Yankees: Cashman And Girardi Dynamic Is Something To Watch

Feb 21, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (right) and generial manager Brian Cashman during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 21, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (right) and generial manager Brian Cashman during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Yankees are a team in transition. That much we know. But what we might not stop to think about is that the faces on the field are not the only ones in a state of flux and that the relationship between Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi is transitioning as well.

How that dynamic between the two evolves will go a long way to determining the fate of the Yankees in 2017 and beyond.

In a piece that appeared on Yanks Go Yard, Mike Calendrillo reported that Yankees manager Joe Girardi is pleased with the offseason additions made by GM Brian Cashman and that Girardi believes that the Yankees are poised to be a serious contender in the AL East, despite the obvious improvements made by the Red Sox.

That is good news not only for Yankees fans but for the team and franchise as well. Because potentially, there could easily be a stark contrast between the 25 players Girardi envisions as the team and the 25 players that Cashman decides to give him.

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In an ideal world, of course, we might imagine that Brian Cashman would not do anything personnel wise without consulting first with his manager. And he might do that, but he is not obligated or required to. Cashman’s job is to find the players, and Girardi’s job is to manage them, no matter who they are.

However, within that dynamic, there is always the potential for conflict. For instance, consider this scenario of texts between the two that is not beyond the realm of possibility at all.

Girardi: “When am I going to see (Gleyber) Torres and (Clint) Frazier. I need both of them badly.”
Cashman: “Not this year – next year on Opening Day.”
Girardi: “Are you serious?”
Cashman: “I am, Joe. It’s all about business. Just do the best you can with what you’ve got”.

Girardi recognizes what’s going on here, so he backs off knowing that his boss is thinking regarding when to start the clock on both players that will determine their eligibility for arbitration and free agency, a pure and simple business decision.

On the other hand, though, Girardi, whose contract runs out at the end of the season, might be asking himself, “What good does that do me? I might not even be here next year”.

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Now obviously, the dynamic between the general manager and the field manager is not unique to the Yankees; all teams have it.

But it’s prevalent more with teams that are in transition with a mix of young and hungry young players, who want and need at-bats or starts in the rotation, versus the older established players who are being paid a ton of money and therefore have to play.

You wouldn’t, for example, except to see a problem develop between Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein only because the Cubs are “set” and Maddon is going to run the same lineup out there every day (barring injuries to key players).

For The Yankees, This Is All New Territory

In fact, it isn’t until this year that the team, and in particular Joe Girardi, have had to worry about who’s playing and who’s not. Albeit a lineup with holes in it, the Yankees lineup was set even as recently as this time last year.

All we can do of course is hope that Cashman and Girardi continue to get along and that Girardi remains “pleased” with the moves that Cashman makes in the future.

We only have to look a short distance to the East to see the strain that can occur when you have a manager (Terry Collins) who’s watching his team fall apart. He’s begging his GM Sandy Alderson for help, only to be met with a recalcitrant response and no help on the horizon.

Next: Girardi All In On Yankees Offseason Moves

So, it’s something that bears watching once the season gets underway. In all likelihood, Girardi is probably correct in thinking that he won’t be here next year – he won’t be fired, he’ll move upstairs – and that the team will seek a younger person who will have less “juice” than Girardi to head the team. But there’s still this season to consider.