New York Yankees Senior VP and General Manager Brian Cashman has always done his part to field a winning team, but he lacks one major skill that will cost him in today’s age of baseball.
When Brian Cashman took over as general manager of the New York Yankees in 1998, he walked right into excellence. The thick of a dynasty fell right into his lap.
So, yes, credit will be given to him for four world championships, but what has he truly developed? If anyone has the misconception that Cashman played a part in the development of the core pieces of the dynasty – Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte – they have been improperly informed.
The general manager will get credit for the championships he is physically there for, but Cashman has achieved virtually nothing in player development during his tenure in the Bronx. Any successes are either playing in another uniform or have some discrepancy attached to them.
The dynasty was clearly handed to him, which he was able to extend into the 21st century through financial flexibility. Now for the first time the Yankee GM is faced with budgetary concerns and a situation where player development is vital, and the uncertainty surrounding the franchise is at an all-time high.
Let’s take a stroll through Cashman’s successful maneuvers in the farm system or lack thereof.
Within the past five years, the Yankees have witnessed four top catching prospects either move to different organizations or get mismanaged, yet they somehow have instability at the position.
Adam Warren is in Chicago, the organization’s top prospect Luis Severino has struggled, and Bryan Mitchell is severely hurt. Although in the distant past, Chien-Ming Wang blew up in the franchise’s face after some false hope. You can’t even give him credit for Dellin Betances, a failed starter who the Yanks caught lightning in a bottle with out of the bullpen.
How about Pittsburgh’s gem of a closer? Yes, Mark Melancon used to belong to Brian Cashman.
You get the gist.
Perhaps Cashman’s only success in development was Robinson Cano who was brilliant for the Yanks, but he now resides in Seattle.
Organizations such as the St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and San Francisco Giants continue to spit out formidable prospects because of their patience with each and every one.
Until these past two years, had you heard of Jeremy Hazelbaker, Stephen Piscotty, or Aledmys Diaz? Look at what Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Travis Shaw, Brock Holt, and Jackie Bradley Jr. are doing for Boston. In addition, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant have become perennial stars for the Cubs.
To have this success, particularly in Boston and Chicago’s case, suffering is endured. A franchise needs to be patient and let their developmental staff do the job. For the teams with top tier scouts, this pays immediate dividends.
In Cashman’s case, spending has never been an issue. When the Yankees were working to get under the luxury tax and promptly missed the playoffs in 2013, ownership authorized Cashman spending near half a billion dollars to return to prominence.
A lack of recent success has to have you thinking how fortunate Cashman was to have the carry over of guys like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter. The only hope really being latched onto right now is Aaron Judge, but there is no room for him in the bigs at the moment. Mateo does not have a future big league position as well given the acquisitions of Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro.
Essentially, if Severino does not end up panning out the Yanks are back to square one. They can ill-afford square one.
If ownership truly does not want to go on a spending spree again, the farm system takes an extreme forefront. However, the farm system may not be developed without a rebuilding phase. The organization is grasping for straws with regards to their few valuable chips.
Every general manager has their strength, and for Brian Cashman, that may be buying and trading for big names. He has certainly done plenty of that in his tenure.
It cannot be disputed that he has had issues when it comes to the minor leagues.
The Yankees still very much have the talent to win somewhere in the 80s every year, as they have for the past three seasons. With that being said, to get back to a 95 win caliber, Cashman needs to find some sort of magic in his farm system or the Yanks will need a change at the top.
Cashman’s form of success has been the Yankees’ form of success, but that style of thinking just doesn’t work these days.