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October 13, 2005

Recent G.M. Scorecard

I just took a very unscientific look at some recent Yankees and the G.M. who brought them to pinstripes:


Brian Cashman has more names here since he's been the Yankees G.M. four times as long as Bob Watson was - and longer (by about two years) than Stick Michael was the G.M.

Now, some might say that Cashman has more dogs on his list because he has less control than Watson and Michael did - and, therefore, he has some of these players (like a Lofton, Mondesi, or Contreras) forced on him. Still, Pavano was all Cash - as were Vazquez and Brown.

It seems, just eye-balling, that Cashman's been around a 50-50 shooter in terms of picking the right player (even factoring in the forced jobs) whereas Watson and Michael were much higher (in terms of getting players who did well for the Yankees).

Is it possible that, with the recent resurgence of anti-Stein stuff, that Cashman is getting built up to be something more than what he is (in terms of effectiveness)? Is it possible that the Yankees might be better off with a new G.M.? I dunno - but, I think it's a fair question.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at October 13, 2005 03:05 PM


Good sleuthing Steve and a very good question indeed. I like Cashman and would prefer he re-up as GM but I'm not as willing as the media and many fans to just chalk up his bad moves to Tampa and George and give him credit for the good moves (especially when there is no proof ANY of these moves were clearly his decisions. Steve, the anti-George faction which, unfortunately for Steinbrenner, is fueled both by Yankee-haters and Yankees fans (boy, can't win for losing...which is the real reason he's getting this flak: 5 straight years without a championship but the highest payroll), are building straw men for their jaundiced view of the way things supposedly work in Yankeeland. Based on what? The grumblings of Don Zimmer, Mel Stottlemyre, friends of Brian Cashman? If Tampa was so dominant in George's hierachy of power, why were Mark Newman, George Bradley, and Lin Garrett demoted, re-assigned or just simply pushed aside in recent years? How did they manage to sabotage Torre, Zimmer and Stott while simultaneously losing authority over the draft, the minor league system, and major league scouting? Some lame ducks, eh? Cashman's greatest weakness is not his abuse by Steinbrenner (and do we have pictures of this, Joel or Bill or Bob?)but his lack of a scouting background. He is reliant upon the "wise old heads" in the organization when it comes to player evaluations. Just as an example, it was Gene Michael who apparently (as Cashman said on M & MD in May)urged him to sign Tony Womack. Gene Michael! In this respect, he has as much actual scouting experience as his rival Theo Epstein (none). (being a cross-checker is not actually scouting) In the end, it doesn't matter because the success or failure of the Yankees (as well as the Red Sox) depends on the ability of the front office to waste a lot of money (at the major league level as well as in player development)in a rather inefficient way to acquire as much talent as they can...something teams with fewer financial resources cannot do. Which is a very long reply to your question. I think the Yankees will be better off with a new pitching coach in any event.

Posted by: JohnnyC at October 13, 2005 03:53 PM

Funny, Phillips swore that Cash was ambushed with the Womack signing: http://www.waswatching.com/archives/2005/09/the_life_of_bri.html

Posted by: Steve Lombardi at October 13, 2005 04:40 PM

Steve Phillips knows nothing.

Posted by: JohnnyC at October 13, 2005 05:04 PM

Seriously, Gene Michael is capable of a bad mistake as much as any other GM or executive. There were plenty of moves in the early '90s that went awry also (Steve Farr and Tartabull alone off your list). That's no crime. My point was that, like a civil trial, if the preponderance of moves are good rather than bad, the GM's worth keeping. Given that metric, Cashman's been pretty good.

Posted by: JohnnyC at October 13, 2005 05:10 PM

steve phillips is a horrible GM

Posted by: Straylightrise at October 13, 2005 06:22 PM

Who would you suggest replace Brian Cashman? I think that is an important question.

Posted by: Scott Coulter at October 13, 2005 07:03 PM

Steve Farr was a mistake?


Posted by: Steve Lombardi at October 13, 2005 08:47 PM

I always thought Bob Watson was underrated. George really hated him for some reason though (I guess because he was his GM, that pretty much puts you on George's lsit unless the team goes 162-0). I definitely think Watson was the key to our 96 season being a championship season.
That said, who knows how many of these moves are sanctioned by the GM and how many come from Tampa. But we've had pretty lousy benches the last few years, sub-par bullpens overall, and a lot of one-dimensional players. I tend to think Cashamn would do a hell of a job if Tampa would just leave him alone.

Posted by: JeremyM at October 13, 2005 10:21 PM

Yeah, I'm sure it's Tampa's fault that Andy Phillips, Colter Bean, Kevin Thompson, and Kevin Reese never got any significant PT in the Bronx, even as bench players. Just as it's Tampa's fault that our manager likes to use Wayne Franklin, Russ Johnson, Rey Sanchez, Ruben Sierra, and Alan Embree for no apparent reason. And Tampa really didn't want Joe Torre to use Wang or Cano and signed Aaron Small just to get under his and Mel's skin. Right.

Posted by: JohnnyC at October 13, 2005 11:31 PM

Actually, the Farr & Tartabull signings were good ones. Both had good years right up until the last year of their contracts.

Posted by: Raf at October 14, 2005 09:45 AM

Danny Tartabull: career average .273/.368/.496, averaged 30 HR & 107 RBI per 162 games (thank you Baseball Reference).

1992: .266 .409 .489, 25 & 85
1993: .250 .363 .503, 31 & 102
1994: .256 .360 .464, 19 & 67 - in 2/3 or a season, roughly 30 & 100 in a full season.
1995: .236 .335 .379, 8 & 35 between Yanks & Oakland.

Three out of the four years, Tartabull had a roughly career average year. So, it was a good signing.

Steve Farr:1991 ERA+ of 191; 1992 ERA+ of 251; 1993 ERA+ or 101. That, to me, is a good signing, also. He wasn't Mariano, but nobody was - including Ekersley, Sutter, etc.

My biggest complaint with the Joe Torre era is the reliance on overpriced veterans who are NOT outperforming younger players (who get paid a tenth at much). I mean, would Andy Phillips really have hit that much worse than Tino or Reuben Sierra?

Posted by: Chuck May at October 14, 2005 11:21 AM