Coming into this season, as it was every year, the expectations for the Yankees were sky high. Some pieces added, some pieces subtracted, but after missing the playoffs for just the second time since 1995, this mission was to get back. Now, sitting at .500, and without a contract for next season, is Brian Cashman to blame?
In Cashman’s defense, he got the pitcher on the free agent market in Masahiro Tanaka, which the Yankees needed and the best catcher on the free agent market in Brian McCann. They kept Hiroki Kuroda for another year which made sense as well. They added some depth to the infield with Yangervis Solarte, who came out of nowhere this year and was productive early. When you lose four out of five starters in your rotation to injury, it’s hard to compete after that.
I think Cashman and the Yankees didn’t realize how much they would miss Robinson Cano. While he doesn’t have the big power numbers in Seattle, he’s been a leader for them. He’s also that guy in the lineup who opposing pitchers have to gameplan for, and pitch around, the Yankees don’t have that. Jacoby Ellsbury is a nice player, but he’s not an alpha in the lineup.
Carlos Beltran was supposed to help replace some of that power, and after being hurt all year with various ailments, it’s possible they got him 10 years too late. Alfonso Soriano was supposed to provide pop. He was released. Kelly Johnson was supposed to help at third. He’s been a disaster.
The Yankees were supposed to have enough depth pitching wise. They were depending on Michael Pineda to actually be healthy, something he’s never been. Someone like Jason Hammel was sitting out there and could have been had on a one-year deal. He went to the Cubs and is now with Oakland. Guys like David Huff and Jeff Francis should have been added in the off-season, not as a wing and a prayer fill-ins.
A lot of that can be blamed on the lack of depth in the minor league system, which seems to be improving, though they aren’t pulling the trigger on adding guys to the major league roster like Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder, who could help right now over guys like Johnson.
Even though it would probably be in the team’s best interest to trade David Robertson for some pieces (any contender would jump on him in heartbeat) and use Dellin Betances to close and maybe call up a guy like Danny Burawa, the Yankees won’t do that. They’ll go after the Cole Hamels and the Cliff Lee and the Chase Headley pieces to try and sneak into the postseason.
If the Yankees fail to make it again, I still expect Cashman back next year. I would expect some assistant GM’s and maybe Mark Newman to be replaced. Some of this year you can’t blame Cashman for, but a lot of it you can. It’s two weeks to the deadline. Tick Tock.