Yankees: Brian Cashman’s genius is somehow being overshadowed by poor play


When you realize how good the Yankees are without their stars, Brian Cashman needs to get the credit.

This is now the third year in a row it’s happened. The New York Yankees are decimated by injuries to their top players — this time it’s Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu all at the same time — and the morale among the fanbase is low.

The Yankees have managed to win over 100 games in 2018 and 2019 despite, quite literally, possessing the most injuries in history last season.

Now that we’re in the same boat in 2020, we have one man to thank: general manager Brian Cashman. He’s made this all possible, somehow possessing the foresight to plan ahead for the most disastrous circumstances one could never imagine. However, despite his great work, the Yankees find themselves in a five-game slide and production has plummeted.

One has to hope the backups turn it around before the stars return from injury because we’ve seen what these depth players (and now some starters) are capable of. It’s a shame things aren’t working out at the moment, but it likely won’t be before long these guys get back on track as they start to play more consistent baseball.

Any other team suffering this many injuries (or even a percentage of them!) would be dead in the water. Yankees fans have the luxury to incessantly complain on social media when their B lineup can’t get it done against Braves star Max Fried. Think about that.

Cashman’s made shrewd moves over the years to bolster every area of the roster. He’s built the league’s best bullpen to help incessant issues with the starting rotation (so many of which were out of his control). Yes, he used the Yankees’ deep pockets to do that, but he got his hands on guys like Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman (before they signed) via trade.

He turned Chapman into Gleyber Torres. He turned Andrew Miller into Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield, and then flipped Sheffield for James Paxton. Luke Voit was acquired for Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos. Gio Urshela came to New York for a backpack of cash. Prospect Phillip Diehl was traded for Mike Tauchman. Chad Green came over in the Justin Wilson deal with the Tigers. John Ryan Murphy was traded for Aaron Hicks, straight up!

This team also had Sonny Gray and Lance Lynn via trades! They just didn’t work out for whatever reason.

We’re not going to sit here and pretend Cashman isn’t equipped with financial resources. He’s not the GM of the A’s or Rays. But he’s the best kind of hybrid mind for this job. He’s aggressive in free agency when he needs to be and he thinks like a small market GM when it comes to trades and minor transactions.

The Yankees death lineup is one conversation, but the version of the Yankees we’ve seen for a majority of the past two years? That’s the underlying work of a genius and it cannot go overlooked, because the Yankees would be a playoff-less team without it.