As disappointing as it might be, the Yankees’ season officially came to an end Saturday night. The Houston Astros proved unbeatable once again. Now that the Bombers have wrapped up for the year, it’s time for one final Brian Cashman approval poll of 2019. After beginning the year on a high note, some Yankees fans turned on him after the team failed to do anything at the trade deadline. His approval rating rebounded a bit in August, but will the consensus change now that we can look back on the season as a whole?
Let’s start with a review of starting pitching, an area where the Yankees have struggled to make improvements for years. One of Cashman’s first offseason moves was to sign CC Sabathia to a one-year deal. The southpaw ended up being worth 0.4 fWAR, his lowest mark since 2014. He hit the injured list four times because of his degenerative knee condition, missed the ALDS with a shoulder injury, and suffered a shoulder separation on the mound during the ALCS. He had no real business being on the postseason roster.
The Yankees also publicly did the song-and-dance with routine Patrick Corbin, photoshopping him into a Yankees uniform on the video board, and taking him to dinner before they ultimately decided not to sign him. Instead, they signed a then 36-year-old J.A. Happ to a two-year deal. The veteran posted one of the worst seasons of his career and was destroyed by home runs. The Bombers were also forced to move him to the bullpen for the postseason. Meanwhile, Corbin followed up his career 2018 with a strong first year with the Nationals, and he’ll pitch for a World Series ring this week.
Starting pitching also proved to be an issue during the postseason. Masahiro Tanaka turned it on in October, as per usual, and held opponents to just four earned runs through sixteen innings pitched. Neither James Paxton nor Luis Severino gave the Bombers any length during Games Two and Three of the ALCS. In turn, the Yankees had to rely on their bullpen again and again. As Zack Britton said, “That’s why we’re relievers, not starters. You overexpose guys, it’s inevitable that eventually they’re going to get got a little bit.”
That leads us directly to the Yankees’ decision to do nothing at the trade deadline. They kicked the tires on Marcus Stroman, among others like Trevor Bauer and Robbie Ray, but ultimately passed. Cashman later revealed that the Bombers “...were interested in Stroman but we didn’t think he would be a difference-maker. We felt he would be in our bullpen in the postseason.” This is amusing when you consider that Happ and Sabathia ended up in the bullpen specifically because they couldn’t be trusted. There would have been worse things than replacing either of them with Stroman, who ended the season worth 3.9 fWAR and managed to post a HR/9 under 1.00 despite the juiced ball.
One thing Cashman deserves a lot of credit for is plugging the holes that cropped up due to injury. This was particularly true regarding position players. The Gio Urshela, Mike Tauchman, Cameron Maybin, and Edwin Encarnacion trades proved to be huge, even if Encarnacion struggled in the ALCS. It’s just too bad that he wasn’t able to make magic happen on the pitching end of things, too.
All things considered, do you approve of the job Cashman did as GM over the 2019 season? Is it his fault that the Yankees didn’t win the ALCS? Vote in the poll below and let us know what you think in the comments section.
Do you approve of Brian Cashman’s quality of work?
This poll is closed