Yankees: Brian Cashman’s head is right where it has to be

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 07: New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman speaks during a news conference on August 7, 2016 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 07: New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman speaks during a news conference on August 7, 2016 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman isn’t shying away from the expectations put in place for a young club with a lot of promise.

The longtime GM of the Yankees wants another ring, and by doing so, it would give a  core group of players such as Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius and Luis Severino their first.

Cashman also mentioned that some players — Aroldis Chapman instantly jumps to mind — had won a World Series championship elsewhere, but it’s special when it happens for the most successful team in American pro sports. Per Newsday:

"“We hope so but the goal is to find a way to win the next one, to need another ring is the goal,” said Cashman, the GM since 1998. “I need another ring. I’ve got rings but there’s other guys in there that don’t have a ring. Some have rings somewhere else, they want a Yankee ring. I think having a ring with an ‘NY’ on it means more than any of the other ones out there in my opinion. So ultimately and collectively we’re going to try and find a way to get that done.”"

Cashman does have four rings to his name since serving as the franchise’s GM, taking over everyday functions in the midst of the Yankees’ dynasty from 1996-2000. However, this one would be a lot more rewarding for him.

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He took over a team that former GM Gene Michael set up for greatness. All Cashman had to do was keep it afloat. Cash had a significant say over the 2009 team that won a World Series, but he wasn’t the most prominent voice in player operations. That still belonged to the late George Steinbrenner.

Now, this time, things are different.

Cashman has primarily done the overall transformation of talented youth. The talent he assembled last season got within one game of the World Series, and because of that, he was rewarded with a new contract — in a way to prove he has the recipe for success.

That though doesn’t mean it will all come together this year, and according to Newsday, Cashman recognizes talent when he sees it.

"“Our first focus has to be more so the Red Sox,” Cashman said. “The best teams are in the American League. We know we have our work cut out for us.”"

The GM knows that there is top-tier competition in the American League East alone, with the Red Sox boasting a rotation of 2017 Cy Young runner-up Chris Sale, 2016 winner Rick Porcello and 2012 winner David Price — whose looking to rebound after a tough start to his Red Sox career. 

As speculated by ESPN’s Buster Olney, Boston could also be near a deal to add slugger J.D. Martinez to a potentially lethal lineup that is need of a power bat:

Cashman also acknowledges that the defending champion Houston Astros haven’t remained content as evident by the addition of starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. The ‘Stros arguably have the deepest pitching rotation in all of baseball to go with perennial MVPs Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve — a man that bested Judge in the voting last season.

Erik Boland reports Cashman is well aware that for any of this to work, health is critical to have on the Yankees’ side.

Avoiding the DL is important to note because of Greg Bird (having played in just 108 games, including playoffs since 2015)  and Giancarlo Stanton’s (coming off his first 150-game season since 2012) lengthy injury history. Not to mention, Aaron Judge battled a nagging shoulder injury for much of last season.

"“Injuries and then the competition,” Cashman said. “There’s a high respect level for Cleveland, Houston, Boston, amongst others. Minnesota made a lot of moves this winter, Anaheim’s done a lot. Listen, it’s a new landscape, new teams, new strengths, new weaknesses, we’ll see where it takes us. The biggest thing is staying healthy and making sure you can deploy the maximum amount of weapons you have on a daily basis.”"

While it’s true that the Yankees have high expectations based off of getting to Game 7 of the ALCS and adding the reigning NL MVP, Cashman is right to believe other teams are just as talented and will put up a great fight to finish as 2018 World Series champs.

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Cash is also right to know that if his team has health issues for much of the season, that mountain could be harder to climb with the Red Sox seeking their third straight AL East title for the first time in their franchise history.