STAMFORD, Conn. — Rapelling from the top of the 22-story Landmark Building on Sunday night didn’t change Brian Cashman’s mind about trading Gary Sanchez. Nor did zip-lining across Broad Street to Atlantic Street.
And after Jose Feliciano offered a wonderful version of “Feliz Navidad” at a tree-lighting ceremony in nearby Latham Park, the Yankees’ general manager remained adamant Sanchez will remain the Yankees catcher. He added there was no truth to the chatter that he has talked trade with other clubs regarding the 26-year-old, who experienced a brutal 2018 season that was hampered by two trips to the disabled list with groin issues.
In October, Cashman said Sanchez would return behind the plate in 2019 and doubled down on that a week ahead of MLB’s winter meetings that open Sunday in Las Vegas, where trade rumors will outnumber the amount of money poured into slot machines.
“I always say follow my words,’’ Cashman said after the Heights & Lights event concluded. “Anybody who says otherwise, right now they would be wrong — although I have been asked. If you talk to teams, they would say he has been asked.’’
Last week a report surfaced that the Yankees were among several teams talking to the Marlins about acquiring catcher J.T. Realmuto, which Cashman said wasn’t true.
“False, completely false,’’ Cashman said. “I saw that somebody had written that we had offered for Realmuto. That is completely false.’’
Cashman expects Sanchez’s third big-league season will be closer to his first, and he will deliver the production he did during a two-month gig in 2016, when he finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year race thanks to 20 homers, 42 RBIs and a 1.032 OPS in 53 games.
Following the dismal 2018 season in which Sanchez hit .186 with 18 homers, 53 RBIs and posted a .697 OPS in 89 games, he underwent a cleanup procedure in his (non-throwing) left shoulder. Cashman explained the injury hindered him more at the plate than it impacted his leaky defense (MLB-high 18 passed balls), which often saw Sanchez not extending his left arm for pitches away to right-handed hitters and in on lefties.
“It was definitely a factor in irritating him this year,’’ Cashman said. “We definitely look forward to him coming back to what we saw a little bit in the postseason and what we saw in the previous years.’’
On other fronts, Cashman said free agent Patrick Corbin, who visited at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, was “in the driver’s seat’’ and couldn’t offer a guess when Corbin will make a decision. The lefty starter met with the Phillies on Tuesday and the Nationals on Wednesday.
Cashman also said when he talked to Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto he was told there were three players he wasn’t going to trade.
“He said he was willing to talk about everybody but three players, one of them he just moved to the Mets,’’ Cashman said of Dipoto, who sent Cano and stud closer Edwin Diaz to Queens.
Because James Paxton’s name was not among the trio, Cashman began talking to the Mariners about the lefty, who was acquired last month.
As for Cano returning to New York, it wasn’t going to be The Bronx due to financial challenges, but Cashman spoke highly of the second baseman, who is expected to bolster the Mets’ lineup.
“The Robbie we had here was a tremendous player,” Cashman said. “He has been five years in Seattle so I can’t speak to that, but I think the Mets got a great player. They are a better team today because they made the moves.’’
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