Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner haven’t sat down to discuss the former’s future in the organization. Cashman’s contract is up, and they would need to agree to another deal.
While the general expectation is that Cashman keeps his role as the Yankees’ GM, a recent development creates another possible scenario: the Houston Astros parted ways with their own GM James Click on Friday.
Is it possible that the Yankees move on from Cashman to go after Click? It should be considered unlikely, but not impossible.
The fallout of the 2017 sign-stealing scandal by the Astros brought with it the departure of Jeff Lunhow and, as a result, a new GM in January of 2020. That man was Click, an up-and-coming executive who had worked 15 years in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
Click was in charge of baseball operations from early 2020 until Friday. The Astros made it to the AL Championship Series in his first year, and then reached the World Series in 2021 and 2022, winning the latter.
Yes, much of the foundation of the 2022 Astros that won the Fall Classic stemmed from the Lunhow era: Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Jeremy Pena (drafted in 2018), Alex Bregman, Yordan Álvarez, Chas McCormick, Kyle Tucker, Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Ryan Pressly, and many others entered the organization under Lunhow.
Yet Click oversaw baseball ops for three successful years, helped put together an impressive bullpen by bringing in Héctor Neris and Rafael Montero, and extended one of baseball’s brightest stars in Álvarez, among other key moves.
The circumstances of Click’s exit from the Astros were a bit odd. MLB insider Bob Nightengale suggested that owner Jim Crane didn’t want him around and made an uncompetitive offer from a length standpoint (one year), which Click rejected.
Houston #Astros owner Jim Crane, despite their differences, knew he had to make GM James Click an offer after winning the World Series.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 11, 2022
Crane also made an offer that he probably knew Click would reject.
It’ll be intriguing how many front office employees hired by Click will stay.
No one knows exactly what happened outside of those two, but the important thing is that Click is now free to sign with any team. Could the Yankees be interested in his services?
Cashman himself and manager Aaron Boone have talked about reaching the same height as the Astros in recent conversations with the press. Having their top executive in the last three seasons could be beneficial for the organization.
Some have suggested the possibility of Cashman being promoted to president of baseball operations and Click being brought as a general manager, but that may not be all that realistic considering A) Cashman hasn’t really earned a promotion; B) Steinbrenner may not be on board with having two top executives; and C) Click should be able to find a top role with some other team.
The Yankees, however, could give him a chance to remain in a competitive environment, with a quality roster. It’s not the same to take over the Yanks as, say, the Washington Nationals, where a long rebuild will be in place before even thinking about contending.
As stated, it still sounds like an unlikely scenario because Cashman is still in the picture. At the GM meetings earlier this week, Cashman certainly spoke like a man who would be in control of the Yankees this coming season. Steinbrenner may yet opt not to bring him back and pursue Click, but he has shown loyalty to Cashman in the past and it’s hard to see that changing.
Cashman, for all his flaws and recent failures, is a good GM. He’s been the architect of many great teams, albeit ones that have not toppled the Astros. It’s not easy to see Steinbrenner turning his back on him just like that.