Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Yankees GM Cashman: Don't Go Away Mad, Just Go Away

I would be lying if I was to tell any of you that I wasn’t giddy with excitement over the thought of New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman being shown the door at the end of the 2014 season. While most people think that Cash will be given another contract either before the season ends, or shortly thereafter, the Steinbrenners could send a clear message to Yankees fan everywhere: the way the Yankees have done business since 1998 isn’t going to work anymore.

I grew up in the 1980s and early 1990s, and remember the lean years in the Bronx. Sure there were a handful of second place finishes during the heyday of Donnie Baseball, Dave Winfield and Rickey Henderson, but the wheels came off quickly, as the 80s ended and the 90s began. Two miraculous things occurred to help rebuild what became a dynasty by the middle of the decade: George Steinbrenner was suspended from baseball and general manager at the time, Gene “Stick” Michael was allowed to build and develop the farm system.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, Cashman has undone everything that Michael and former manager Buck Showalter did to build a solid foundation in the Bronx, one that had the “Core Four” along with unofficial fifth member Bernie Williams. As we all know, the Boss returned, ran Showalter out of town, and handed Cashman the keys to the castle. Aside from Robinson Cano and Alfonso Soriano, can you name one single “impact” player the Yankees have developed since Michael’s departure?

Let’s forget about the barren farm system for a moment. Brian Cashman’s real ineptness as general manager came as early as the end of the 2001 season, with the Yankees losing a heartbreaking World Series to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Several of the “Old Guard” Yankees that Cashman’s predecessors Gene Michael and Bob Watson had brought in to make the dynasty whole, were either let go or retired. Leaders such as Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, and Scott Brosius left, and in came misfires such as Jason Giambi, Rondell White and Raul Mondesi. And who could forget Cashman giving up on a young, 26-year old left-handed pitcher in Ted Lilly, and bringing in headcase Jeff Weaver?

Throughout team history, the Yankees have rarely, if ever, lost one of their own players to free agency who they truly wanted to keep. With Cashman, it’s happened multiple times. Remember back to the stunning defeat the Yankees suffered at the hands of the Florida Marlins in the 2003 World Series? Out went Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, in came Kevin Brown and Jon Lieber. Sure, some would point to the fact that Clemens had planned on retiring, and was talked back into playing by the Houston Astros, but a general manager should always perform his due diligence. If there was even a sniff of a rumor that Clemens was thinking about coming back, what did Cashman do to ensure he returned to the Bronx? To make matters worse, he lost Andy Pettitte as well. I’m not even going to discuss Robinson Cano at this point.

Instead, I am going to focus on Cashman’s continued blunders that have put the Yankees in the position of overpaying brittle and aging stars rather than augmenting a roster built on homegrown talent with the occasional free agent or trade. What made the Yankees dynasty of the 1990s so great, is that everyone had the same mentality…”What do we need to do to win today?” Whether it was grinding out at-bats, bunting, stealing a base, or taking a 10-pitch walk and passing the baton to the next guy in the lineup, those teams understood the meaning of sacrificing for the greater good. The Yankees of that era weren’t superstars at every position, but they were good baseball players. When players such as Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, and Alex Rodriguez were brought into the fold to replace team leaders, we all should’ve seen the handwriting on the wall.

Everyone who isn’t a Yankees fan always claims “They buy their championships.” Here is something I will never understand about Brian Cashman. First, a man has to know his limitations. If you don’t know how to properly scout and draft, you HIRE THOSE THAT DO! Secondly, if the Yankees want to spend big bucks on the best talent money can buy, how about BUYING THE SCOUTS AND DRAFT EXPERTS OF THE TAMPA BAY RAYS AND ST. LOUIS CARDINALS? Championship teams are built on organizational depth and talent. Gene Michael understood that. He witnessed firsthand how badly things could go sour when you give up all of your talented minor leaguers for over the hill bums. It happened in the 1980s. Don’t believe me? Remember players named Fred McGriff, Jose Rijo, Willie McGee and Jay Buhner? Yep. All Yankees farmhands that were dealt for steaming turds. Once the Boss was out, Michael scouted and drafted Jeter, Rivera, Posada, and Pettitte. I think he knew what he was doing. It’s just too bad that ol’ Stick is far too old to come back in and revitalize a franchise in disarray. It is alarming at how thin the minor league system is of viable superstar talent. Look how badly Cashman missed when he made the decision to unveil his “Big Three” in Hughes, Chamberlain, and Kennedy.

While as a fan of the Yankees, I of course want to see every move that Brian Cashman makes work out for the best, and to watch the Yankees hoist the World Series trophy this coming fall. Unfortunately, I’m also a realist, and if the latest incarnation of the Yankees crash and burn, there is only one man’s head who should be on the chopping block: Brian Cashman. He’s held the job longer than most ever expected him to, and his poor personnel decisions have cost the franchise dearly. My advice to Cash: Don’t go away mad, just go away!

Follow Yanks Go Yard co-editor Billy Brost on Twitter @Billy_Brost

Next Yankees Game View full schedule »
Wednesday, Sep 33 Sep7:05Boston Red SoxBuy Tickets

Tags: Brian Cashman George Steinbrenner New York Yankees News

  • Joseph

    Dude, he wasn’t even given blanket authority until around 2005 yet you blame him for everything from 2001 until then. Way to re-write history lol.

    I won’t sit here and defend his bad decisions, there are plenty of them, but name a GM you can’t say that about.

    He’s also made more than a few good ones along the way, but we wouldn’t know that based on your hatchet job.

    You tagged him with Hughes as a bad pick of his, but guess what…dude was drafted in 2004, before Cashman had complete control over everything. He still had the Boss chiming in, telling him moves to make and so on at that point.

    Kennedy was his but he also saw pretty quickly that the guy didn’t have the goods to get it done in the AL East (was an accurate forecast) and packaged him a trade that yielded a decent player. Not exactly helping your point, is it?

    Joba. You REALLY think that was all on him? With the Hank Steinbrenner very vocally going on record as “viewing him as a top of the rotation starter” and forcing Cashman’s hands in to that whole “is he a starter, is he a reliever” mess?

    That was a disaster through and through and it was because that moron Hankenstein wanted it that way.

    That huge mistake and the Arod deal he pushed onto Cashman are the two main reasons why the family yanked the reins form him and gave them to Hal.

    Cashman took a lot of steps in the right direction and has actually drafted fairly well for someone who is always at the bottom end of every round.

    If Banuelos, Campos and a few other guys weren’t side-tracked with injuries that 100% can NOT be laid at Cashman’s feet we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

    He learned form Hankenstein’s mistake and refused to let the team get lured into another horrible 10-year deal with Cano and that alone is worth every penny he makes. It was not an easy decision because Yankee fans can be fickle (bordering on mentlaly challenged) some times.

    Let’s not forget all the mid-season deals that Cashman made that were big payoffs over the years.

    In 2005 the Yankees obtained Shawn Chacon from the Rockies for Eduardo Sierra and Ramon Ramirez. The Yanks don’t make the playoffs that year w/o his 7-3, sub-3.00 ERA run.

    The next year he knew Philly was desperate to remove Bobby Abreu’s dubious motor and big salary. He got Abreu and Cory Lidle for absolutley nothing. Abreu produced an .843 OPS for the Yankees and helped for 2 1⁄2 years.

    In 2007 he sent a nobody to the Angels for Jose Molina. Molina was the man mostly responsible for keeping A.J. Burnett somewhat reliable through the 2009 championship season, one where if Burnett folds in Game 2 of the WS the Yankees go down 2-0 in the series and likely lose.

    2009 Cashman completed three deals in which he gave up the baseball equivalent of a bucket of used batting practice balls to obtain Eric Hinske, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Chad Gaudin, a trio that helped add depth to a championship club.

    2010 Cashman gave up two non-prospects to Cleveland for Kerry Wood, whose 0.69 ERA in 24 appearances helped get the Yankees to the playoffs. Nobody saw that coming yet he still pushed the right button.

    The Nick Swisher deal (playoff failures of the Swish aside) was the perfect example of buying low. The yanks gave up peanut shells for a guy who was a consistent .850ish OPS guy for his entire tenure in New York.

    The Granderson deal was at first thought to be a loss on his end but in reality it was more along the lines of a push where everyone got something “okay” out of it.

    Hell, he even took Randy Johnson (who was 100% forced on him by the Boss) and flipped him for Luis Vizcaino, Steven Jackson, Ross Ohlendorf and Alberto Gonzalez. Vizcaino was a serviceable reliever (until the Curse of Being In Joe Torre’s Pen took its toll), Ohlendorf was part of the package that brought Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady (“All he does is un-tie games” was an ESPN meme for a while when the guy came in and posted a .949 OPS in “Late & Close”, 2 outs & RISP situations for the Yankees) and Gonzalez was traded for Jhonny Nunez (who was then flipped in the Swisher deal).

    I know it’s a long post, but my point is this… dude is nowhere near as bad a GM as people think and he’s done it with shitty draft positions, some high maintenance owners and the most oppressive media situation on Earth.

    Cut the man some slack.

  • roylevine

    In 1992, the Yankees were trying to build from the ruins. From 1996 forward, they have been trying to maintain their position on top. Cashman has gotten the Yankees into the postseason year after year. As his core aged, he continued to shore up the team with free agents. When you sign free agents, you lose draft picks and you get the tail end of careers. The 2014 team is much better than the 2013 team and may compete for the postseason, if they find some pitching, but the price is an older team. Cashman would hae liked to see this team stocked by Banuelos, Pineda, Betances, Montgomery, Williams, Heathcott too. Those plans have not worked out. It is the flip side of building from the bottom up. Sometimes the souflee goes into the garbage.

  • YanksFanSG

    It’s hard to draft well when you have the 30th pick every year. Then when you sign one free agent you lose it. You’re comparing apples and oranges. Jeter was a 6th pick. We haven’t sniffed a pick in the top 25 since 1995. Tampa had the first pick for 10 years straight. Then they trade them at year 5 and 6 before free agency. We can’t operate in that model unless we’re the worst team for a decade and that will never fly in NY.

  • ikkf

    Great article. Sums up exactly how I feel.

    And to those who say to cut Cashman some “slack,” the guy’s been on the job for 15 years. An entire generation of major league players has come and gone in that time. He’s had autonomy for 8 years now; his record speaks for itself.

    I don’t hear Boston or St. Louis whining about their place in the draft. They have enough talented baseball people to find a way around that.

    And to those who say the Boss meddled too much, give me a break. Stick Michael put his foot down and refused to let George trade Pettitte on a number of occasions. He kept Bernie, Mo, and other invaluable guys in pinstripes. He also insisted that Jeter was ready for the bigs in ’96. Nothing but excuses for Cash.

    Cashman is also unprofessional, throwing public temper tantrums and whining behind the scenes to the press about the Steinbros overruling him on deals he doesn’t like. Hey Cash, if you can’t take the heat, move to Milwaukee.

  • Ron Papparlardo

    He drafted David Robertson and Brett Gardner. Pretty good players if you ask me.

  • Tisha Waters

    I agree with the poster Joseph. You can’t blame him for anything prior tom 2005.And it was HANK who gave A Rod the extension in 2007. You can’t blame him for Gerritt Cole not signing in 2008, that is on Boras. You can blame Oppenhemier, Newman and Epplier for the farm. They run it , not Cashman. et your facts s straight,