Troy Taormina | USA TODAY Sports

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman’s contract is up at the end of the year and with his team trailing the Astros 2-0 in the ALCS, he is of course in the fans’ crosshairs.

The fans aren’t the only one. Just this past week, I said how the Yankees need to move on from him even if they win the World Series. What I wasn’t expecting was his successor coming from Houston’s front office.

Enter Astros general manager James Click. He was hired in the spring of 2020 after Jeff Luhnow was fired for his role in the cheating scandal. Instead of floundering under his watch, Houston baseball has continued flourishing. The Astros have played in two of the last three World Series under Click and are close to another AL pennant. Sounds like a recipe for a lucrative new contract, right?

Wrong. The Post’s Jon Heyman reported that even with Houston’s success, there’s trouble in paradise. The 44-year-old Click’s contract is up and word is he and owner Jim Crane don’t get along while 73-year-old manager Dusty Baker will be asked back after being hired off the scrap heap in 2020.

Ken Rosenthal echoed this drama in a piece for The Athletic last month. Essentially, Crane is a hands-on owner who serves as a de facto GM. Click, contrastingly, came from the Rays organization and prefers to use a strict analytical model. This system was instrumental in Houston and Tampa Bay making the World Series recently.

Yet, as Heyman notes, Crane thinks Click focuses on analytics too much.

Mind you, we at ESNY have been critical of Cashman for the same reasons. His analytics team builds the roster and seems to value, well, value over spending big on an immediate need. Case in point, New York spurned Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, and Corey Seager’s bats in free agency for Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s alleged glove.

The difference is Click comes from teams that have proven success using that model. He spent 15 years in the Rays organization and in 2020, his first year with Houston, Tampa Bay won the AL pennant with an active payroll of just $21.7 million. The following year, they won 100 games with active payroll at just under $44.3 million. Teams don’t accomplish that without a stellar player development team and analytics squad, especially in today’s game.

Player development is also where Houston best utilizes analytics. Click, maintaining the development model set by Jeff Luhnow, has overseen the rise of youngsters like Jeremy Peńa and Luis Garcia.

That said, would Click and his love for analytics prove just as frustrating as Cashman’s? Sure, but here’s the rub. Unlike Cashman, Click has not spent the last 25 years in the Bronx bubble that is Yankeeland. Between his work with the Rays and Astros, he’s built teams the Yankees have really struggled against. His knowledge combined with Hal Steinbrenner’s checkbook is exciting indeed.

It’s near-impossible to ignore, even if Click’s work in Houston has just been staying Luhnow’s course. As Rosenthal put it, Click “has succeeded in not screwing up a good thing, which is not always as easy as it looks.”

This is exactly why the Yankees should move on from Cashman and hire Click. Slaying the Houston Astros dragon has become the bar for success in the American League, and the Yankees are 21-26 against them since 2017, including the playoffs. And all with teams designed by one Brian McGuire Cashman.

In hiring Click, the Yankees would finally have some answers. What was Cashman doing wrong that the Astros and Rays got right all of those years? More importantly, why didn’t Cashman adjust his own approach after the Yankees continued to fall short of the World Series?

Steinbrenner has two choices. He can give Cashman a new deal and let him try (and likely fail) to will his system into finally working, or he can hire Click and his knowledge of models that do work while also maintaining what Cashman started.

It should be an easy decision. If you can’t beat them, hire the man who built them.

Follow ESNY on Twitter @elitesportsny

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.