Brian Cashman explains why Hal Steinbrenner's 'We're Not Done Yet' wasn't reality
By Adam Weinrib
Remember when Hal Steinbrenner boasted that the Yankees "weren't done yet" after making their largest moves of the offseason, bringing Aaron Judge back and finding room for left-hander Carlos Rodón in the budget?
Remember when Michael Kay sparked a flame by hinting that the team was chasing something "bigger than Rodón"? Not every rumored deal materializes, and that one certainly didn't. It does beg the question, though: What was Yankees universe talking about all winter long?
Were Carlos Correa's agents trying to steer the infielder to the Bronx? Was Bryan Reynolds ever on the table? Who was agitating? Who was making noise?
According to Brian Cashman at his self-called impromptu presser on Wednesday night, the whole thing was one big misunderstanding filled with "bad deals" that he deftly avoided.
Of course it was. It's always someone else's fault, isn't it? And we all know Cashman never makes "bad deals," so it's good he avoided the temptation this time around while the media continued to feed the narrative that something massive and foundation-changing was about to drop.
Yankees were done after Carlos Rodón signing, Brian Cashman explains why
According to Cashman, the team was trying to not be done, but nobody else would help them become awesome! Aw, rats.
"It takes two to tango. You engage other clubs, you try to make deals ... you're not going to make a bad deal," Cashman told the media. "So, I think his comment was more like, 'Hey, we're not done, we've got areas we want to get better at,' but we're not going to just do something that's not going to make any sense."
Also, ironically, literally every other move has been "bigger than Rodón," considering the left-hander has yet to suit up in pinstripes. So we've got that going for us!
Being a GM is hard. Being a GM in New York has got to be frustrating, considering the constant pressure. But the fact remains that Cashman is playing on relative Easy Mode, able to stretch his budget to the upper regions of the luxury tax even in a slow year. It falls on him that he used that ability to be a weigh station on Josh Donaldson (good idea!), then did exactly what everyone warned him not to and stopped flexing his muscles once he absorbed that inflated deal. It falls on him that, given the opportunity to upgrade the rotation and bullpen, he pinpointed a fleet of soon-to-be-injured options (one was already injured!) and picked wrong every single time.
We cannot stress that enough. Cashman's entire 2022 trade deadline haul has already had surgery, which has to be a record. Most GMs would kill for the ability to still be on solid ground after the results of the 2020-23 winter/summer period, beginning with the addition of Gerrit Cole (good!), which was supplemented with nothing else. Surely, other teams wanted to make only bad deals that winter, too.
This job is grueling, but it seems the only punishment for Cashman's failure is light criticism. He has a gig for life. He's the only man who can swing and miss on an entire generation's worth of trades and get out of it with a huddle in the dugout and a, "Yeah, we tried, but we don't want to make bad deals" mantra.
Only Cashman could think he comes off well by admitting Steinbrenner wanted to fill holes and get better, but he couldn't find any way to fill those holes. Perhaps, "We're not done yet" only referred to the endless droning of Cashman's tenure as he looks to recapture his '90s glory days by executing a successful talent infusion.
It only takes one. Lakers GM Rob Pelinka was vilified, until he put together a near-perfect deadline this spring that has Los Angeles set up for a potential deep playoff run. Now that Cashman has another chance to avoid being "done," he'd better make it count.