Thursday, April 9, 2015

Brian Cashman And The Right Things

Brian Cashman may be saying all the right things, but is he doing the right things?



Okay, I'll expand on my answer...

First of all, we should define what those "right things" are.

Saying "we’re trying to take care of both on both ends", meaning winning while building a future for the team, is absolutely the right thing to say. The Yankees have created an atmosphere that demands a winner. Yankees fans these days are not accustomed to down years or re-building.

You have to keep in mind that the Yankees haven't had a losing season since 1992. That's 22 years of winning. Furthermore, during those 22 years, the Yanks have made the playoffs 19 times, won the division 14 times, won the American League seven times, and won the World Series five times. There are people alive today, that can legally drink, who have literally never seen the Yankees with a losing record.

There's a really good chance that there are Yankees fans out there that don't know Don Mattingly was a Yankee, and a great one at that.

"Why is the Dodgers' manager wearing a Yankees uniform?"

What I'm trying to say is that the days of having Yankees fans that are okay with mediocrity, let alone losing, are long gone. However, winning is not the only thing that fans these days are demanding.

Fans want the Yankees to build a bright future, or more specifically another dynasty. They saw home-grown players like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Bernie Williams lead the team through that dynasty, and they want the team to do it again.

Therefore, the Yankees have to win a World Series, while also building a team that will keep winning year in and year out. Sorry to break it to you, but that's not as easy as some make it out to be.


So... Cashman is definitely saying the right things. But is he doing the right things?

There was debate during the last offseason about who to sign... Jon Lester or Max Scherzer? What's funny about that debate is not that it was happening, but that it was almost a foregone conclusion that one of those two would be in pinstripes. I'm not going to lie, as I thought the same thing. Not "if", but "who".

And I was wrong.

The Yankees didn't have to spend that much money. While the health of Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda were in question, those two are more than capable of leading the starting rotation. After those two the Yanks don't need a Cy Young candidate like Scherzer or Lester. Along with Ivan Nova, who while injured could be a force in the middle of the rotation, and a possible ace in Luis Severino, the Yankees already had guys in the organization that they could build around.

So what did Cashman do? Trade for Nathan Eovaldi. A guy that has the raw tools to be a star, but wouldn't cost any arm, leg, or any other body part to acquire. Brian Cashman saw he had a very good second base prospect in Rob Refsnyder, along with a very good outfield prospect in Aaron Judge, and had just signed a third baseman, so they could afford to trade away Martin Prado.

"Our stadium has a retractable roof, but we were in a rain delay for 16 minutes. WTF?"

And while Cashman could have gone after Hanley Ramirez to replace Derek Jeter at shortstop, he didn't do that. Brian saw that Hanley's defense was so bad at shortstop that chances were pretty good the team would still have a hole there soon. Nor did Cashman trade away the farm to acquire Troy Tulowitski, who... while a great player... just turned 30 and his coming off of hip surgery. He instead paid a much smaller price to deal for a guy that plays above average defense at short, is only 25 years old, and was very successful in AAA between 2013 and 2014.

What about signing Andrew Miller over David Robertson? Honestly, as much of a fan I was of Robertson, Cash made the right choice. Not only did he save $10 million (Miller was signed for $36 million over four years, while Robertson signed for $46 million over four years), but Miller has been more successful too. Over the 2013 and 2014 seasons, Miller's ERA+ was 179, while Robertson's was 155. Heck, Miller's FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) was 2.02, compared to D-Rob's mark of 2.65. The only thing Robertson did better was close more games, which is kind of unfair to say here as Miller was not a closer then.

One move that Brian Cashman made this offseason that I wasn't completely on board with was signing Chase Headley. And, honestly, it's not a "bad" move at all. Chase is only 30 years old, so his four year deal isn't going to take him to the end of his career. And the guy has been an above-average hitter, or better, every season since 2010. Not to mention the fact that Headley is a very good third baseman. If it wasn't for the fact that the Yankees had Prado already on the team to play third base, the move would have probably been a no-brainer.

I know what you're all expecting me to talk about, at least for the "wrong move" section... Stephen Drew. Well, I don't have a real problem with this move. Let me tell you why...

I don't think Cashman was looking for somebody to be anything like a long-term solution at second base, due to a kid named Rob Refsnyder. Perhaps if there was somebody that really stood out among free agents, but there wasn't.

So you're looking at a one year deal, which leaves you with Alberto Callaspo, Rickie Weeks, Emilio Bonafacio, Asdrubal Cabrera, Rey Navarro, and Mike Aviles. The only guy that I would have been cool with out of those six is Cabrera. Callaspo can't hit or field, Weeks is horrible in the field and has lost a lot of power, Bonafacio can't hit, Navarro is unproven, and Aviles is no good with the bat.

While Stephen Drew is far from ideal, when it comes to one-year deals he may have been the lesser of many evils. And at $5 million, it's not like the Yankees can't afford to dump him should he hit poorly again, and/or Refsnyder is ready to jump to the Majors. 

So Brian Cashman has done all the right things, right?




While he clearly did the right things for the future of the team, he didn't do the right things for the 2015 team, which is one of the things Yankees fans demand from him. It's not what I demand of him, it's what a lot of other Yankees fans demand of him. Is that fair? I don't think so. But that's the way it is.

See, unless a whole lot goes right for the Yankees this season, then there's a very good chance they miss the postseason for the third straight year. I won't go as far as Joel Sherman, and say the Yankees may finish below .500, but there's no doubt that this year's team is not a legit World Series contender. 

So while Brian Cashman has said the right things, and he's done the right things in order to build a great future for the team, he hasn't done the right things for this year's squad. And frankly, that's what needed to be done.


  1. Bryan V...
    I think you done, done good again!
    The only thing I wish he had done differently is signing the Cuban 2nd baseman. We could have had him for a few $$$$$ more, Put him in AA and see what he can do, he is young enough to spend a year or so on the Farm. Have him work at a few different positions to find the one that is his natural position and a need for the team.

    The above entry is from a "Want" perspective!

    The "Need" perspective is....
    We didn't need him and have no obvious place for him, except 2nd base! We have Refsy coming up in a few weeks(?). After him, we have about 3 to 4 infielders coming along in the next few years, besides which the young man would move to the OF or 3rd base in a couple years anyhow.
    Put him in RF? Why? We have a few very good players for the OF as it is.
    Even if the Cuban is as good as some say he is, and having a star player is welcome, he is not a "NEED"!

    Everyone on this site has a 20 year love affair with the Core 4+1. In the last 20 years, how many Big Production Stars have we had other than A-Rod, Cano and Matsui? Other than one here and there for a year or two, None!
    Bottom line is, we can and have won with very good pitching and very good players on both sides of the ball. Almost nobody, thought Cano would be a star, what is to say we don't have a star in the making already in our system?

    1. Thank you for the compliment and doing a good job with a guy I forgot to include.


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