Those of you who have read my articles (and I thank you!) know that I have been very critical of Brian Cashman’s work as GM of our New York Yankees. His constant love affair with either thrown-away or washed up players has driven the passion you might be reading in my prose. The signings of Chris Capuano, Stephen Drew, and Kyle Davies – regardless of how cheap they come – add up in the expense column and do nothing for our lineup, rotation or bullpen.
I’ve repeatedly criticized Cashman for what appears to be a “snuffing out” of our minor league prospects. It’s almost as if he has a genuine hatred for any player under the age of 30. The contracts of the three “mannequins” add up to over $11 million spent to further delay careers like Rob Refsnyder, Jose Pirela and Manny Banuelos.
If you add in Carlos Beltran, then you are talking about over $26 million spent on players deep into their career slide who are occupying roster spots of 20-somethings more than ready to step into “the show”. The sad thing is that those baby Bombers could already out-perform each one of the veterans mentioned above for just a fraction of the total cost.
Already Refsnyder can hit better in his sleep than Drew could in his best week, and a little publicized fact is that Refsnyder’s defense at second base was actually better than Drew’s was last season. But before I digress about my biggest pet peeve and make remarks like Drew is a tax write-off for the Yanks because clearly it’s a $5 million charity donation, I’ll get to my point about this article.
After some deep soul-searching, I’m no longer angry with Brian Cashman. I actually feel very sorry for him.
It’s not that he doesn’t like our minor league system. It’s that he doesn’t trust his own judgment. Somewhere long in his past – maybe when he was working for George or perhaps even deeper than that – someone broke his confidence, and he hasn’t gotten it back. Sure, in public he exudes a brash, border-line arrogance, but in looking at the actual moves he makes, it has become clear that this poor soul is hurting.
I realized the minor leaguers that I mentioned all were brought into the system under Cashman. They are his doings. He believed in them (as well as his scouts’ opinions of them) enough to sign them. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the confidence to finish the deal. Even after witnessing the KC Royals win the AL Championship with 6 players aged 25 and under, Cashman still lacks the fortitude to give our youngsters a shot. He’d rather hang on to the old binky made up of players whose best years were close to a decade ago.
Pity poor Brian. Sure, he has the bravery to sky-dive, rock climb, or sleep with the homeless, but he can’t muster enough courage to believe in his own system – and make no mistake – this is Brian’s system.
How else can you explain it? When it comes to his job, the man is mush – gullible enough to buckle to the Scott Boras/Jon Heyman publicity machine, and lacking the balls to stick his head on the chopping block and run with his own horses. He’d rather hide behind the “oh, it’s just a small 1-year deal that we can always get out of – but by the way, he WILL be the starter” excuse than use the “we will trust my scouts and my system and see what our guys can do” approach.
I hope that somewhere along the way Brian Cashman gets the help he clearly needs. I know that all of us would be more than willing to give him a hand – maybe even use an intervention? He can make this organization a winner. I know he can.
I believe in his evaluation of talent – the Luis Severinos, Greg Birds, Aaron Judges, and Rob Refsnyders aren’t just lucky guesses – now all we need is for “Cash” to start believing in himself.
--Steve Skinner, BYB Senior Writer
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