When Sabean comes calling and begs for you to find a place for his championship scouting pedigree, it’s probably wise to squeeze him in, though, and Brian Cashman did so with aplomb.
MLB insider Ken Rosenthal spilled ink this week in an attempt to parse what exactly the Sabean/Minaya additions mean for the Yankees’ front office. Will the two old-school minds introduce a much-needed balance to the franchise’s reliance on analytics? Are they just two big names who are difficult to say no to? Was everything running smoothly in New York’s front office at the time of their arrival?
Cashman asserted to Rosenthal that the balance between analytics and the eye test has always been there in the Bronx, and outsiders can’t refute that with any certainty, no matter how wonky the team’s crunched-up numbers have felt in recent years. One anonymous MLB scout gave Rosenthal a money quote to rebut Cashman’s assertion, though, which should give fans hope about what’s to come.
The scout did not mince words:
"And finally, this text from a former scout who reached out to me unsolicited, but did not wish to be named:“Sabean bigger signing than Judge for Yanks. He will control the nonsense from the front-office nerds and treat the player development and scouting staffs as the important pieces they were when the Yanks dominated the postseason.”"
Sounds like the Yankees’ old approach is universally beloved throughout the game! No need for change, no notes!
Yankees front office adding veterans Brian Sabean, Omar Minaya “bigger addition” than Aaron Judge?
If the Yankees importing Brian Sabean does more for the 2023 team’s shot at a championship than retaining Aaron Judge, then dress me up in full uniform, slap a mustache on my upper lip and call me Sal Fasano.
That said, the more serious this team appears to the naked eye about winning a championship (or two) instead of just inching into the postseason and seeing what happens, the better. Sabean’s keen scouting eye goes a long way toward legitimizing the discourse going on behind closed doors, as does Minaya’s addition (as long as he’s not tasked with setting up any honorary banquets for Willie Randolph).
Some analysts, like CBS’ Mike Axisa, have theorized that Sabean and Minaya can be at their most valuable in assessing the minor-league system top to bottom, identifying “sell high” candidates and pegging hidden assets for breakouts, protecting them from the ruthless trade market. That would certainly seem like an area of expertise, considering Cashman himself gave Sabean credit for developing and protecting Bernie Williams and the Core Four prior to his departure from the Yankees back in 1993.
Bottom line? The 2023 Yankees will be run differently than many of us expected when Cashman completed the formality and officially re-signed, joining Aaron Boone in a demonstration of the status quo.
Hopefully, “bigger than Judge” doesn’t go down in the annals of history alongside Michael Kay’s “something bigger than Rodón” as more hope-based Yankees bluster.