Should Brian Cashman Be Held Accountable for New York Yankees' Pitching Woes?

Peter AlfanoContributor IIApril 26, 2012

Brian Cashman may be wondering about his future
Brian Cashman may be wondering about his futureJim McIsaac/Getty Images

Blame it on bad luck.

Call it a series of unfortunate coincidences.

But is there something more at work that explains the Yankees' inability to develop and nurture young pitchers? And keep experienced pitchers like Carl Pavano and A.J. Burnett healthy and productive?

Thankfully, CC Sabathia seems immune from the Yankees penchant for mismanaging pitchers. But who in the organization should answer for the waffling that has hurt the development of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes as they shuffled between the bullpen and starting rotation?

Even if it can be explained medically, why have Chamberlain, Hughes and Ian Kennedy (now with the Arizona Diamondbacks) all battled injuries in their early 20s?

And even if Michael Pineda was not damaged goods when the Yankees acquired him from the Seattle Mariners for Jesus Montero last winter, how did the right-hander with overpowering stuff manage to get injured in his first spring with the Yankees?

We know they are known as the Bronx Bombers, but that doesn't mean the Yankees should treat pitching like a necessary evil.

Okay, we know they really don't ignore pitching or they wouldn't have acquired Catfish Hunter, Sabathia, Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Pineda and others either in trades or free agency.

Did the Seattle Mariners see something they didn't like about Michael Pineda?
Did the Seattle Mariners see something they didn't like about Michael Pineda?Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

But that necessity is a result of either not trusting their young pitchers or having a philosophy that experience is worth more than youth if you want to be in the World Series every year.

In any case, when it comes to young pitchers, the Yankees organization has lost its way.

Perhaps general manager Brian Cashman should be held accountable.

His job isn't to develop pitchers, but to acquire them. His job includes ensuring there are qualified people throughout the organization to give these pitching prospects the best chance of succeeding.

Where in the name of Ron Guidry is the next Ron Guidry?

It isn't all bad news for the Yankees. Mariano Rivera, David Robertson and Ivan Nova came up through the organization and have excelled.

And Yankee fans will point out that most teams have had their best pitchers on the sidelines recovering from injuries. I blame that on the fascination with the radar gun.

Speed kills, and in baseball, that sometimes means the career of your best young prospects.

Explain, though, why the injuries hit the Yankees pitchers more than most teams. Two of their more highly-regarded prospects, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, have battled injuries and ineffectiveness.

Banuelos is currently on the DL; Betances, who had major ligament surgery in the past, is off to a nifty start with an 0-2 record and 8.83 ERA in four appearances.  

So it is difficult to see how Hal and Hank Steinbrenner aren't going to publicly or privately call Cashman and others on the carpet for the Pineda trade. Bad luck or not, the Yankees don't like to appear as if they have been fleeced. And right now, that's exactly what the Mariners did to them.

Maybe Pineda was healthy when the trade was made, but the Mariners might have seen something in the way he pitched that made him an accident waiting to happen.

Cashman was widely applauded for solving the Yankees pitching questions when he signed Hiroki Kuroda and traded for Pineda. 

It made them the favorites to win the American League East and to get to the World Series.

But embarrassing issues in his personal life and a trade gone bad may have Cashman now sitting on the hot seat.

Perhaps Andy Pettitte can ride to the rescue and make fans forget the Pineda debacle, at least for the rest of this season.