This winter has exposed cracks in the New York Yankees’ organization. What was once the proudest and most cohesive unit in baseball has reverted to the days of factions between the New York front office, headed by GM Brian Cashman, and the Tampa brain trust, led by the Brothers Steinbrenner.
The winter was mostly inactive, until the Steinbrenners overruled Cashman in signing Rafael Soriano, a free agent Cashman didn’t want because he wanted to protect the Yankees’ first round draft pick. Recently, Cashman allowed himself to go on the record suggesting Yankee captain Derek Jeter move to the outfield by the end of Jeter’s contract, igniting a media frenzy in the New York papers.
Numerous sources indicate that Cashman may leave the Yankees organization for a smaller market club when his contract ends after the season. And to that, Yankee fans should say good riddance. Brian Cashman has been the most overrated general manager in all of sports for the last ten years.
While Cashman has made some good moves over the course of his tenure (trading for Scott Brosius and Chuck Knoblauch in 1998, getting major contributions from Shawn and Aaron Small in 2005), most have been relegated to obscurity (Chili Davis anyone?).
The only reason Cashman has been able to survive for so long was that he was able to win multiple World Series Championships with teams that Gene Michael built.
His mistakes are further covered up by the Yankees’ huge payroll, which allows the team to eat bad contracts without problems, like Carl Pavano’s in 2004 (who Cashman greatly considered bringing back this offseason) or AJ Burnett’s in 2008, contracts that would devastate other teams.
So, to Brian Cashman I say, "Be careful what you wish for." Leaving a great gig like the Yankees will be a day you rue for years to come. Sure, you may get more power with a mid-market club, but you’ll miss the ability to sign any free agent you want, as well as the pomp and circumstance of New York.
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