The offseason is almost over, and it is time for another Brian Cashman approval poll. His approval rating soared and plummeted last season, depending on how the Yankees were performing. The Yankees ended up missing the playoffs, but 81% of Pinstripe Alley readers approved of the job that Cashman was doing as GM in September 2016. However, it is a new year, and we have a new poll.
The 2017 version of this poll started over in January and Cashman began the year with a 79% approval rating just a few weeks after the Yankees signed Matt Holliday and Aroldis Chapman. In mid-January, Cashman said that he thought the Yankees were done making roster moves, but that did not end up being the case. The Yankees have since signed Chris Carter to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million. Although it is not entirely clear how frequently the Yankees plan to use Carter, he was a cheap option and the team needed to add a power threat to the bench.
Regardless of whether you liked the Chapman deal, the bullpen is certainly better with him. The additions of Holliday and Carter will hopefully give the offense a boost, but even if they don't work out, it is clear that the Yankees tried to make some affordable improvements to the lineup. In fact, the only thing that Cashman has failed to do over the offseason is improve the rotation.
The rotation still stands out as the major weakness on this team. Halfway through spring training, there are only three pitchers with guaranteed spots in the rotation: Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, and CC Sabathia. Tanaka is great, but Pineda and Sabathia should be 4th and 5th starters in the rotation, if anything. Instead, the Yankees are in the midst of a classic spring training battle to decide who among Luis Severino, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa, Chad Green, and Adam Warren will take the last two spots in the rotation. Assuming that the Yankees will encounter some injuries down the road, it is likely that all of these pitchers will get their chance to start this year.
While the rotation may leave something to be desired, it is true that Cashman had limited options in the way of improving it. One option may have been to trade the new and improved farm for Chris Sale or Jose Quintana, but it would have been a shame to lose the top prospects that the Yankees just acquired. Alternatively, the Yankees could have rummaged around the weak free agent class and signed someone like Rich Hill to a three-year deal worth $48 million. Instead, we will get to see how the latter option works out for the Dodgers, and the Yankees will try to make do with their internal options.
We can only judge the team on their spring training stats so far, but the Yankees happen to have the best spring training record in all of baseball right now. Just yesterday Tanaka, Chasen Shreve, and Jordan Montgomery pitched a combined no-hitter against the Tigers. Although it is true that spring training stats count for nothing, it is arguably better for a team to have a good spring than a bad one. The Yankees aren't really expected to compete this year, but maybe this team will surprise us after all.
Do you think that Cashman did enough to improve the team over the offseason? Vote in the poll below and let us know what you think in the comments section.