I'm amazed I'm writing another piece on Brian Cashman's job as Yankees GM, but the Yankees recent series against the Red Sox went so perfectly, I felt it would be remiss to not mention it.
I'm also amazed that people still continue to be unsatisfied with this team's direction. (And if you read message boards
Up until this series with Boston, a lingering question still remained.
Can the Yankees beat the Red Sox?
The Yankees might have been in first place by two and a half games, but they still had to get past the Boston Red Sox.
Losing three of four this weekend would have undone a lot of good.
But that didn't happen. And Cashman's acquisitions in the off-season are the reason why the Yankees are in control of the AL East.
A.J. Burnett? Seven innings of one-hit ball against Red Sox ace Josh Beckett in what will likely be remembered as the best game of the year for the Yankees.
C.C. Sabathia? Nearly eight innings of two-hit ball. Like Burnett, he didn't allow a run.
Mark Teixeria? He went 6-17 (.353), got on base at a .476 clip, and hit a pair of home runs, including the game-winner Sunday night
Nick Swisher? He got on base in eight of his 15 plate appearances and had a two-run single that provided the Yankees with some cushion Sunday.
In all, Cashman's two big pitcher signings this off-season pitched 14 and two-thirds innings this series, allowed no runs, three hits and struck out 16.
His two big hitters reached base 18 of the 36 times.
If that's not impressive enough for you, you're being unrealistic.
I have this theory that some Yankees fans can't ever be satisfied with Cashman because they believe, with unlimited financial resources, he should be able to sign whomever he wants.
And since he can sign whomever he wants, it stands to reason that the Yankees should never be in "need" of something
Additionally, I think fans are impressed by degree of difficulty.
Signing CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeria?
Well heck, everyone knew they were the best players available.
Signing a guy like Brad Penny, or John Smoltz? Under the radar moves illustrating a superior knowledge because, hey, no-one else thought of them.
They must know something we don't.
Success is measured in results. Not how many people call it a shrewd move in interviews.
Signing Smoltz and Penny were two afterthoughts who suddenly were supposed to give the Red Sox unmatched depth. Burnett, Teixeria and Sabathia? Typical Yankees signings of the best players; a team blindly opening its checkbook, oblivious to the rest of the world.
Well, it's not quite as simple as that. It's not like you just call up Sabathia's agent, fax him over a blank check, and say "Fill it in", although apparently some fans think this is all Cashman needs to do.
It's a mistake to assume the Yankees have "unlimited" financial resources. The Steinbrenners want to win, and yes, they will outspend anyone to get a win. But that doesn't mean Cashman could pull a Tom Hicks and bid 70-80 million more than anyone else to assure himself of getting the player he wants.
Regardless of weatlh or desire to win, no owner wants to spend 240 million dollars when 180 million will do.
Eventually, the purse strings will tighten. So when other teams are involved, especially the Red Sox, Cashman has to be careful how he negotiates.
It's also not every free agent's dream to play for the Yankees because they're "winners".
The Red Sox are pretty big winners right now.
The Yankees don't have a monopoly on success, and not everyone is as awestruck by ghosts of Yankee past and "26 World Championships" as Yankee fans are.
Lots of people thought Sabathia wanted to play on the West Coast. The Red Sox were going hard for Teixeria and their financial resources aren't exactly limited either. The Yankees were not the pre-determined destination for those two.
So it's not quite the easy process some Yankees fans make it out to be. Cashman had to make some big moves this off-season, and so far, they've all come up big.