Give Brian Cashman a Break
Over the past few days, Brian Cashman has been given a lot of flak for his failure to pull of a deadline deal. Most fans point to the moves made by the Red Sox and Phillies and say "Other contenders are improving their team! Why aren't we?"
As if Cashman has somehow left the 2009 Yankees ill-equipped to compete this season.
Brian Cashman took an 89-win team from 2008 and added the following:
1. CC Sabathia, the best pitcher available, who won the 2007 CY Young and was the most dominant pitcher down the stretch in 2008
2. A.J Burnett, coming off an excellent 2008 campaign in which he went 18-10, 4.07 and led the American League in strikeouts
3. Mark Teixeira, the best hitter available on the market, and the Yankee with the highest OPS this season. He's arguably been the best all-around player on the team this season
4. Nick Swisher, who practically carried the Yankees' offense in April and has been solid all-around, considering he was simply supposed to provide outfield depth, not be an everyday player.
The Yankees needed an ace after Wang went down and Mussina retired? Check. Heck, they even picked up a No. 2.
The Yankees needed to get younger, better defensively and get more production out of first base? Check
The Yankees needed outfield depth? Check
But it's still not enough.
It's not Brian Cashman's fault that Wang was a complete and utter train wreck. Or that Phil Hughes—for the second year in a row—was disappointing as a starter. Or that Xavier Nady blew out his elbow. Or that the Yankees can't seem to beat a team with the word "Sox" in their name.
So the Red Sox got Victor Martinez. Yes, he's good. The Yankees lineup is still better. Yes, the Tigers got Jarrod Washburn and didn't give up a whole lot. The Yankees would have needed to give up Austin Jackson or Jesus Montero to get him.
And that's a lot to give up for a 35 year-old pitcher whose last great season before now was in 2005 and who was 23-43, 4.55 over the last three seasons.
The Yankees probably could have picked up Brian Bannister, and I'm fully aware that sometimes it's the role players that make the difference in the post-season.
But you know what? The postseason is a crapshoot. In 2000, the Yankees and Mets had the worst records among playoff contenders. They made the World Series.
The 2001 Mariners won 116 games and went 6-3 against the Yankees in the regular season. Ask them how that went.
Want something more recent? How about the 83-win Cardinals of 2006? Their staff got regular starts in the regular season from Jason Marquis, who was so terrible, his ERA was 6.02 and he led the league in losses. The second best ERA from a starter was Jeff Suppan's 4.12. They beat a 95-win Tigers team that had FOUR pitchers with lower ERA's than that.
The point is, this Yankees team was not left out in the cold by their GM. He's given them more than enough to contend. The 2009 Yankees have no-one to blame but themselves if they come up short.
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