Yankees GM Brian Cashman seems to relish the idea of gladiator matches as the new look of the team. How else do you explain the moves he’s been making lately?
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman is beginning to resemble a Roman emperor who enjoys his Sunday afternoon gladiator matches in the Coliseum. Because when you consider that the competition for jobs this season was already severe amongst several of the younger players, how else can you explain his recent penchant for adding to the contest by bringing in the likes of Chris Carter, Ji-Man Choi, Rueben Tejada, and Jon Niese?
If Michael Douglas hit the nail on the head in his Wall Street film with the statement, “greed is good,” then Cashman would add, “competition is good” in baseball. And he has a valid point. What good hitter, for example, doesn’t get “up” when he’s facing Clayton Kershaw or Justin Verlander? And good pitcher doesn’t dream of facing Mike Trout with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth when the game is on the line.
Now, Brian, what can you do to bring in someone who can wake up Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury?
"“It’s exciting,” Bird said of the addition of Carter. “We got a good bat. Someone I can learn from. I think for me coming into camp, I have to prove that I’m healthy and get used to playing again, so I’ve got enough on my plate. It’s exciting. It’s good for us.”"
Or, that Carter himself would react to the idea of competing for playing time with Bird by telling Newsday:
"“It was me and Brandon Moss, so I’ve pretty much done that,” he said. “I’m more accustomed to playing every day, but we’ll see what happens. I don’t know what they’re going to do with me, but my mindset is to just get my work in (during spring training) and be ready for the season.”"
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Brian Cashman senses something about the team that he is building. And it stems from the idea that it’s all for one and one for all. Joe Maddon, for instance, had the same answer to the same question every time he was asked, “What is the Cubs formula for winning a World Series”? Maddon would pause and then point to the clubhouse suggesting that the answer is all in there.
And it’s not that the Yankees have had a bad clubhouse filled with negativity. It’s just that they haven’t had that kind of a clubhouse.
In the same way, when you look at the Yankees starting staff, don’t you think there might be something different going on amongst the likes of Chad Green, Luis Severino, and Luis Cessa with the addition of Jon Niese to the mix. And for Niese himself, isn’t his motivation to succeed a notch higher now given the fact that the team only thought he was worth a minor league contract?
The kids are motivated, to begin with. No one needs to tell Aaron Judge that he is fortunate to have the chance to be the Yankees right-fielder for a long time to come – if he can prove himself worthy of the job. Similarly, no one needs to tell Gary Sanchez telling him he has a chance to be the next Derek Jeter for the franchise. It’s inherent, and he knows it.