yankees will likely have their starting center fielder back for the 2020 campaign. Hicks played in 59 games last year, hitting 12 homers and earning a .235 average. He returned for the postseason, hitting .154 with one homer and three RBIs against the Houston Astros in their inevitable loss.

Hicks will likely slot into the number three spot in the hitting order, behind Aaron Judge, and before Giancarlo Stanton. As for Stanton, who struggled with calf issues this spring and multiple soft-tissue ailments last year, his recovery has gone well, and he seems to be on track to return with a full bill of health.

Stanton was also a question mark leading up to the start of the regular season if it had gone as scheduled. With the extra time to recover, he should be prepared to feature in late July. With the entire outfield nearly in place, with the potential exception of Aaron Judge, the Yankees will have a stacked defensive team and batting order, giving them fantastic odds at landing a playoff spot in the condensed season.

MLB News: MLB Draft to take place Wednesday and Thursday, details

For the New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams, there may be no baseball right now due to the coronavirus and contentious negotiations between the owners and players.  But all is not gloom as MLB provides hope of future baseball by holding the 2020 baseball Draft.

It will not be like any draft held before, because this one will only five rounds instead of the usual 40 rounds. The 2020 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft will take place on June 10-11th. The draft will assign amateur baseball players to MLB teams.  Teams will select players in a draft order that is based on the reverse of last season’s standings.  This means the New York Yankees will select 28th in the draft order.

But the reduction of rounds is hardly the only change this year.  The players will not be able to attend the draft.  Like so many school proms and graduations have been held virtually so will the MLB Draft broadcast with twenty-three of the top players — including 12 of the top 13 on the Draft Top 200 — joining the coverage virtually, Major League Baseball announced on Friday.

Another difference is that the draft will be broadcast on multiple television channels.  This year you can watch the draft on the MLB Network and on ESPN. The broadcast will be live at 7 pm Eastern on Wednesday and Thursday. New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman will also take part in the virtual event by remote camera along with executives from each of the other 29 MLB clubs.

The first night (June 10) will feature the first 37 picks (the first round plus Competitive Balance Round A) and coverage will continue on Thursday, June 11, on MLB Network and ESPN2 at 5 p.m. ET and last through the duration of the five-round event (picks 38 through 160).

All 23 players — nine pitchers, six outfielders, four infielders, three catchers, and one infielder/outfielder — scheduled to appear are ranked within the top 36 of the Draft Top 200.  If you would like a preview of the draft, tonight at 6 p.m. ET, you can preview the pitchers available in the draft. Sunday at the same time infielders will be previewed, and Monday, they will cover the outfielders.  The preview shows will only be on the MLB Network.

For a complete list of all those players participating in the virtual broadcast, go here. Click here for the top 200 prospects.  Click here for the complete MLBN coverage of the 2020 Draft. Count on for all the coverage you will need as the 2020 MLB Draft is completed.


Brian Cashman wanted no part of the New York Yankees’ GM job at first

New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman

Every New York Yankees‘ fan dreams about what it would be like to be decision-maker of the team, baseball-wise. We fantasize about our perfect lineup, rotation, on-field strategy, defensive alignments, philosphy at the plate, and, especially, building a winning roster.

However, it would seem like current General Manager Brian Cashman didn’t want any part of the job at some point, before he was hired to perform it. It wasn’t just being the Yankees’ GM: it would also mean the he had to be George Steinbrenner’s GM.

“Early on I was with [GM] Woody Woodward, whose nickname was ‘The Pharmacist’ because his office drawer was filled with vitamins to try and keep him healthy while he was under such siege from The Boss,’’ Cashman recently said on a fund-raising call for Family Center’s Emergency Family Assistance Fund. “I remember saying to myself, ‘I would never want that job.’ Why would I not want the job? Because it is a no-win, so stressful.’’

Cashman took on the Yankees’ GM gig on February 3, 1998, right after Bob Watson stepped down. The 2020 season, if there is one of course, will be Cashman’s 23rd year in charge of the organization’s baseball calls.

A Yankees’ lifer

All in all, Cashman has 34 of his 52 years working for the Yankees, more than half of his life to date.

“It has been an amazing magic-carpet ride which has led us to this season,’’ he stated. He started back in 1986 as an intern in the minor league scouting department.

Coronavirus has, so far, prevented the season from starting, and Yankees’ fans are understanbly growing impatient. However, MLB and the players’ union are still trying to find common ground. Right now, the most prominent hurdles are health, safety and financial issues.

The New York Yankees managed to build a fantastic roster and are considered among the favorites to win it all. They added ace Gerrit Cole, among others.

“We believe we have another championship-caliber team on our hands, and we just want to deploy it the best way we possibly can. We have been knocking on the door and are always in championship mode,’’ Cashman said.

New York Yankees: Cashman still mad at Astros for sign-stealing scheme

New York Yankees, Brian Cashman

This offseason, MLB decided to punish the Houston Astros after investigations found a sign-stealing scheme put in place in 2017, the year in which they were crowned champions of the World Series. Members of the New York Yankees (a team that fell to the Astros in the 2017 and 2019 American League Championship Series) and other teams felt that the punishment was light: the GM and manager got one-year suspensions and the team lost a couple of draft picks and a few million bucks.

The Yankees wanted revenge on the field, and if coronavirus hadn’t forced MLB to postpone the start of the season, the two teams would have met today in Houston. That’ll have to wait for now.

The only thing clear about all the sign-stealing mess is that New York Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman is still not over the fact that the Astros cheated to beat his team.

He said that “there is a little bit of frustration,” while crediting Jomboy for “decoding” the trash can system.

“Frustration after the fact that Jomboy, for instance, put out online and decoded after the A’s Mike Fiers revealed [to The Athletic] what was transpiring [in Houston],’’ Cashman said. “Frustration in, ‘Wow, we knew something was going on and we complained about it.’ But we didn’t have the fact of what the specifics [were] and once you saw it playing out, once it was decoded, you say, ‘How could we have not have figured that out?’ ”

The Yankees tried to determine what was happening

Cashman also said that the Yankees “tried every which way to determine if they were doing something. We don’t know what they’re doing. We don’t know how they’re conveying the signals, but it’s clear as day and the whole industry knew about it.’’

Cashman also said that out of respect to baseball and the commissioner’s office, he wasn’t as vocal about the scheme in the past. He preferred to wait until the league found evidence and levied punishment.

“I think people in my position have to be very careful to be critical of decisions that ultimately are in somebody else’s hands,’’ Cashman said. “Is there frustration in what transpired and how it potentially denied us further play in the postseason? Of course there is. Do I have strong feelings on that? Of course I do. Does it serve me or the Yankees or the industry of baseball by at times letting my guard down and sharing how I really feel from that and the emotion that comes from that? I’m not sure it’s helpful to the process.’’

“They clearly benefited from [the system],’’ Cashman said of the Houston Astros. “They’ve been disciplined for it now and as we move forward, we just have to move forward and not look in the past because there’s nothing we can do about it.’’

Aaron Judge won’t be ready until “summertime”

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman said in an interview on Thursday that Aaron Judge won’t be ready to play until “summertime.”

Judge injured himself in September while diving for a ball in right field. He sustained a cracked rib and a collapsed lung. Although in pain, Judge trained like usual in the off-season and didn’t think much of the pain until he arrived in Tampa. After a period of uncertainty, they found the injuries shortly before the league was shut-down.

It’s good news that the Yankees haven’t had to play games without Judge. If the season started as planned, he would’ve missed at least half the season. Now, it’s looking like he could be ready on Opening Day if it happens in July as talks have indicated.

The injuries that have happened to Aaron Judge over the past few seasons have started to become quite concerning. He’s been hurt for an extended time three times now in less than two years. Recurring injuries have the potential to slow development.

And it’s especially crucial for Judge to stay healthy because he came up later than a lot of players. He’s 28 already, and really in his prime now. Losing more and more time to injuries in his prime could be very costly in his career.

Hopefully, Judge will be healthy and ready to go if/when the season starts. He’s such an essential piece to the Yankees on both sides of the ball. Losing a guy like him will certainly affect the team, especially in a shortened season.


New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman remains “optimistic” there will be baseball in 2020

While the coronavirus pandemic is still in full force, public health officials, MLB and the players’ association remain in negotiations to see if baseball can return for an abbreviated season, and the respective details. Will we see the New York Yankees in 2020? Only time will tell, but right now, the sides are discussing the beginning of spring training in June and the regular season around July 4th.

One of the hottest topics being discussed right now is player compensation. MLB and the union clearly have to come to an agreement, and the negotiations are already getting ugly. However, the New York Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman remains hopeful that a solution is in the horizon.

“I can’t promise anything, but am I optimistic?” Cashman said Thursday morning, cited by “I’m optimistic.”
The Yankees’ GM was speaking on a charity video call from his Connecticut home. The call benefitted, per, the nonprofit Family Centers, which aims to financially help Fairfield County residents hit by the consequences of the COVID-19 shutdown.

“I am optimistic,” he said. “I don’t represent the players and the (players’) association. Obviously there’s a lot of hurdles that everyone’s trying to navigate here, and certainly trying to find common ground appropriately with the Players Association is one of those things and obviously the commissioner of baseball and his team are having honest, frank conversations and negotiations … I’m optimistic that where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Will the Yankees play in 2020?

Players are already starting to complain about having to play under a significant pay cut, especially if they aren’t confident that the spread of the virus has been stopped.

“We all in this country are trying to find a way to get up and running,” Cashman said. “So, you see how that manifests itself in, whether it’s the local restaurants changing how they go about doing their business … in most cases have been (offering) takeout so far and how they repackage themselves and remake themselves.

The Yankees’ leader added, “We’ve all found ways to adjust and make adjustments. So, obviously, as we continue, this great country continue to navigate. With this COVID(-19) experience moving forward, it’s incumbent upon all of us to find a way. I trust that all leadership will find a way within our industry, just like everybody’s trying to do in their own respective industries as well.”

New York Yankees head back to Tampa soon, and continue the COVID-19 fight

Could spring training start as early as next week?

The New York Yankees mull no less than a dozen plans to get the boys of summer back on the field.  It should be noted that MLB has no starting time for a season to begin, but it does appear to be getting closer.  The plans for a regular-season includes two different geographic plans, A situation that would involve all games for all 30 teams played in Arizona seems to be losing support.

One of the newest plans is to realign teams to play in three divisions regardless of league affiliation.  For the New York Yankees that would mean they would be playing against all AL East coast AL teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays.  It also means they would be playing against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Washington Nationals, and the Florida Marlins of the National League.  The teams in the center of the country would be banded into the Central League, and the West coast teams with the addition of the two Texas teams would make up the West League or division.

The latest plan seems to be gaining favor.  There is also a plan out there that would have spring training start at home stadiums.  This writer feels that is unlikely as major baseball hubs like New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles are still dealing with many new cases of the coronavirus daily and are still under stiff restrictions.  Although Bob Nightengale of USA Today said this is possible, NYC Major de Blasio said Yankee Stadium will not be used until August at the earliest.  It is more likely that as spring training starts, teams will find themselves in the traditional Florida and Arizona locations.

There are several reports that the New York Yankees may be headed to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida as early as this weekend. Some half dozen or so Yankee players are already in the area.  We know that at least Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Luis Severino are at the facility. The Yankees may be looking at starting some spring training activities sometime next week.

At present, the general consensus is that a regular-season could start as soon as the last week of June or early in July.  But that timeline is dependant on a reduction in new cases of the virus and the availability of wide-spread testing.  When the season actually starts will be up to MLB and health officials, and will likely start with no fans in the stands.  A more concrete plan to start baseball should be forthcoming in the next two weeks.

More Yankees take part in coronavirus relief

The latest New York Yankee to step up to the plate and provide for coronavirus relief is none other than General Manager Brian Cashman.  Cashman is no stranger to causes such as efforts to keep children from going hungry to bringing attention to the needs of the homeless.  Cashman on May 14 will have a virtual experience at the Family Center. The minimum $25 dollar participation fee with go to the Family Centers’ Emergency Family Assistance Fund.  The organization has turned their efforts to aid hard-hit Fairfield County, CT, residents most affected by the coronavirus.

Yankee outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is working with Voodoo Manufacturing to supply health workers in California and New York with hard reusable face shields.    The original shipments will be 6,000 new shields to both locations and an additional 3,000 to follow.  Stanton in addressing the needs of the health field said that this is not the end, he will continue to investigate needs and will act as he evaluates needs.

“Obviously we’ve never seen anything like this. It just seems like every new notification on our phones, or however we get our information, isn’t positive. You’ve got to keep moving forward, see what you can do while staying at home.” Stanton said.

Many other New York Yankees players have made donations and giving aid in many ways to lessen the impact of the coronavirus.  Aaron Judge has recently empowered Bronx, New York children in need, as they adapt to classes online.  Judge has donated thousands of headphones to help with those classes.