With the first month of the season officially over, it is time for another Brian Cashman approval poll. I started the 2016 Cashman approval poll back in January when the Yankees were right in the middle of the offseason, and 69% of Pinstripe Alley readers approved of the job that he was doing at the time. Since the Yankees did very little between January and March, I skipped two months then polled readers again at the start of April. 76% of you approved of the job Cashman did over the offseason prior to the start of the regular season. There was every reason in the world to be optimistic about this team at the end of March, but Yankees fans are now looking for someone to blame after a bad April. Is everything Brian Cashman's fault?
April was an absolute disaster for the Yankees. Not only did the offense score the fewest runs in baseball, but the starting pitchers struggled both to keep the team in games, and to make it past the fifth inning of most games. The Yankees finished up the month on a four-game losing streak, and are currently sitting in the basement of the AL East with an 8-16 record. Only the Braves, Twins and Astros have worse records.
Although the offense scored 24 runs in two games against the Astros during their opening series, they pretty much fell off a cliff after that. Aside from that series, the Yankees only scored four or more runs in just three other games in April. Notably, the team struggled to do much of anything remotely positive with runners in scoring position, hitting just .203 overall (28th worst in baseball).
The main bright spot in the Yankees' lineup has been Starlin Castro, who is hitting .314/.352/.500. Castro came over to the Yankees in one of the many trades that Cashman orchestrated over the offseason. So far, this trade appears to be working out for the team. Cashman also traded for several players who have yet to help the team, like Aaron Hicks (who has not hit well in a backup role) and Aroldis Chapman (who is still serving his suspension). At least in terms of the offense, Cashman did make an effort to shake up the 2015 roster though.
The Yankees failed to go after starting pitching over the offseason, but it's difficult to say how much of the blame can be placed on Cashman since he does not control the purse strings. Hal Steinbrenner didn't want to increase the Yankees' payroll, so Cashman had to work with what he had without the ability to spend on free agents. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to work out a trade to bring over a young starter this year like he was with Nathan Eovaldi the year before (unless you count Chad Green and Luis Cessa, but neither came with major league experience).
For now, it looks like we'll have to suffer through as the offense and rotation either continue to struggle or find a way to right the ship. In an interview yesterday, Cashman was willing to take the blame for how the team is performing. "If anything, I put this roster together and it's underperforming, so it's my responsibility." He also stated that there were not any roster moves on the immediate horizon.
So, is the Yankees' poor April all Cashman's fault? Let us know what you think and vote in the poll below.