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Brian Cashman's moves at just the right times have helped keep the Yankees afloat.
He is the GM we Yankees fans love to hate.
Brian Cashman has bore the brunt of criticism over the years from the "Bomber's" faithful (yours truly included) for failures of players like Javier Vazquez, Scott Proctor and Darnell McDonald. The trade of the promising Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda, and the resulting season-ending injury to Pineda didn't help matters any.
For all the bad things we like to dig up on Cashman's wheelings and dealings, some things cannot be overlooked. Namely, the fact that his patience and timely maneuvering have saved our beloved franchise's season.
On March 16, the Yankees GM inked beloved southpaw Andy Pettitte to a one-year deal. At the time, there were questions as to how effective the 40-year-old would be, having not pitched since 2010. Exactly two weeks later, Michael Pineda would throw his final pitch of the 2012 season.
Did Cashman know that an injury was about to happen? Of course not, but he does go by the philosophy that you can never have enough starting pitching. Never has that been more true than this season.
There are two other pitchers signed this past winter that offer further proof of the solid base Cashman has built in the Bronx.
Freddy Garcia was re-signed by the GM in December and prior to the Pettitte signing, was slated as one of the starting five pitchers. With the addition of Pettitte, the 35-year-old was bumped from the rotation only to find himself back in the mix when Pineda was shut down.
After getting demoted to the bullpen due to poor performance as a starter in April, the resilient Garcia proceeded to pitch well in relief—throwing 17-plus innings with an ERA of 1.53 over a two month span. That happened to correspond with the team's loss (to a strained oblique) of star reliever David Robertson.
On June 27, both ace CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte were shut down for extended periods of time with injuries. Garcia stepped up, and since then has been a solid starter going 4-2 with a very respectable 3.64 ERA in his latest stint in the rotation.
Hiroki Kuroda was signed by Brian Cashman in January and has established himself as the team's most consistent starter. Following last night's sparkling gem (a two-hitter) against the powerful Texas Rangers lineup, the 37-year-old former Dodger is 11-8 with a 3.06 ERA. Imagine where the team would be without him.
Pitching isn't the only area where Cashman has demonstrated an uncanny ability to patch holes before they occur.
Brett Gardner, arguably one of the best left fielders in the game, was placed on the DL in the middle of April and has missed virtually the entire season. How would the team be doing had the club not signed Raul Ibanez and re-signed Andruw Jones?
Brian Cashman's ability to stay ahead of the injury game is a major reason why the Yankees continue to be the class of the American League in 2012.
In spite of reportedly working to lower payroll, he has managed to make key acquisitions that have had instant impact upon the success of the team. He should be applauded for it.