Sunday hurt, folks. Not only did the Yankees lose yet another series to a sub-.500 team but it came at the hands of two of the most unlikable Yankees from the past few seasons: Phil Hughes and Eduardo Nunez. Hughes pitched a gem, going eight innings of three hit, two run ball while Nunez hit a two-run pinch hit double of Matt Daley in the top of the ninth to seal the Yankees’ fate.
Alas, we some how made it through the week going 3-3 after an impressive series win over the Cardinals and remain above .500 and in the hunt for the AL East. More bad news piled up on the injury front as Mark Teixeira will miss a few games with his ailing wrist and Michael Pineda was shut down in his rehab. It’s hard to stay positive in Yankees’ Universe these days. The Bronx is boiling, and I need to blow some steam.
IS IT TIME TO MOVE ON FROM BRIAN CASHMAN?
Ask any Yankees’ fan that has been around since 2002 and there will be a resounding yes. The media and fans alike have long been frustrated with the direction the team has gone since Luis Gonzalez hit that soft looper over Derek Jeter’s head in the last inning of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. A lot of that blame, deserved or not, falls on Cashman.
Cashman took over in 1998. The Yankees were already amid their late 90s run that encompassed four World Series titles in five seasons. By the end of the run, Cashman would receive tons of credit for a team that Gene “Stick” Michaels built. When contracts began to expire and the veterans of the 90s Dynasty began to retire in 2002, Cashman finally got his chance to show the baseball world what he could do. But that isn’t even what has me boiling.
Nor does the fact that we have only won one World Series since Cashman has began to “build” his Yankees team have me at the boiling point. Do you realize that the lone Cashman built Yankee World Series still had more starters drafted by Stick (Jeter, Posada, Pettitte, and Mo) than starters acquired or drafted by Cashman (Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano, and Joba Chamberlain)? Sure, Cashman brought on some key pieces on that team via free agency, but the money he over spent on A.J.Burnett, Hideki Matsui, CC Sabathia, and Mark Teixeira still has the Yankees’ in a huge hole to this day.
Cashman has made some of the worst signings in Yankees’ history, and that says a lot considering this is a team that paid for a past his prime Danny Tartabull and thought crazy old Jack Clark was a game changing move. Here are some of the big names Cashman brought on who never won anything for the Yankees: Jason Giambi, Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, Javier Vazquez, and the worst of the worst in Kei Igawa. And yet, that is still not why I am steaming over Cashman.
The reason that Cashman seems to be past his prime is that for the last two seasons, the Yankees have not had a competitive roster. He has put together a roster of over-the-hill, over paid, injury prone players. The ultimate kicker is that the cost of the contracts, both financially and in minor league depth, may have set the Yankees back for years.
The monster contracts to Sabathia, Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez are crippling the Yankees. The three did help the Yankees bring their 27th championship to the Bronx, but almost over night, they fell apart. Now, we have very little players capable to back up these aging veterans. The minor leagues are barren, whether it be from babying them too much, losing draft picks in compensation for big signings, or just plain old bad drafting. If Teixeira plays 80 games this season, it will be a minor victory, but the other 82 games are going to be filled out by out-of-position players well past their prime or not suited for the opportunity.
Pineda was supposed to finally be over the hump, but his season has been filled with scandals and, yep that’s right, MORE injuries. And the contract they dished out to CC Sabathia, who has clearly thrown too many innings in the earlier years of his career, may be irreparable. Their is absolutely no starting pitching prospects on the horizon for the Yankees. Yes, they have a few intriguing prospects at Tampa and Charleston, but they are years away.
What is Cashman’s plan to replace Teixeira, who by all accounts, appears to be done? How will he replace the three gaping holes on the starting pitching staff? What is going to happen come September when Jeter, Kelly Johnson, and Brian Roberts are worn down and can barely able to play three times a week?
The scary answer is that their may be nothing he can do. It’s not all Cashman’s fault, however. Since The Boss handed the team over to Hank Steinbrenner and his brain trust, things just haven’t been right. But someone is going to be the fall guy. Sometimes, when it comes to battling Hank for a right decision, Cashman seems so disinterested that it seems like he just let’s it go instead of putting up a fight.
Maybe Cashman is just tired of being the scapegoat, maybe he is just mentally drained from continually putting together the worst rosters that money can buy. I liken it to trying to solve the Rubik’s Cube. Every time you think you got it, you blow it at the last move. Fans and the media complain that the Yankees can’t score runs, but if you look at the product that we have put on the field the past two seasons, that shouldn’t come as much as a surprise.
The Yankees need to fight and get Jeter to one last playoffs. This team then needs to move on completely from the Core Four Era and do a complete overhaul. And the first one to go may wind up being Brian Cashman.