Everyone seems to believe Brian Cashman needs to be fired. Why? Is it his fault that the Yankees - with their payroll flexibility - haven’t been to a World Series since 2009? Cashman puts a competitive team on the field every year. Right? Yes, if all you want to do is compete. No, if you actually want to have a shot at winning it all.
The trades, free agent signings, and player losses on Cashman’s watch speak to the problem. The bad moves far outweigh the good moves. It’s not even close. Giancarlo Stanton. Sure the Yankees gave up two players who have not amounted to anything. The problem is the impact Stanton’s contract has on the Yankees post-George payroll. It’s an albatross. Josh Donaldson. Sure, the Yankees finally got rid of Gary Sanchez. They needed to do that 2-3 years earlier. Yes, they filled a short term need for a shortstop with Kiner-Falefa - though Gio Urshela probably would have hit and fielded better. Like Stanton, the issue is Donaldson’s albatross of a contract. Harrison Bader. The guy was hurt when you traded your second best starter for him. Yes, he can field. But anyone who thinks he will stay healthy or be anything other than a below average hitter over the course of a season is kidding themselves. Aaron Hicks. Oh, my! Hicks’ best year didn’t warrant the contract he was given. A bad trade even when all it cost was a back-up catcher. Joey Gallo. Can’t hit now, never could hit. Did you really expect him to be better in New York? Did you forget Ed Whitson? Wouldn’t you like to have Ezequiel Duran back? Sonny Gray. Gave up prospects who are now contributing at the MLB level and then traded him away for nothing. Carlos Rodon. Hurt, again. Another albatross of a contract when you could have signed Verlander to a relatively short term deal. What were you thinking Brian? And perhaps the worst trade of all, Frankie Montas. Multiple arms for another guy who was already hurt. Add in the list the minor leaguers Cashman allowed to slip through his fingers (Thairo Estrada, Garrett Whitlock, Giovanny Gallegos, Ian Kennedy and the returned Nestor Cortes) and you get a pattern of under-performance by the front office. When have the Yankees ever given their own young players a real chance? Is Esteban Florial going to perform at a lower level than Franchie Cordero?
In fairness, there have been a couple nice acquisitions - Rizzo, Torres, LeMahieu, Trevino, Jameson Taillon, Chad Green. But at the end of the day, the Yankees have lost on trades, in free agency and in assessing their own minor league talent. The buck has to stop somewhere, and you can’t fire the owner.