TAMPA — The last time Gerrit Cole and Josh Donaldson crossed paths, they were involved in a public fight after Donaldson made the Yankees’ ace Poster for MLB crackdown on jars of illegal foreign substances last summer.
Of all the players that general manager Brian Cashman could have traded to improve the roster, Donaldson would have been an unlikely candidate.
but that’s exactly what Cashman did on Sunday night – but not without notifying Cole.
“Because of the public side of this thing last year … I owed him that call,” Cashman said Monday. “I obviously just explained, ‘We have a transaction that will solve a lot of areas of need, but I’m not sure where that other aspect lies. If it’s a problem, we have to work through it. He says, ‘I’m fine.’ He was excited about the opportunity to advance in many areas.”
One of the next calls was from Donaldson to Aaron Boone, wanting to get along with Cole if necessary. And that’s what the two did Monday after Donaldson arrived at Yankee camp following the blockbuster trade that sent Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela to the Twins, and shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and backup catcher Ben Rortvedt to the Yankees.
“It’s not that unusual for me [Cashman] to enlighten me on things before it hits the line,” said Cole. “There’s probably a little extra reason why he specifically came forward [Sunday] Night. Look, when you’re determined to win a championship, things like that don’t matter.
Donaldson told Boone he wanted to speak to both of them the Monday after he arrived.
“The three of us sat in my office for a while,” Boone said. “We had an open dialogue. … I think it’s already buried and not a problem – not to say it wasn’t a real problem for us last year. I feel really good with these two guys.”
Cole called it a “good conversation.”
“I think he has an edge that’s special and fun and when you’re on his team you really appreciate that,” said Cole. “On the other side of the field you have to overcome that.”
Of the argument, Cole said, “Where my feet are today, it’s in the rearview mirror.”
Donaldson said he believes the conversation is necessary “because obviously there was a big stink last year. It’s been talked about a lot. Both sides wanted to meet and address the issue at hand, just listen to each other and ultimately lead us back to our goals. Our goal is to win. We’re both in the same clubhouse now and that’s what we’re going to do.”
And he insisted the issue was closed for him once the crackdown on MLB began.
“First of all, when I named Gerrit Cole as part of the thing, I said, ‘Look, he’s the first guy to court since [minor league] Suspensions have been imposed,” Donaldson said. “That’s what I said about Gerrit Cole. I said I think it’s a league issue. I feel the league has addressed the issues at hand. After that you haven’t heard from me. Today we sit here and our goal is to win a championship with the New York Yankees.”
Cashman pointed to the Yankees’ 1999 acquisition of Toronto’s Roger Clemens as an example of a “hated” opponent who eventually became a valuable teammate in the Bronx.
When this anecdote was relayed to Donaldson, he balked at the idea of being hated.
While Donaldson and his $50 million owed over two seasons make up most of the trade, Cashman said he made the move because of the various holes he believes have been addressed.
He called it an upgrade offensively at third base and defensively at shortstop since the Yankees can now hold Gleyber Torres at second base and avoid playing Urshela momentarily out of position.
The arrival of Rortvedt puts better defense behind the plate, according to Cashman, even though he has only played in 39 games in the majors.
“I think the general feeling for us is that it settled a lot of interests on our end with a transaction and a specific team,” Cashman said. “It solved a lot of issues that we were targeting.”
The GM also noted that the Yankees had not given up any prospects.
“We have a lot of people asking for a lot of people from our system, understandably,” Cashman said.
Though what Cashman will do with those prospects remains to be seen, as another potential Yankee target, Oakland first baseman Matt Olson, was traded to the Braves on Monday — as Atlanta amazingly moved on from free agent Freddie Freeman.
The Yankees will continue to study the first base market and could bring back Anthony Rizzo, another free agent.
And they’ve shown interest in some of Oakland’s starting pitches, with the A’s in fire sale mode.
But this was the Yankees’ first big swing of the offseason.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/14/yankees-gerrit-cole-josh-donaldson-clear-the-air-after-tensions/ Yankees’ Gerrit Cole and Josh Donaldson vent after tension