Wednesday, June 5, 2013


The tile of  "General Manager" is probably the toughest job title to hold on to in baseball and in all sports, no question. It's an occupation where to achieve rewards certain risks must be taken, yet no decision made is promising nor a guarantee. When you're Brian Cashman the General Manager of the New York Yankees you pretty much have the toughest GM job in all of baseball. The bar of expectation is set at a height only few can reach.
Cashman over the years has made some not so favorable moves. Guys like Hideki Irabu, Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, and Javier Vasquez to name a few. We still have the Jesus Montero trade for Michael Pineda to figure out. We will in due time. Then there are the moves that did work in the past like, Bobby Abreu back in 2006. Or picking up Xavier Nady, and Damaso Marte, but Nady later dealt with an injury and ultimately forced the hand of Cashman to find another potential right fielder. Nick Swisher, remember him? Or, how about the Raul Ibanez pick up? You know how that turned out later last season for us. Yes, Cashman is quite the unpredictable guy when he is at the negotiating table. In the end it's decisions based on what is best for the team, not the fans. We, just have to wait for the results to be revealed whether they are good or bad.
But, how about this year? You can look at what he didn't do. For a moment it was frustrating. We already knew Alex Rodriguez wasn't going to be on the Opening Day roster. We knew that a decision had to be made with Nick Swisher, even though we already knew what it was. So we waited, and hoped to see some kind of movement from not just Cashman but the Steinbrenners themselves. It pretty much was a stall throughout the off season. Rafael Soriano went to the Nationals, Swisher went to Cleveland, and Raul went back to Seattle for a  third go around as a Mariner. Yet no movement of any kind to acknowledge the voids opening up as former Yankees were finding new homes. It was becoming clear the Yankees were not looking to open the wallet, and had plans to work with what we already had in both the Bronx and down at the farm. I know it was frustrating to watch him play standstill.

We also know he wasn't aware of what would become of the Yankees injuries at the beginning of the season. Kevin Youkilis was brought in to be the replacement for Alex Rodriguez, Travis Hafner was brought in to help in the DH role. Later on, he made the move to bring in Vernon Wells from the Angels.

When Lyle Overbay was released from Boston, and Cashmann went and brought him in to help in the first baseman spot in the absence of Mark Texiera after getting hurt in batting practice in preparation for the WBC. All small low risk moves. Cashman's plan was to bring in players who could HELP. Not to be the face of the franchise, or hope a new Core 4 was to emerge from the newly acquired stockpile. The plan was to get guys who can play and give quality effort in making this team stay afloat in the division and in maybe the American League. So far, it's working we are neck and neck with Boston in the standings. We are 11 games above .500, and we are winning games in the latter innings with key hits and runners in scoring position. It's a fight and might be similar to what we saw back in '98, well sort of.

Most of the players brought in have helped out in big ways. Lyle Overbay is doing a great job at first, and Hafner has hit in clutch situation coming off the bench. Vernon Wells is hitting the ball well too.

Cashman has also done his homework by bringing up minor leaguers who have been essential to the team's run to this point. Kids like David Adams, Corban Joseph, Vidal Nuno, got a taste of the majors, and they are making a case to stick around or be future considerations to come back up later in the season.

Give Cashman his due. This formula is working and we are seeing a team that wins and they are productive. When they lose they dust it off, and work to get back on the winning side of things. The formula of mixing some seasoned veterans with up and coming youngsters headlined by one reputable Robinson Cano is gelling. So, before you decide to question Cashman's motives or ask for his head on the chopping block know that he always has something up his sleeve. We just have to be patient, because sometimes it really does pay off.

Rudy Laurens
BYB Writer

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