Yankees Brian Cashman: The man in the driver’s seat

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Yankees General Manager, Brian Cashman, has been wildly successful in transforming the organization in the space of only thirteen months. His future with the team is uncertain. But his mark is permanently etched in the team’s history.

The Yankees and Hal Steinbrenner, unless they haven’t been paying attention, will sit down with Brian Cashman at the end of this season offering him a gazillion dollars to stay on with the team as General Manager.

As in most negotiations of this kind, the what have you done for me lately question will zoom to the forefront of these talks. Cashman brings a bulky catalog to the table in answering this issue, putting the Yankees in an uncomfortable position and one they are not used to being in.

For Cashman, the choice appears to be his as to what his future in baseball holds. Recent rumors about him joining the Marlins with Derek Jeter and company will probably not be consummated, but the talk is the name of the game for Cashman, and it only serves to enhance his position.

This is what happens, though, when a GM decides to take some bold steps to transform an aging and overpriced team, moving them towards a new look that features young and athletic talent.

You start off by looking around the league to find the teams who are desperate to acquire what you have, and they don’t. Cashman sees the Cubs and the Indians, who are both looking at a World Series appearance, if only they had a bonafide closer.

Well shucks, you have two of them. Cashman moves in for the kill trading both Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs and Andrew Miller to the Indians for a boatload of talent arriving at the doorstep of the Yankees, highlighted by the addition to the team of Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier.

That, of course, was beginning of everything we see now and look forward to shortly of the Yankees.

In for the kill again

But Cashman didn’t stop there, and he’s taken talent to a whole new level this season by acquiring Sonny Gray and Todd Frazier at the trade deadline. This time, though, he went to the bank and withdrew some of the talents he received last season, considering those prospects as expendable for the sake of the Yankees in 2017.

Criticized by some for “dealing away the future,” Cashman reluctantly, but bravely, went ahead based on the belief that his team had the makings of a playoff unit that could make some noise in the Second Season, perhaps even reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

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And voila, here they are still fighting for a Division title with the Red Sox and still sitting in the top spot for the Wild Card.

But in this game, you win some, and you lose some. And from the looks of things, the trade for Jaime Garcia, suspect even at the time the deal was made, goes down as the lone defeat for Cashman in the whirlwind of moves he’s made.

Notably, Joe Girardi is skipping Garcia’s turn in the rotation today in favor of Jordan Montgomery, who will make the start sending Garcia to the bullpen, where he is restricted only to long relief and mop-up chores.

Should he hold ’em or fold ’em

Cashman has been in a similar position before. Except that then he was on the other end of the stick when he took over a Yankees team that was primarily built by Gene Michael, reaping the rewards during the Yankees run in the late Nineties.

Having done Michael’s part of the job himself now, Cashman has the choice of staying with the organization to reap those same rewards or moving on to accept a rebuilding challenge elsewhere.

Only Cashman knows what he’s thinking, and he’s likely to keep those thoughts close to his vest until it comes time to sit down and talk turkey with the Yankees.

Barring injuries, Cashman has the team set for this year, and no further moves should be required. But come December, he and the Yankees will engage in talks that are bound to overshadow all the moves the team may make during the offseason.

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Cashman drives the ship. Like anyone, he can be replaced. But the Yankees need to think long and hard before they move or push Cashman in that direction. Because after all, as they say in baseball all the time, just look at his numbers.

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