Brian Cashman has done a terrific job as General Manager on the Yankees. Taking over in 1998, he has won 4 World Championships as GM of the Yankees and has made some great moves. He's also made some, to be kind, not so good ones. He's gotten a lot better over the years, making a lot better decisions, and learning to walk away when he doesn't get what he wants (ex. Johnny Damon, Cliff Lee, Dan Haren). He's made some great moves, and bad ones too. Here are the bad ones first.
5. Getting Enrique Wilson
Two months into the 2000 season the Yankees and Pirates made a change that sent Enrique Wilson to the Yankees in exchange for, guess who? Damaso Marte! Enrique ended up being, quite simply put, one of the worst players to ever put on a Yankees uniform. He had one of the lowest batting averages in team history while playing here, played bad defense, and basically could only do one thing, which was hit off Pedro Martinez. Now, thats a useful skill, but you'd like to be able to hit off some other pitchers as well, and Enrique, unfortunately, could not do that. The Yanks traded away someone who became one of the premier left handed pitchers in the game for a utility infielder who couldn't hit (Wilson Betemit like). I'd say this was pretty bad.
4. Trading Away Four Prospects for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte
Tough to blame Cash on this one. The Yankees were still in the race at the deadline and they were buyers. They got these guys to strengthen their team to go for a playoff push. It didn't work. But Nady ended up being a bust with his injury, and Marte had been injured most of the time. I give all the credit in the world to Marte for showing up in the World Series (good time to show up), but there's more to the season than that. At the very least, those prospects could have been traded for somebody else who would have helped more, or kept and developed to still be on the team today.
3. Trading For Jeff Weaver
If only Jeff had some of his brother Jered's talent. I remember Jeff Weaver for one pitch that cost the Yankees the World Series, although I haven't forgotten that he sucked other than that too. Should've hung on to Ted Lilly. He's doing pretty well now.
2. Signing Carl Pavano
He never played, was always hurt, and was more useless to the Yankees than the extinct, flightless bird called the Dodo was useless to society. And did you see the new mustache he's grown?
1. Signing of Kei Igawa
This has to be one of the worst signings, not only in Cashman's tenure, but of all time. He was part of the starting rotation for a month, got sent down, came up for one start in 2008, got bombed, and never sniffed the majors again. Right now he has an over 5 ERA pitching out of the AAA bullpen. And when it's all said and done the Yanks will have paid 46 million for the All-Time Scranton wins leader.
And now the five best ones
5. Signing Hideki Matsui Out of Japan
Godzilla was terrific for the Yankees since 2003, coming through in the clutch all the time, crushing left handed pitching, becoming Derek Jeter's favorite player, and becoming the first time DH to win WS MVP. He's out in LA not doing to well right now. But he did great for the Yanks, and thats all that matters right now.
4. Signing Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez
Whether this guy was 33, 38, 42, or 60 when the Yankees signed him, he ended up being the definition of gritty and gutty on the mound. He was also one of the best clutch pitchers NY has ever had. He also taught other pitchers something. Don't ever throw an eephus to Alex Rodriguez.
El Duque was one of my favorite pitchers, and I love what he did in NY.
3. All Moves of 2009
I just decided to bunch these all together, since they were all so important to the 2009 Championship. CC, A.J., Teixeira, and Swisher all had huge impacts on the Yanks.
Swisher in particular was one of the best moves that Brian Cashman ever made. Trading Wilson Betemit (who I hated so much) for Nick Swisher was basically the trade, with a couple of prospects thrown in. Swish was an All-Star, and right now is on tract for 100 RBI, a .300 BA, 30 HR out of the #2 hole. And plus, the guy is awesome.
Tex is a huge upgrade over Giambi, especially defensively, and CC and A.J. have given the Yanks a nice 1-2 punch, and an ace that they haven't had since Roger Clemens.
2. Signing MIke Mussina in 2001
Mussina is my favorite starting pitcher of all time, and won more games during any other pitcher in the AL during his time with the Yanks. Moose pitched, all the time. Even if he was hurt, he still went out and pitched. He was the definition of durability. He came up huge in a couple playoff games that directly led to the Yanks reaching the World Series. And in 2008 he had the best year of his career and won 20 games. It's a shame he still isn't pitching now (because he's definitely capable) and that he didn't win a championship, but he definitely did his job while in pinstripes, and in my mind was the #1 Free Agent signing Cashman has had.
1. Trading for Alex Rodriguez
Cashman traded Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later (still don't know who it is) for the best player in the game, and A-Rod has been just that- one of the best players in the game, since coming to the Yankees. 2 MVPs, 3 Silver Sluggers, 30+ HR and 100+ RBI in every season. He carried the Yankees to the playoffs in 2007 with one of the best seasons a Yankee has had since Mickey Mantle's Triple Crown year, and last year he carried the Yankees to a championship with a super-human, super clutch, Centaurian postseason. He's under contract for 7 more seasons and is on track to break Barry Bonds' home run record, Hank Aaron's RBI record, Lou Gehrig's Grand Slam record, and the Runs Scored record. He's one of the best players of all time, and this was the best trade Brian Cashman ever made.
This is all opinion, of course. I thought it would be fun seeing as Cashman is about to make another move here at the deadline, it got me thinking about everything else he has done.