I hope everyone enjoyed their New Year’s festivities and woke up (relatively) refreshed this morning (or afternoon). Before we look forward to what 2023 has in store, we have one final piece of business before we can put a bow on the recently departed year and baseball season. That’s right: It’s time for the monthly installation of our Brian Cashman approval poll. Being that it is still New Year’s Eve as I write this — a time of remembrance and reflection — let’s recount Cashman’s eventful 2022 before zooming in on December.
Only a quarter of fans were in support of the GM through March after he turned his back on the historic class of free agent shortstops — the most obviously glaring deficit on the roster — only to turn around and make the now-disastrous trade for Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Fan opinion shifted, however, once the team began winning games, jumping up to 70 percent in April and then remaining at 68 percent, 76 percent, 69 percent.
But then came the team’s second-half slump, which paired with the poor performance of Cashman’s blockbuster trade deadline acquisition Frankie Montas caused his August approval rating to crater to a season-low 10 percent. Luckily for Cashman, a late turnaround in the team’s form saved their AL East division lead as well as his approval rating, bouncing back to 42 percent in September.
Just as quickly as he clawed it back, that goodwill evaporated with the Yankees getting swept out of the ALCS by the Astros. The same issues that disquieted fans over the preseason as well as in previous postseasons (namely the bats going collectively silent) reared their ugly heads and his October approval rating accordingly took a nosedive to 18 percent. He finished the season with the same fan approval as when he started, only 25 percent of fans voicing their support as we watched the Astros lift the Commissioner’s Trophy for the second time in six seasons.
So that brings us to December, and what an eventful month it was with fans first learning that the team was keeping Cashman around on a four-year contract. The Yankees made their first signing of the offseason in the previous month, bringing back Anthony Rizzo for another two years, followed by a reunion with fan favorite Tommy Kahnle for two years to further deepen their bullpen. Two decent signings to be sure; however, fans were understandably unimpressed by Cashman’s willingness to again scorn a deep free agent shortstop class after the disaster that was IKF, putting an inordinate amount of pressure on Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza to make good on their prospect pedigrees. Oh, and the whole Aaron Judge free agency thing.
Unlike with many teams where roster construction duties appear to be shared between a GM and a team president, in Cashman’s case he acts as the judge, jury, and executioner with seemingly totalitarian influence on personnel decisions. That is, until it came to negotiations with Judge. For a distressing amount of time, it really looked like Judge was going to land on a California team. But if rumors are to be believed, Hal Steinbrenner personally called Judge to find out what it would take to keep the face of the franchise as a Yankee lifer, bypassing his GM in a mostly-unprecedented move. This of course raises the uncomfortable specter that Cashman was happy to let Judge walk should he not agree to the price and term of Cashman’s choosing.
Thankfully, that unimaginable scenario did not come to pass, and we all have the privilege of watching Judge play in pinstripes for at least the next nine years. But Cashman wasn’t finished. The true cherry on top of the offseason (so far) saw the Yankees ink the best pitcher on the free agent market, Carlos Rodón, to a six-year, $162 million contract, That they were able to acquire the fireballing lefty for essentially his pre-winter projected price and managed to avoid the at-times absurd inflation seen in some other mega deals of the past month suggests a strong case for Rodón’s signing as the best piece of business by any team this winter.
Of course, this can hardly be called a slam-dunk offseason with no fewer than three starting roles coming with massive question marks attached. Left field, third base, and shortstop are far from settled with few if any appetizing options on the roster or remaining in free agency and in general it’s fair to question where the runs are going to come from out of most of the current offensive setup.
So that brings us to today’s task. Do you approve of the job Brian Cashman has done through the end of December? It’s easy to let the team’s regular season results and ignominious exit from the playoffs color your opinion of the Yankees GM’s performance, however we ask that you limit the scope of your evaluation to what transpired in December alone. You may feel a question such as the one being posed requires more nuance, greater elaboration, or a wider selection of options than just a “yes” or a “no,” however for the sake of this exercise, a binary question works best.
Please vote in the poll below and let us know! We’ll revisit the results in a month.
Do you approve of Yankees GM Brian Cashman?
This poll is closed