Back on January 7th, 2011, Brian Cashman made a strong statement that I believe he did his absolute best to uphold: "I will not lose our No. 1 pick. I would have for Cliff Lee. I won't lose our No. 1 draft pick for anyone else."
Not even two weeks later, the Yankees announced their signing of Rafael Soriano, who was, of course, a Type A free agent. As most of you may know, teams that lose Type A free agents receive compensation for their losses. In the Yankees' case, they forfeited their first round pick to the Rays, that same pick Brian Cashman wanted so desperately to hold on to.
This situation led to lots of drama, but that topic is over with and there is no use beating a dead horse. However, that Soriano signing is perfectly relevant to Brian Cashman's draft plans this coming Monday.
Because of the Soriano signing, Cashman is left without a pick until No. 51 overall. Despite that, I find it encouraging that the Yankees have finally "seen the light" and are putting great emphasis on the Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft. Cashman had this to say:
We've made it what it's supposed to be -- the most important day of the year. Our business is baseball, and that's the most important access to talent. If you want to be championship-caliber, there's a lot of different avenues, but one you can not skip is the amateur pipeline. That's the foundation of eventual champions.
Maybe the front office will pay attention to this quote from their general manager. The draft is an important pipeline of talent. With great scouting, teams can find stars and solid players throughout the early rounds, and in some rare cases, even during the later rounds of the draft.
Even though the Yankees do not have a No.1 pick, I have a renewed sense of faith in my favorite team's GM. He understands how important the draft is, even if his front office is willing to give away their top pick for an overpriced reliever with an injury history.
Who knows, maybe Cashman's quote was a friendly reminder to the front office that if he hadn't be overruled, he'd have a No. 1 pick in a draft that could be one of the best ever (ESPN Insider required).