Many times in the past I’ve disagreed with what General Manager Brian Cashman has done. I’ve criticized his business model of ignoring what we have in house – personnel he himself drafted – and bringing in veterans past their prime who perform either at the same level, or lower, than the youngsters who’ve seemingly earned their turn in the Bronx. With each off-season, I wait for our GM to proudly announce his latest reclamation project at the expense of baby Bombers who, in brief September call-ups, flashed potential stardom the season before.
Only this time I think that, for the most part, Brian’s moves have been correct. Namely, he really hasn’t made any significant moves – again, FOR THE MOST PART. Sure, I think that trading away Justin Wilson for two mid-level pitching prospects was foolish and short-sighted, and I believe that even if they won’t hurt the team, the acquisitions of Aroldis Chapman and Starlin Castro were not necessary. In spite of those, the fact that Cashman refrained from throwing major dollars at starting pitching, outfield, or other free agent infielders was the best move of all.
All winter I’ve heard or read others (either media or fans) scream about the Yankees needing rotation, outfield, and infield help. I’ve watched as many lamented big name free agents signing record contracts with other teams. Yet, I haven’t been of the same opinion as the naysayers this time. To me, the lack of deep-water diving into the market by the Yankees represents a potential return of trust in the talent we have in our minor league system.
It tells me that there might actually be plans for young hurlers like Bryan Mitchell (age 25) and Vicente Campos (age 24), or outfielders Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams and Aaron Judge. Perhaps the team is going to depend on the youngsters if – or rather when – the aging veterans fall. If that truly is the case, then I have opinion that Mr. Cashman has finally got it right.
We don’t need David Price, Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes. Our last great era was built upon the shoulders of young players we trusted our system to produce, and our next great era needs to have the same evolution.
We have a rotation that contains potential – both for tremendous success or shocking collapse. Starters Masahiro Tanaka, Nathan Eovaldi, Michael Pineda, and Ivan Nova all have shining promise, and have given us flashes of greatness in their young careers, but all also teeter on the brink of failure due to injury. CC Sabathia is showing that the wear and tear of shouldering a massive load in the past is finally catching up with him. Clearly, he’s on the slide into the completion of a great career. Ironically, our youngest starter – Luis Severino, age 22 – may be our best and most dependable.
Only, he’s going to be on an innings limit (or so it is rumored). Rather than panic and spend most of our available funds on short-term fixes, Brian Cashman has refrained from yielding to temptation. I can respect that. He, and his team, must believe that we have depth in our system to handle any setbacks to the front-line starters. That kind of trust in his system, gets me excited to see what our youngsters will show this season.
It has been a few years since I’ve been looking forward with great expectations for the Yankees new season. I truly believe that avoiding the “big splash” in the free agent market actually makes this team better, if for no other reason than it means our baby Bombers may finally get their chance. You don’t hear this from me nearly enough: Brian, you got it right.