The New York Yankees were reticent to move on from Brian Cashman this offseason, ultimately giving their baseball operations leader another four-year addition to his apparent lifetime contract.
On Tuesday, though, the team seemed to acknowledge that a little internal boost and mentorship wouldn’t be the worst thing for the front office.
For years now, Cashman’s Yankees have been a dominant regular-season team, but as victimized by the slings and arrows of the postseason as any club. Since their most recent World Series win, the team has made the playoffs (including the Wild Card Game) 10 times without a title.
Three of those rings were captured by Brian Sabean-helmed San Francisco Giants teams; the Commissioner’s Trophy went to the Bay Area in 2010, 2012, and 2014, thanks in large part to the former Yankees dynasty builder’s ingenuity.
Sabean, an essential piece of the scouting operation that built the mid-90s Yankees, left New York in 1993 to take on the assistant GM role in San Francisco. After nearly three decades out west, Sabean returned to the Bronx in an Executive Advisory role to open the 2023 season, adding a surprising infusion of championship know-how to the proceedings.
Yankees bring back Brian Sabean to aid Brian Cashman in World Series pursuit
Adding a keen eye never hurts, especially one as gilded as Sabean’s.
2023 is an extremely important season for the Yankees, though it no longer feels as if the end of an era is upon us, as it did when Aaron Judge was ticking towards free agency.
Judge’s nine-year return and captaincy (negotiated by Hal Steinbrenner), as well as the addition of Carlos Rodón, should make the ’23 Yankees a championship-caliber ball club, with more to come in the years to follow. Somehow, though, Judge’s core has always fallen short, and now it’s partially on Sabean to figure out what’s long been missing.
Credited with helping to assemble the Core Four and Bernie Williams (by Cashman himself), Sabean is a multi-time Executive of the Year winner who served as the Giants’ Senior VP and General Manager from 1996-2015, then transitioned into another role with the franchise until 2018.
According to Sabean on his introductory call with the New York media Tuesday, he didn’t feel fully wanted at the position under the new Farhan Zaidi regime, and reached out to the Yankees to create a better fit. He was immediately embraced, and plans to “do anything to help the Yankees win a World Series”.
This homecoming feels like the perfect way to add a well-honed voice to Cashman’s cabinet without completely undermining the current GM/Senior VP. After all, the two did work together to craft MLB’s most recent dynasty (unless, of course, you’d like to count Sabean’s Giants).
That said … there has to be a slight element of a kick in the pants here, importing someone who had so much success elsewhere to his former “home” to roost.
It’s unlikely Cashman groused terribly about the hire, or Sabean wouldn’t be back/he, himself, wouldn’t have signed on for a return engagement. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems Sabean could be the perfect executive to steer this (very competent!) ship towards its final destination.