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Cashman's moves

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Can we finally give some credit to Brian Cashman? After an eight year drought, he finally put the Yankees back on top of the baseball world.

After acquiring underachiever after underachiever, Cash built a team based on healthy and dependable stars. In years past, we'd seen the likes of Jaret Wright, Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Jeff Weaver and Carl Pavano don the pinstripes, only to watch them either underperform or not perform at all. None of the aforementioned lived up to their billing, either through injury or ineffectiveness.

Carl Pavano started 26 games for the Yankees over four seasons. A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia started 67 games this season alone. Mark Teixeira played 156 games, only sitting out a few times to 'freshen up.'

Not to denigrate George III, but his 'interference' only seemed to hurt the club. He's better when he stands back and lets his 'baseball people' run the team. The last dynasty began when he was barred from baseball. The one that is (hopefully) beginning now began when he ceded control to his sons (about 2007), who were far less 'hands on' than their dad. They in turn handed control over to Brian Cashman, a smart move considering he is the general manager.

Since the change in management, we've seen a marked improvement in the farm system: the '09 bullpen consisted almost entirely of former-Yankee farmhands: Rivera, Hughes, Joba, Coke, Robertson, Aceves. In fact, 13 of the 25 players (more than half) on the World Series roster were from the Yanks farm system.

Next year we're going to see the likely addition of several more: Frankie Cervelli looks to be the BUC, Mark Melancon and Austin Jackson may join the team around mid-season, Jesus Montero has an outside chance at playing a contributing role, as does Zach McAllister.

The money the Yankees save by using the likes of Hughes and Joba instead of Kyle Farnsworth and Tom Gordon can be used to acquire elite free agents (Tex, CC), not just good or over-the-hill ones (RJ, Sheff). Hughes and Joba were worth $17 million combined this year. They were paid about $1 million. Think about it this way: that $16 million difference basically paid for A.J. Burnett's whole season.

Instead of Big Stein forcing Cash to go after the likes of Sheffield and RJ (by all accounts, Cash wanted Beltran and/or Vlad Guerrero), he was able to sign quality in-their-prime players like CC and Tex.

Cashman was against trading for Johan Santana (at the price the Twins were asking), despite the apparent pressure put on him by other members of the front office. Future injuries and ineffectiveness were suspected, and he asked the most vital of questions: why pay twice for one player? Why give up prospects and money when, if the Yankees could be patient, a pitcher at least as good would be available for just money? (Imagine if this had happened when the Yanks were preparing for the stretch run, or if Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera had been traded.)

I was admittedly against the Nady/Marte trade. Nady was coming off a career half-year while Cashman sold low on high-ceiling prospect Jose Tabata. To add injury to insult, both Nady and Marte missed the majority of 2009 (they combined to play only 28 games). Well, whatever happens with Tabata in the future, we'll know that that trade helped us win a World Series. Marte was essential to the playoff run, summoning the spirit of Graeme Lloyd: 4 ip, 0.00 ERA, 5 k, 0 bb, 2 h (and both hits were in one game!).

I'll talk about one more move: Nick Swisher. Any team could've had this guy, but that the Yanks got him for almost nothing (Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez, are you kidding me?), and that he was superior to not only Bobby Abreu but to every other Yankee OFer made the trade even more extraordinary.

Some skeptics will say Cashman is only a product of the highest payroll in MLB. But as we've learned first-hand this decade, spending the most money is anything but a sure way to win the World Series. Not only has Brian Cashman given the Yankees their 27th title, but has put them in a position to continue supplying the club with good, cheap talent.


  • PS: To the fans/readers of PA - thank you for an incredible season. The four of us fed off your incredible energy and enthusiasm. We hope to see you all throughout the off-season and 2010.