It’s hard to believe that it’s May already — the first month of the season has both flown by and dragged on depending on your perspective as a Yankees fan. With the start of the new month comes the return of our GM approval series, but before we get into evaluations of Brian Cashman, let’s review the team’s path through April as well as the decision the GM has made in 2023.
We’ll start with the man himself. Cashman started the year off with a 42-percent approval rating in January — buoyed by the team signing Aaron Judge, Carlos Rodón, Anthony Rizzo, and Tommy Kahnle in free agency but counterbalanced by the decision to roll with internal options at shortstop and left field rather than find external upgrades. That dropped down to 31 percent in February as fans realized the implications of such a tack to follow — namely, a lot of Aaron Hicks and Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the lineup. Many of those frowns turned upside down, however, when the team named Anthony Volpe as the Opening Day shortstop following his scorching spring performance, boosting Cashman’s rating up to 47 percent through March.
That brings us to the start of the regular season, and boy have fans been put through the gamut of emotions already. Everything started off so promising, with the Yankees winning five of their first six series, taking two out of four from the other. But then Giancarlo Stanton went down with a hamstring strain that could cost him four to six weeks, with Judge following him shortly after as he deals with a hip strain.
As you can imagine, the Yankees’ offensive production tanked without their two biggest sluggers. They averaged just over five runs per game across their first 12 contests, but have averaged just over three runs per game in the 17 since including 10 games in which they scored two or fewer runs. Such is the toll that injuries have taken on the roster.
Ah, injuries, how terribly familiar we Yankees fans have become with thee. Since the start of the new year, the Yankees have lost 60 percent of their starting rotation. Frankie Montas likely won’t pitch this year after undergoing shoulder surgery, Rodón has experienced setbacks while recovering from a strained forearm and Luis Severino went down shortly before Opening Day with a lat injury. Clarke Schmidt, Domingo Germán, and Jhony Brito are deputizing in their stead, with Germán boasting the best ERA of the trio at 5.54. And that’s just the starting rotation! Kahnle, Jonathan Loáisiga, and Lou Trivino are all absent from the bullpen with arm injuries, the latter pair alarmingly requiring further imaging on their elbows.
Despite all that, the Yankees’ pitching staff still remains one of the strongest units in baseball. The same cannot be said of the offense. Particularly following Judge’s injury, they’ve been rolling out lineups reminiscent of 2013-16. On a day when one of the four true starters (Volpe, DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Rizzo, and Gleyber Torres) is rested, we’re talking about a bottom two-thirds of the order consisting of some combination of Hicks, IKF, Jose Trevino, Franchy Cordero, Willie Calhoun, Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Kyle Higashioka. Trevino owns the highest wRC+ of that group at 75. If you add up the Hicks’, Cordero’s, and Calhoun’s OPS, you get a smidge over Barry Bonds’ 2004 campaign, so that’s gotta be good... right?
One could rightfully argue that injuries are a part of baseball. However, the flip side sees the Yankees’ April performance as an indictment on the lack of depth accumulated to cover the current scenario, one which the last few years should have taught the Yankees to expect.
So that brings us to today’s task. Do you approve of the job Brian Cashman has done through the end of April, with his team just a game over .500 and sitting last in the division? The polarizing GM certainly elicits stronger feelings than can be captured in a one-word response — 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?
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