Yankees: Leave Brian Cashman Alone
The fans, the media and even the Yankees themselves are starting to get a little ridiculous.
The struggles this team has endured this season are in no way, shape or form Brian Cashman’s fault, so get off his back.
It has been a tough one in the Bronx this season. After spending over $500 million this past winter, the Yankees sit at an average 61-58 heading into play on Friday. They are eight games back in the American League East, trailing Baltimore and Toronto, and are four games out of the second Wild Card spot. The Blue Jays and Mariners are currently ahead of them.
There is no denying what a frustrating campaign this has been, especially after all the talent that was brought in in the offseason. On paper, this roster certainly had the look of a playoff caliber team capable of winning 90+ games. Things have not gone as planned.
And so, naturally, the frustration has boiled over. The complaints and critiques by fans and media personnel has become a daily occurrence. Even owner Hal Steinbrenner has taken some shots.
All of that is fine, this team deserves the denunciation. You know who does not though?
The attacks on the Yankees’ general manager have been senseless and shameful from a fan base that has clearly become spoiled and greedy. Anyone who is calling for Cashman’s job, a job that he has held for 16 years, simply is not being fair or paying enough attention.
What could they possibly be complaining about? That he overpaid Jacoby Ellsbury a little bit? That Carlos Beltran is too old old and injury-prone? That Brian McCann has been a waste of money?
Oh, and how on earth could Cashman have let Robinson Cano, the best hitter ever as Yankees fans continue to embellish, walk? Right, because he should just pretend all the other 10-year contracts over the years have been ideal models of how to go about running a team.
Back to the moves he did make. Elsbury is tied for the team lead in runs batted in and stolen 31 bases. Is he having the best year of his career? No, but he is not the problem and for now, neither is his contract.
Beltran had a fantastic year in 2013, showing no signs of injury or age. He hit .296 with 24 homers and 84 RBI, so few had a problem when the Yankees took him on.
Meanwhile, the McCann signing was praised around baseball. Despite getting five years and $85 million from the Bombers, McCann’s contract was substantially less years and/or money than what other top catchers like Yadier Molina (10-year, $96.5 million), Joe Mauer (8-year, $184 million) and Buster Posey (9-year, $164 million) had gotten. Considering the Yankees’ desperation for a backstop, few had anything negative to say about the signing at the time.
If anything, the move that was most criticized was giving Masahiro Tanaka a seven-year, $155 million deal despite never throwing a pitch in the big leagues. That signing was worth every penny before Tanaka hit the disabled list, as he went 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA.
Have these moves all played out the way Cash had hoped? Of course not. But it is not his fault that McCann is hitting .238 and Beltran is at .243. These guys are playing well below the expectations they have consistently met with ease throughout their careers, and Cashman is not the one up at the plate with a bat in his hand. Its not Cashman’s fault Tanaka and the rest of the rotation got hurt. Its not his fault Alfonso Soriano went from having one of the best second halves in history last year to completely forgetting how to hit this season.
Cashman does not play the game. He just makes the moves, and few anything to say when they were made. The guys on the field have to produce.
So, instead of whining at these supposedly awful moves Cashman has made that has this team barely treading water, how about looking at the moves he has made to keep them afloat.
Brandon McCarthy has gone from scrub to star since he was picked up from Arizona, posting a 4-1 record with a 2.21 ERA in six starts. Chris Capuano only cost cash considerations. He has 3.60 ERA in four starts. Chase Headley, who was obtained for Yangervis Solarte and a low-level pitching prospect, is starting to come around at the plate and has made several run-saving plays with his spectacular defense. Meanwhile, Martin Prado and Stephen Drew offer solid defense and versatility in the field as they attempt to find their way in the batter’s box.
Without some of these moves, this Yankees ship would have sunk a long time ago. Instead, Cashman went out and plugged the leaks, and he did so without really sacrificing anything. Without Brian Cashman, this team would already be done.
So, when fans are calling Cashman out on the airwaves, the media is writing articles about whether its time for him to go or not, and one of the Steinbrenner sons gives a sketchy answer about his future, one should be scratching their head.
It just does not make sense. Cashman has made bad moves before, but they were bad at the time. The moves that people are complaining about now received applause and fist pumps at the time.
Its easy for fans, the media and Hal to blame the GM who does not have contract at the end of the season, because hindsight is always 20-20. Still, that does not make it right.
With such unfair criticism, if anything, Brian Cashman should decide if he wants the Yankees back in 2015.