Yankees are tops in evaluating risks before acquiring new players: Part 1

Yankees GM Brian Cashman attends the Annual Charity Day (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
Yankees GM Brian Cashman attends the Annual Charity Day (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald) /

All teams employ an evaluation protocol in determining the benefits and costs of acquiring a new player prior to doing so. While some MLB clubs excel at determining talent and value, others often struggle and make wrong decisions. The Yankees, however, are the best at accurately assessing the upsides and downsides of potential acquisitions and making prudent decisions accordingly.

GMs and owners of MLB teams must make the best personnel decisions possible. In addition to the importance of hiring a superb manager, they also must accurately evaluate likely new players and gauge their potential to help their club improve and advance to the next level. Of course, financial commitment, availability of funds, and the luxury tax system are primary guard rails in building a club today; just look at the Yankees.

While minor league prospects help reduce costs and risk substantially, only a small percentage of them make it to the big leagues and perform well. Thus, they alone cannot be relied upon to significantly improve the ball club and help take a team to the postseason.

The Cashman legacy

Brian Cashman, who is 52, began working with the Yankees organization in 1986 as an intern while he was attending Catholic University of America (history major). He was appointed Assistant GM in 1992 and helped run the Bombers while owner George Steinbrenner was suspended from baseball.

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In February 1998, Bob Watson resigned from the Yanks, and Cashman was named Senior Vice-President and General Manager. He agreed to a one-year contract for $300,000 and became the second-youngest GM in MLB history. In 2017 he was named Baseball Executive of the Year.

Fortunately for fans, Cashman is the best in baseball at assessing the risk of signing prospective players. Even for those who are still angry about some of Cashman’s past decisions — the moves he has made on behalf of the Bronx Bombers during his time as GM have been, overall, truly phenomenal.

Some of the best trades he has made include obtaining Roger Clemens for David Wells — and Alex Rodriguez for Alfonso Soriano. Other difference-making moves include signing C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira. Of course, most Bomber fans are thrilled about the recent acquisition of Gerrit Cole, arguably the best starting pitcher in baseball. Signing Cole was a coup.

In particular, Cashman has made several recent acquisitions that are now the envy of other GMs in MLB. These include Gio Urshela, Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, Aroldis Chapman, Masahiro Tanaka, Tommy Kahnle, James Paxon, and, incredibly, D.J. LeMahieu.

The jury is still out regarding the trade of Starlin Castro and two prospects for Giancarlo Stanton.

Next. Ellsbury will go down as the worst signing in franchise history. dark

Unfortunately, Cashman was responsible for signing Jacoby Ellsbury. In Ellsbury’s case, the verdict is in, and it is unanimous: signing Ellsbury was an enormous, costly mistake made by Cashman.

No one is perfect.