Brian Cashman can be smug and arrogant at times, but he is not stupid. Yes, the Yankees need a starter. But he will never be held for ransom…
Brian Cashman heard the call loud and clear from the mouth of Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner. The whole world, in fact, knows the team needs starting pitching. But Cashman has been around this block a few times
Already, there’s a report in today’s New York Post indicating the Detroit Tigers are willing to deal Matthew Boyd (5-6 3.72) to the Yankees – for Gleyber Torres. On the surface, one can only think the Tigers are nuts. But are they if they believe they have a desperate partner with a team like the 2019 Yankees?
Brian Cashman Will Not Be Bullied
It’s safe to assume Brian Cashman will never execute a deal like that one. But the inference is clear. And perhaps, Steinbrenner should not have vocalized his thoughts, even to the extent of saying he was willing to see the Yankees go over the Luxury Tax limit this year to get a front-line pitcher or two. It’s like opening your door to let a mouse in so he can meet your cat.
Cashman and Steinbrenner have the tightest of relationships between an owner and his GM. If there’s been a rift between the two over the last decade, we have yet to hear about it. Nevertheless, Brian Cashman can hear the footsteps behind him.
Rightfully so, Steinbrenner feels this is the year the Yankees can win it all. Chances like this seldom come along. Witness the fact the last World Championship for the Yankees was a decade ago in 2009.
A fly on the wall only knows if Hal Steinbrenner would make that deal with the Tigers, straight up for Gleyber Torres, who is having a magnificent sophomore season, with the promise of many more in the future.
If Steinbrenner, in fact, would make that deal or one similar by digging deep into the farm system, it is incumbent on Cashman to talk some sense into his boss. At the very least, and before other teams start calling and wasting his time, Cashman needs to put the kibosh on any deal involving Torres, or Gary Sanchez.
Hal Steinbrenner, unlike his dad, will not be offended. His level of trust in Cashman and the job he’s done to date in bringing fledging and unknown stars like Luke Voit, DJ LeMahieu, and Gio Urshela to the team, is at its apex. As it should be.
Cashman And Steinbrenner Are Looking Ahead
To reach 95 wins which should be enough to capture the AL East, the Yankees only need to go 43-39 (.524) the rest of the way. To reach the same plateau the Tampa Bay team needs a win percentage of ,600 with a record of 49-33. As for the Red Sox, they need to finish twenty games over .500 (51-31) to reach 95 wins.
Thinking along with you perhaps, it’s not only about the Division Title, but it’s also what happens after that. Do the Yankees have enough – just enough – starting pitching to outduel Houston’s Justin Verlander (2-0 against the Yankees in 2019), the Twins best, Jake Odorizzi (10-3, 2.72, with one win against the Yankees, or in a Wild Card matchup with the Rays, Charlie Morton (8-2, 2.43)?
A hedge bet says the Yankees have enough in the person of Masahiro Tanaka. Hidden behind his so-so record of 5-5 is a sparking 3.21 ERA with a 4:1 ratio of strikeouts to walls (85-21). In his 16 starts, the Yankees have scored an average of five runs (4.93), and Tanaka has responded with starts of six innings or more ten times, including his last nine consecutive outings. (Source: Baseball Reference)
Tanaka isn’t in the same stratosphere as Verlander, but then again, in this league, who is?
J.A. Happ appears to be a lost cause and a bust for the Yankees this year. But James Paxton has two months in the season to shake off that transition from nowheresville in Seattle to the lights of the Big City. Moreover, if the Yankees can put CC Sabathia on cruise control for the rest of the season and he remains healthy, there isn’t a better or more fierce bulldog in the game, pitching his final season for the Yankees, and making his last stop in the playoffs.
This is not taken to mean Brian Cashman should stop looking. But in no scenario should Cashman feel the need to panic, even with the echoes of Hal Steinbrenner’s words from London egging him on.
Is Matthew Boyd Really An Answer?
The 2019 Yankees are rolling into the playoffs at a pace that will see the team win 105 games. Like the Red Sox last season, the momentum that builds is significant when October comes about.
If all else fails, this group of Yankees can go all the way with what they have. They’ve been taking care of business so far. The team’s depth is unparalleled. Who’s to say it won’t continue?
And when you think about it, is Matthew Boyd, Mike Minor, Marcus Stroman, or any of the others on the so-called block any better than what the Yankees have now? It seems virtually sure Brian Cashman will think again, and then again again, before pulling the trigger. And with that, it goes without saying – good for him.
Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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