As winter meetings began, New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman signed a four-year contract that will keep him in the Bronx until 2026. Some Yankee fans may describe this as expected, others as insanity, but one thing fans can likely all agree on is that this return also brings back a complex collection of thoughts and emotions.
In Defense of Cashman
On one hand, Brian Cashman is consistent, if nothing else. Under his leadership, the Yankees have won four World Series’, six World Series appearances, and 21 playoff appearances over a span of 24 years. This level of consistency is absolutely astounding, and almost any other team would kill for this level of consistency. Brian Cashman is experienced, successful, and one of the game"s best GMs.
On the other hand, the Yankees are far removed from their most recent World Series in 2009. While the Yankees have mostly been competitive ever since Cashman has yet to help us get back to the World Series. With that being said, Cashman’s return does not advance nor regress the Yankees, but rather just keeps them exactly where they are: really good, but not championship-winning.
Brian Cashman is in a tricky spot because he seems like the only common thread between George’s Yankees and Hal’s Yankees. Yankee fans may criticize Cashman and Hal for not outspending their opponents in free agency as the organization used to once upon a time ago. However, since Hal has taken over the team, the Yankees have been in the top 3 in payroll in 13 out of 14 seasons. Spending money is worthless unless it is spent smartly.
So, has Brian Cashman spent Hal’s money smartly? Yes and no. On one hand, his spending and roster construction gets the Yankees to the playoffs. On the other hand, the full success of the roster have not manifested itself during the playoffs. Teams who have, on the other hand, have been the Tampa Bay Rays and the Houston Astros, who do it in fractions of payroll as the Yankees.
How Cashman Can Be Successful
This makes you wonder: what numbers, graphs, and charts do the Rays and Astros have that Cashman does not? I am not even sure Cashman knows the answer to that. If he did, he would have fixed the problem by now. If I were to take my guess, Cashman has not surrounded himself with the best analytic staff in the front office, and the sum of all of its parts produces the result we see year after year. For Cashman to be more successful with the Yankees, he needs to let go of his analytic guys who have underachieved up until this point and hire some new faces, with new minds, with new perspectives.
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