In a written statement, via Ken Rosenthal, Joel Wolfe -- who also represents star Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto -- cautioned free agents about signing with the Yankees.
“I read the context of the entire interview. 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.”
The statement was in response to Cashman’s interview with Gary Phillips of The New York Daily News where the long-time GM spoke directly about Stanton’s injuries.
"We try to limit the time he’s down," Cashman told the Daily News. "But I’m not gonna tell you he’s gonna play every game next year because he’s not. He’s going to wind up getting hurt again more likely than not because it seems to be part of his game.
"But I know that when he’s right and healthy – other than this past year – the guy’s a great hitter and has been for a long time."
Stanton missed 61 games in 2023 due to a hamstring strain in what turned out to be the worst statistical year in the slugger’s career. The 34-year-old slashed just .191/.275/.420 with 24 homers and 13 doubles in 101 games.
The California native’s decreasing productivity is a public concern for Cashman and the Yankees who said getting Stanton right was a priority for the organization this offseason and especially for their new hitting coach.
The Yankees hired Tigers assistant hitting coach James Rowson to be New York’s next hitting coach, who was introduced Tuesday, and Stanton was a topic of conversation during Rowson’s introductory Zoom presser.
While Rowson confirmed he’s had text conversations with Stanton and other players already, he didn’t want to “look too far” with potentially tweaking anything before getting to formally meet and work with the outfielder.
Stanton has four more years left with the Yankees before a club option in 2028, so it’s imperative for the Yankees to get the most out of Stanton, starting in 2024. That’s been on the top of the Yankees’ priority list all offseason.
"We’ve gotta get Stanton up and running again," Cashman said at the GM Meetings. "He’s injury-prone. We all have lived and known that, but he’s never not hit when he’s playing, and this year is the first time that that’s happened."
Added Cashman: "It’s been something that we’ve been working through and working on for a long time without the results that we want. So I don’t have an answer to that. I know he’s frustrated by it. We know he’s certainly better than what we saw last year."