The time, as they say, has come. While it can be argued that Yankees GM Brian Cashman has been hamstrung by large contracts, he isn't responsible for the most glaring example: the ill-advised, 10-year deal for Alex Rodriguez authored by Hank Steinbrenner after the 2007 season.
Tthe reality is that Cashman has mismanaged critical components of this team.
First, Cashman's insistence on acquiring and developing young pitching, at the expense of the development of positional players, has found the Yankees without a single positional player who can be called upon to step into the 2013 Yankee lineup to fill the voids that will be left by the departures of Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson.
And yes, they will both be leaving if there is any sense left in the universe. This does not even address what the team will need to do if Rodriguez is bought out and/or traded.
This almost pathological focus on pitching has, of course, positioned the Yankees to perhaps have three home-grown assets in the mix for 2013. Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and David Phelps are all candidates. However, the reality is that none, with the possible exception of Hughes, has a robust enough resume to suggest that they can be counted on as a No. 2 or 3 starter.
Keep in mind as well that all of them are potential trade assets, diminishing the Yankees ability to supplement the rotation behind C.C. Sabathia, if Andy Pettite and Hiroki Kuroda are both in the wind.
The reality is that young prospects like Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, Jose Campos and Michael Pineda are all unlikely to make any contribution to the 2013 staff.
Again, 2013 will likely see Hughes and Nova and perhaps David Phelps in the rotation, but none of the four prospects mentioned previously can be expected to step in and contribute next year due to injuries, at least not in the beginning of the season and more than likely not at all.
Part and parcel to this argument is the trading away of Jesus Montero to Seattle in the deal that brought in Pineda. While Montero did not have anything approaching a breakout season, he did hit 15 home runs and drove in 62 runs as a primary piece of the Mariners offense. He played more than half of the games in Safeco Field, notoriously known as a pitcher-friendly park. In fact, a quick look at his statistical splits makes it clear that he was a very different hitter away from home.
His overall numbers were somewhat similar to those posted by Miguel Cabrera, with whom Montero has drawn comparisons to in his first year in the league. Cabrera's first-year numbers were better than Montero's, of course. But keep in mind that Cabrera, unlike Montero in Seattle this year, wasn't by any means asked to be the centerpiece of the 2003 Marlins offense.
Put Montero in the 2012 Yankee lineup, with more protection and playing half his games in Yankee Stadium, and it is reasonable to suggest his numbers would look much different.
We don't know what Cashman's plans would be for the 2012 offseason, and perhaps he is in fact planning a purge of the 2012 lineup, jettisoning Swisher, Granderson, Rodriguez and Russell Martin in the process. This purge, if planned, could unfortunately not be accompanied by the promotion of any internal, MLB ready assets to supplement the lineup, because there aren't any, and the trade and free-agent markets are problematic for reasons of their own.
Regarding the free-agent market, well, there really aren't any positional players worth pursuing, at least not in terms of filling potential Yankee needs (http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/04/2013-mlb-free-agents.html). It is a collection of older players, and all of the younger options have red flags attached. Grady Sizemore is brittle, to say the least, BJ Upton has effort issues and Delmon Young cannot be considered a model citizen by any stretch.
Furthermore, the Yankees want to get under that magical luxury cap mark of $189 million. With roughly 58 percent already tied up in five players, there is little chance that a spending spree is part of any organizational plans.
As for the trade market, this is one of those tragic, best laid plans scenarios. If the Yankees are in fact considering an overhaul, then they will have to offer up some of the few MLB ready assets who can be considered attractive to other teams. Pitchers Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, David Phelps and even David Robertson come immediately to mind, as does Eduardo Nunez in terms of positional players.
If part of the overhaul includes making a play for a Justin Upton or Chase Headley, not only will the Yankees likely have to surrender one of the current MLB pitchers named above, they would also likely have to offer several minor-league assets who might impact the 2014 lineup. Those names include Gary Sanchez, Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, Dante Bichette, Tyler Austin and several others. Nunez, of course, is also very likely to be included in any discussion.
In the end, Cashman placing all of his development eggs in the pitching basket has left the Yankees with few options on the trade front. The young, injured pitchers in the minors are not trade options right now, as it is unlikely that any teams will provide a worthwhile player in return for hurlers that may never return to the level they were previously.
The Yankees find themselves heading into the 2013 season with a lineup that is much older than it should be, a minor league system not ready to help in any meaningful way with either pitching or positional players and with a mandate to reduce spending.
This is the perfect storm, as they say, and Cashman is directly responsible for much of its formation. With that in mind, Cashman needs to go.