Brian Cashman: Inaction Exposes A Stale GM – But Who Can Blame Him

Brian Cashman repelling for charity and the Yankees (New York Times)

Brian Cashman has built his legacy as the GM, who always found a way to meet the Yankees roster needs. This year, he didn’t even try. Why?

Ed Barrow, Yankees GM
Ed Barrow, Yankees GM

Assuming Brian Cashman retains his post as the Yankees General Manager, the 2021 season will be his 23rd year as the man in charge of the team’s roster.

Ed Barrow, the longest-tenured general manager in team history, served in that role for 23 years. He was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953. And yes, that is a black and white photo.

Brian Cashman – A Legacy Earned

During Cashman’s reign that began in 1995, the same year Mickey Mantle died, a gallon of gasoline cost $1.15, and Forrest Gump won the Oscar’s Best Picture, we’ve had four U.S. presidents, Yankees icon Derek Jeter has retired, and the old Yankee Stadium is now a playground.

How many of us have had the same job for 23 years? And for those that can say yes, do you approach that job with the same vigor and intensity as you did – let’s say – over the first ten years?

If Brian Cashman‘s inflated ego allows it, how does he answer that question?

I’m asking because Cashman’s non-aggression toward solving roster deficiencies this year issues indicates that yes – Brian Cashman is starting to taste like a stale loaf of bread.

Brian Cashman – Is It Time To Trot Instead Of Run

In retrospect, and all we can do now is look back. Why, for instance, was Mike Ford‘s power bat – other than Gary Sanchez (no way was he going near the plate) – the only pinch-hitter available to Aaron Boone to end Game 5?

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Both Ford (right) and Mike Tauchman were key components of the Yankees team as useful replacements for injured players last year. Each had good seasons considering their role on the team.

This year, however, where were the replacements for the replacements, and why did Brian Cashman consciously elect to stand-down throughout the shortened season, particularly at the trade deadline?

Cashman The Magician Not So Much Anymore

Typically, the trade deadline is when Brian Cashman shows his stuff. Whether it’s grabbing the hottest commodity at the time (Sonny Gray), a Yankee’s set-up man for Mariano Rivera (Jeff Nelson), or  – for that matter – how about Aaron Boone (yeah- the same guy who hit that home run) whom he plucked off the Cincinnati Reds roster in 2003?

Trevor Bauer - Coming Right At You (redreporter.com)
Trevor Bauer – Coming Right At You (redreporter.com)

This year – nothing. Cameron Maybin, a fan favorite from last year, was available, as was Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, Mike Minor, and Lance Lynn – all pitchers who might have helped.

But it goes deeper than inaction at the deadline, and if you want to look at just one non-move made by Brian Cashman, look only to his inexplicable disinterest in re-signing Didi Gregorius.

I don’t need to remind you about the year Gregorius just had for the Philadelphia Phillies, who picked him up for one season at $14 million, a loss that forced moving Gleyber Torres back to shortstop.

Brian Cashman reeled in the big fish, but it was a big pond the Yankees didn’t capitalize on. And besides, wasn’t it preordained that Gerrit Cole, the same kid holding that sign in the stands at Yankee Stadium, who wanted the Yankees as much as they wanted him?

You can say it’s all Monday Morning Quarterbacking, but the heat was on Brian Cashman immediately after this year’s late deadline.

Cashman’s answer? “We were heavily engaged, but we couldn’t push anything through.”

Brian Cashman always pushed deals through. And you have to wonder if the reason for his inability to push anything through is because the all-out full effort wasn’t there.

Let Aaron and the boys do it, they have enough to get the job done, or so it seems.

Brian Cashman – The Right thing To Do

Now, before y’all get in an uproar, Brian Cashman did not come in to relieve Deivi Garcia, and as far as I can tell, he was not in the lineup when the Yankees struck out eighteen times in one game against the Rays.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman - Too little too late
Yankees GM Brian Cashman – Too little too late

It goes without saying, though, when you stand ready to take credit for doing your job as Cashman did in winning the MLB Executive Of The Year in 2017, the same year he was awarded a five-year extension contract when things go off the rail, you need to be duly-held accountable.

No one, least of all Hal Steinbrenner, is in a let’s get the bastard mode. Brian Cashman is likely to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame based on his resume.

That does not, however, negate the need for a change.

Cashman can solve the problem himself by moving into a role as “Professor Emeritus,” the way they do at colleges, and then replacing himself as the Yankees GM.

I am not aware that Cashman has someone he is grooming to replace him, but there is no more appropriate time than now to make a move if he does.

His choice is my choice for the post because Brian Cashman has an eye for talent on and off the field in baseball. It’s just that it takes a lot of time and effort to effectively do the job in the pressure-cooker of the New York Yankees.

Yankees Fans (Photo: NBC 10)
Yankees Fans (Photo: NBC 10)

And sometimes, it almost seems to me that Brian Cashman is doing anything but his duties as Yankees GM.

Having his most fun when he is propelling from the roof of a New York City Building, or sleeping as a homeless person on a sidewalk – all to raise money for charity – than he does doing the grueling work required as GM the Yankees.

It Ain’t Working Anymore.

It ain’t working for the Yankees, and we’re going on our twelfth year without a World Title, all during Cashman’s tenure as GM.

Blame can be assessed in any number of places for the drought, but that’s missing the point, which is there comes a time when change for the sake of change is needed.

That time, at the top of the Yankees organization, is now.

 

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.