First let me say that I am a big Brian Cashman fan and feel that he does not get the respect for the work he has put in, especially, considering the circumstances that he works under. But some of the things he has done over the past few weeks has me scratching my head.
A lot of his critics have suggested that all Cashman has to do, year in and year out, is look for the best free agents and throw a boat load of money at them to sign with the Yankees. Trust me, it is not that easy, my friends.
For years, he had to deal with George Steinbrenner and his henchmen, the Tampa Regime, in running the organization. Many have felt that free agent signings like Hideki Irabu, Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, Kei Igawa and Randy Johnson were forced upon by the Tampa Regime but he took the heat when they did not work out. That is why he made sure he made it known that he needed total anatomy when he signed his last contract.
Yes, it helped to have Steinbrenner’s deep pockets when he needed to go after big name free agents like CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett but, at least, both of those guys were in their prime at the time of the signings. However, he also came up with some nice bargain signings like Nick Swisher and traded for the likes of Curtis Granderson. But when I think of Brian Cashman’s Yankee legacy, I just want to thank him publically for finding and keeping the young talent like Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, and Joba Chamberlain. Cano is a potential MVP candidate. Hughes won 19 games last year. Gardner is the hustle player that all winning teams have on the roster and Chamberlain could still be an impact player if the team stops jerking him around. Also add the fact that the organization has built a nice little farm system since Cashman committed to the youth movement. He has put the Yankees in a position to make some nice moves if needed.
Cashman should not have to defend his resume to anyone. Once he put his stamp on this club with the “right” free agent signings and the patience of the youth movement, the team has produced another championship. So why in the life of Brian is Cashman acting like he wants to get fired?
First he went public and slightly dissed Derek Jeter during the shortstop’s contract renegotiations. In the Yankee Universe, that could be construed as a serious career threatening move. Does the name Chad Curtis ring a bell? Curtis is the guy who questioned why Jeter was yucking it up with then Seattle Mariners Alex Rodriguez during a brawl between the two clubs. Shortly after Curtis’ public inquiry, he was placed in a witness protection program and has not been seen since. I could not believe some of those leaks that were contributed to Cashman became public. Some of those alleged Jeter contract demands appeared to be unrealistic considering his age, but Jeter deserved better, being the class act that he is. His contract should not have been negotiated in the media and the slights were not necessary.
Then at the Rafael Soriano introductory press conference, Cashman gets up and proclaims that the eleven million dollars used to sign the closer as a set-up man for Mariano Rivera could have been better served elsewhere. A couple of my colleagues, who attended that event said there was a collective “No He Did Not” expression on the attendees’ faces. Cashman made it perfectly clear that this was not his decision and it was made by his superiors. I know that I have gone against corporate current in my day, but this had to be a first in the annals of business. It is one thing to slight and question one of your best employees, but to question the people that you report to in public? Brian, really.
I looked at that as a cry for help. Maybe Cashman has had enough and he wants out. He has gone on record and indicated that, although he likes his current situation, he would welcome the challenge of running a smaller market team.
I thought it was kind of strange when I saw Cashman scaling down the side of a building dressed in an elf costume during the holidays. I understand that was done for a particular charity event so I will give him a pass on that. I hope that Cashman remains in the Bronx but a couple of more stunts like slighting integral players and openly questioning your bosses will have you looking for work.