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December 04, 2006

Making A List & Only Checking It Once On Cashman

I was asked today to take a stab at ranking Brian Cashman's best and worst moves since he became Yankees G.M. on February 28, 1998. So, here goes - a quick reaction on what I think were his nine best/worst trades and signings - listed in date order:

Nine Best Trades

February 18, 1999 - Traded Homer Bush, Graeme Lloyd, and David Wells to the Toronto Blue Jays. Received Roger Clemens.

December 22, 1999 - Traded Hideki Irabu to the Montreal Expos. Received players to be named later and Jake Westbrook. The Montreal Expos sent Ted Lilly (March 17, 2000) and Christian Parker (March 22, 2000) to the New York Yankees to complete the trade.

June 29, 2000 - Traded Ricky Ledee, Jake Westbrook, and Zach Day to the Cleveland Indians. Received David Justice.

July 21, 2000 - Traded Ben Ford and Oswaldo Mairena to the Chicago Cubs. Received Glenallen Hill.

December 7, 2001 - Traded David Justice to the New York Mets. Received Robin Ventura.

July 31, 2003 - Traded Robin Ventura to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Received Bubba Crosby and Scott Proctor.

July 31, 2003 - Traded Brandon Claussen, Charlie Manning (minors), and cash to the Cincinnati Reds. Received Aaron Boone.

February 16, 2004 - Traded a player to be named later and Alfonso Soriano to the Texas Rangers. Received Alex Rodriguez and cash. The New York Yankees sent Joaquin Arias (April 23, 2004) to the Texas Rangers to complete the trade.

July 30, 2006 - Traded Matt Smith, C.J. Henry (minors), Carlos Monastrios (minors), and Jesus Sanchez (minors) to the Philadelphia Phillies. Received Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle.

Nine Worst Trades

February 1, 1999 - Traded Mike Lowell to the Florida Marlins. Received Mark J. Johnson, Ed Yarnall, and Todd Noel.

July 1, 2002 - Traded Scott Wiggins to the Toronto Blue Jays. Received Raul Mondesi.

July 5, 2002 - As part of a 3-team trade, traded Ted Lilly, John-Ford Griffin, and Jason Arnold (minors) to the Oakland Athletics. Received Jeff Weaver from the Detroit Tigers. In addition, the Oakland Athletics sent a player to be named later, Carlos Pena, and Franklyn German to the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Tigers sent cash to the Oakland Athletics. The Oakland Athletics sent Jeremy Bonderman (August 22, 2002) to the Detroit Tigers to complete the trade.

December 13, 2003 - Traded Jeff Weaver, Yhency Brazoban, Brandon Weeden (minors), and cash to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Received Kevin Brown.

December 16, 2003 - Traded Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera, and Randy Choate to the Montreal Expos. Received Javier Vazquez.

July 31, 2004 - Traded Jose Contreras and cash to the Chicago White Sox. Received Esteban Loaiza.

December 3, 2004 - Traded Kenny Lofton to the Philadelphia Phillies. Received Felix Rodriguez.

January 11, 2005 - Traded Javier Vazquez, Brad Halsey, Dioner Navarro, and cash to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Received Randy Johnson.

February 16, 2004 - Traded a player to be named later and Alfonso Soriano to the Texas Rangers. Received Alex Rodriguez and cash. The New York Yankees sent Joaquin Arias (April 23, 2004) to the Texas Rangers to complete the trade.

Yes, I know that I listed the A-Rod trade twice. I think the jury is still out on that one - therefore, I'm hedging my bet here.

Nine Best Signings

September 29, 1998 - Signed Alfonso Soriano as a free agent.

May 5, 2000 - Signed Chien-Ming Wang as an amateur free agent.

November 30, 2000 - Signed Mike Mussina as a free agent.

January 5, 2001 - Signed Robinson Cano as an amateur free agent.

December 19, 2002 - Signed Hideki Matsui as a free agent.

February 4, 2003 - Signed Jon Lieber as a free agent.

August 3, 2004 - Signed John Olerud as a free agent.

January 21, 2005 - Signed Aaron Small as a free agent.

January 3, 2006 - Signed Johnny Damon as a free agent.

Nine Worst Signings

June 2, 1998 - Signed Drew Henson in the 3rd round of the 1998 amateur draft.

December 7, 2001 - Signed Steve Karsay as a free agent.

December 13, 2001 - Signed Jason Giambi as a free agent.

December 17, 2001 - Signed Rondell White as a free agent.

February 6, 2003 - Signed Jose Contreras as an amateur free agent.

January 6, 2004 - Signed Kenny Lofton as a free agent.

December 20, 2004 - Signed Carl Pavano as a free agent.

December 20, 2004 - Signed Tony Womack as a free agent.

July 14, 2006 - Signed Sidney Ponson as a free agent.

Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com for the transaction data.

Keep in mind that I did this quickly. Looking at it now, I feel like I should have gotten El Duque and Tony Clark in there on the good signings too. And, the Gabe White and Felix Heredia moves should be in there somewhere as well - on the bad side.

And, yes, I do hit Cashman twice on Contreras - for signing him and then trading him. That probably should just be one or the other.

I did not give Cashman any credit for signing Gary Sheffield - since everyone knows that was all Big Stein. I also left off Shawn Chacon since that was just pure luck.

I would love to hear from others regarding how these lists should be crafted. Please use the comments section for that. Thanks in advance!

Posted by Steve Lombardi at December 4, 2006 05:26 PM

Comments

It's interesting how the bad deals snowball into each other (Lilly for Weaver, then Weaver for Brown; N. Johnson for Vasquez, then Vasquez for R. Johnson) and usually involve pitching. Might be fair to say that is Cashman's weak spot.

And unless you are counting off-field stuff, I think you are way off on Giambi. By coincidence, I was looking at his baseball-reference page earlier, and, with the exception of the dreadful 2004, I was surprised to see he has been very solid for the Yankees (OBP over .400 each year, 32, 37, 41 [x2] HRs). And really, coming off his ridiculous last 2 season in Oakland (.333/.476/.647 and .342/.477/.660), the year after A-Rod's contract, it's not a surprise he got the money he did.

Posted by: NewAmsterdamYanks [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2006 06:21 PM

This posting requires more than the five minutes I have at my disposal right now. I'm truly overwhelmed.

Posted by: brockdc [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2006 06:26 PM

Interesting list, Steve. Thanks for that.

However I repeat a point I made earlier today on Pete Abe's blog. It is really unclear how much of Cashman's prior deals were really the work of Cashman, Steinbrenner, the Tampa faction, or any combination thereof.

The pattern of 2006 moves is to improve the team and look fo rthe best players without sacrificing the future. The recent past in juxtaposition merely focused on filling each slot with the biggest name available.

I tend to give Cashman credit for the good moves of the past and assign the blame for the others to Tampa. Do I have a definitive basis for that presumption? No, not really other than my perception.

Posted by: Paul [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2006 07:32 PM

I don't know how you can say the Jury is out on the A-Rod deal. I mean, I know how, but come on now.

Posted by: SteveB [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2006 08:01 PM

I disagree with some things:

>>December 16, 2003 - Traded Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera, and Randy Choate to the Montreal Expos. Received Javier Vazquez.>July 31, 2004 - Traded Jose Contreras and cash to the Chicago White Sox. Received Esteban Loaiza.>January 11, 2005 - Traded Javier Vazquez, Brad Halsey, Dioner Navarro, and cash to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Received Randy Johnson.>December 7, 2001 - Signed Steve Karsay as a free agent.>December 13, 2001 - Signed Jason Giambi as a free agent.>January 6, 2004 - Signed Kenny Lofton as a free agent.>December 20, 2004 - Signed Tony Womack as a free agent.>July 14, 2006 - Signed Sidney Ponson as a free agent.<<

Meh. He made a couple of starts and was gone. They should have never done it, but it was a blip on the screen. They picked up something, threw it against the wall, and saw if it would stick. It didn't. He made a start in the Boston Massacre and we still won anyway. Ponson will always have that, I guess.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2006 08:08 PM

I can't count the Weaver for Brown deal as a bad one. Weaver had to go, at any cost. Brown had come off a great run in LA. Lofton? He bookended his stay in NY with some very decent play elsewhere. I blame Joe for that one. He played Bernie over Lofton. Clearly Lofton had more game. Fasano, Stinnett, and Greene are a legacy best forgotten.
How about the things that didn't get done? They should have kept Leiber for '05. They should have kept Girardi.
The Clemens and Justice deals resulted in rings. They are the at top of the list.

Posted by: #15 [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2006 08:36 PM

Good stuff, Steve.

I wasn't expecting to see the Glenallen Hill trade listed, but you're right - that turned out to be huge.

Also totally agree about Giambi. He's basically become a $20 million version of Troy Glaus. I think a lot of people fall in love with his OBP, but a .400+ OBP for a guy like Giambi is meaningless. If you can't run the bases and score runs, then getting on base is meaningless. There aren't many players who walk over 100 times a year and don't score 100 runs, yet Giambi's managed to do it three times with the Yanks.

Posted by: christopher [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2006 08:53 PM

I think trading Contreras was a terrible decision considering all we got in return was less than half a season of Esteban Loaiza and cash. We didnt wait long enough for him to develop and now all of sudden he pitchs really well for the ChiSox. Also, a non move not mentioned was not resigning Andy Pettitte even though he had arm problems. He also severely misread the market when he let Jon Lieber go when the team had a 7 million dollar option.

Posted by: Chewbacca [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2006 09:09 PM

Very nice list, Steve. It provides a good way to pass the time in winter.

I like the Giambi signing. As I see it, he didn't score 100 runs because he didn't play every day and because the RBI men batted in front of him. However, IMHO the worst thing about the Giambi signing is that they could have signed Bonds instead.

Similarly, signing Sheff was great, but they could have signed Vlad (or at least they could have tried.)

I disagree with Steve's slam on ARod. He was MVP last year, for goodness sake.

Posted by: David [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2006 09:31 PM

Needless to say, my previous post got FUCCCCKED up as it was loading (I guess). My brilliance will forever be lost. Heh-heh-heh.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2006 11:37 PM

Yeah, list A-Rod as a bad trade is B.S. MVP isn't good enough for you?
Sori this year .277/.351/.560
Alex this year .290/.392/.523
A-Rod's good seasons are better than Sori's.

Posted by: rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 5, 2006 10:57 AM

I only say the A-Rod trade could be bad because of all the baggage that he brings - you know, always being in the news, causing questions for the rest of the team, etc. It's a headache.

When he wins the MVP, like in 2005, it's a headache that you can live with - but, when it comes with the numbers from last year (including his defense and post-season results), it's a headache that could be not worth it.

Like I said, I listed it as a good trade and a bad one because we need to see how 2007 goes before we make the final call.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 5, 2006 11:06 AM

I view all the "baggage" as media hype. Sure, there is probably a kernel of truth in there (Alex & Derek not best of buddies, but hey, neither were Babe & Lou) but it gets blown out of proportion.

Posted by: rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 5, 2006 12:05 PM

You, or anyone, think that the S.I. piece coming out just before the post-season was a good thing for the Yankees?

With A-Rod, there is no A-Rod drama, and then there's no SI-distraction just before the ALDS.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 5, 2006 12:37 PM

No World Series winning team has done so with an MVP on it since 1988.

An MVP does not bring a championship; teamwork and role players who step up to the competition do.

Alex Rodriguez has been called the best player in baseball. Maybe so, but he has no rings.

The Yankees need players who perform well. That is hit timely, play good defense, and of course pitch well.

Posted by: Paul [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 5, 2006 01:06 PM

Amen.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 5, 2006 02:07 PM

The Yankees need players who perform well. That is hit timely, play good defense, and of course pitch well.
==============
I'd focus more on the pitching, since the Yanks seem to have enough offense. But as we've seen over the years, there is no "one way" to win a championship.

Make the playoffs, and hope for the best.

Given that there have been few times where a team with a player having an MVP caliber season has appeared in the playoffs, I don't think the "No World Series winning team has done so with an MVP on it since 1988" line means much.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 6, 2006 02:40 PM

er, that should read "appeared in the World Series"

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 6, 2006 05:16 PM