With all of the injuries that have plagued the Yankees this season, Girardi has gotten a lot of praise for the success of his team. The Yanks are a game up on Boston for first in the AL East and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. Also, it seems like their power-which was much in question going into the season- has not suffered all that much. Girardi does deserve credit for guiding a team who's roster looks like a mix between a last decade's all star team and a this decade's AAA all star team, but doesn't GM Brian Cashman deserve just as much?
Cashman was not all that popular this offseason. There were calls for his job, fans were accusing him of not opening up the checkbook, and when he finally did make moves (Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis) they were pretty unpopular. The blogosphere lit up with posts detailing about how all of these players were past their expiration dates and that for a team that was so reliant on power recently, there will be none to speak of. Lets look at the lines for Cashman's notable offseason pickups:
Not too shabby huh? Like him or not, Cashman was either extremely lucky or happens to know what he is doing...I'm going with the latter. Yes, he's signed some bad contracts and made some bad decisions, but he's also won 5 penants and 4 World Series as GM of the Yanks. The guy knows a thing or two about putting together a winning team.
One the other side of the game, Girardi's management of the bullpen is second to none. It has almost certainly contributed directly to winning games, so you can't take that part of Girardi's management away from him. So does Girardi deserve credit for the Yankee's success so far this year? My answer is yes, but not as much as Cashman does. Girardi was given the pieces to the puzzle and told to put it all together, without Cashman the pieces would have never fit.
I understand that there are people who attribute the Yankees success to luck. They are winning close games, their run differential isn't all that great and their pythagorean record indicates they have been a bit lucky this season. But the Yankees are doing what they need to be doing-winning games. That is the ultimate indicator of success. Now, whether that translates into playoff success is a who different ballgame, literally, but we've got plenty of time before we need to talk about that.
What do you guys think?
Stats from Baseball Reference.