LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Brian Cashman wasn’t looking for Aaron Judge’s approval, but the general manager nonetheless reached out to the American League Rookie of the Year when it appeared as if the Yankees would land Giancarlo Stanton.
After all, Judge, as a rightfielder, could see his playing time impacted by Stanton, who also plays rightfield.
“I did call Aaron Judge, he’s one of our leaders, as you all know, despite being so young,” Cashman said Monday. “So I remember reaching out to him prior to consummating and just floating the weather balloon.”
Judge put Cashman at ease. “He said, ‘Hey, I’m pumped. This is exciting. If you could pull that off, that would be amazing,’ ” Cashman said. “I did want to reach out to him and get a feel from his perspective, and I was excited even more so by his response.”
The Yankees have a potential logjam in right with Stanton, who led the major leagues in home runs (59), RBIs (132) and slugging percentage (.631) while hitting .281 with a .376 on-base percentage, and Judge, who hit a rookie-record 52 homers and had a .284/.422/.627 slash line.
“I feel sorry for the baseballs,” Stanton said, referencing a lineup that includes him, Judge, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird.
As for playing time in right, that has yet to be determined.
Stanton told the Yankees before the trade that he would be open to anything from getting the majority of his at-bats at DH to playing leftfield. That position currently is occupied by Brett Gardner, but a trade involving the veteran clubhouse leader can’t be ruled out.
Cashman also brought up the possibility of Judge, who played centerfield at Fresno State, occasionally playing there with Stanton in right. “Clearly rightfield and DH work, but I think they’re athletic enough to be considered elsewhere,” Cashman said.
Said Stanton: “I can bounce it around. Wherever they need me, I’m OK with that. I always liked DHing when we played the AL teams in previous years.”
Hal Steinbrenner confirmed reports, though not of the numbers, that Cashman has agreed to an extension. “Without getting into specifics, yes, Cashman is going to stay. I want him to stay and he’s going to stay,” Steinbrenner said.
According to FanRag Sports, Cashman’s deal is in the range of $25 million over five years. That would make Cashman among the highest-paid executives in the game, though not as high as the Cubs’ Theo Epstein, who agreed to a five-year deal in excess of $50 million in September 2016, and the Dodgers’ Andrew Friedman, who is in the third year of a five-year contract worth $35 million.
“This is a destination place,” said Cashman, the GM since 1998. “This is a place that I’ve grown up in. I didn’t want to go anywhere . . . especially at this time and place.”
Bard the bench coach
Aaron Boone made it official that Josh Bard will be his bench coach, Phil Nevin will coach third and Reggie Willits will coach first. He hopes to have the rest of his staff filled out soon, perhaps by week’s end. There are indications that Mike Harkey will return as the bullpen coach and that Marcus Thames, the assistant hitting coach to Alan Cockrell last season, is in the running for the top spot. Carlos Mendoza, the club’s highly regarded minor-league infield coordinator, also could be added.