April 28, 2007
Q-TB^2T: Should We Trust Brian's Brain Trust?
At this moment in time, only two teams in baseball are playing worse than the Yankees (8-13): The Nationals (8-15) and the Royals (7-16).
Does this mean that Joe Torre is in trouble? Maybe. From Joel Sherman today:
It is no secret around the Yankees that George Steinbrenner wanted Torre's job after the AL Division Series debacle last year, and only GM Brian Cashman's assault of reason calmed down the savage Boss. But this is not a moment of strength for Cashman, not with so much of his hand-picked personnel - on the roster and around the team - feeding a last-place team. Cashman probably will not be able to serve as a human blockade to save Torre if this is what Steinbrenner really wants, especially because there is still a pretty strong anti-Torre faction with Steinbrenner's ear in the organization.
Should it be Torre who pays the price for the way the Yankees have performed, so far, this season? Or, should it be Cashman, himself? From Peter Abraham a couple of days ago, when discussing the Hughes call-up:
I blame Brian Cashman for this. He had way too much faith in Carl Pavano’s ability to stay healthy and for whatever reason invested a lot of money in Kei Igawa. Now they’re paying the price.
I agree with Peter here. The Yankees pitching rotation, of lack thereof, is the reason why this team has imploded this month. And, it was Cashman who built the rotation and the plan for its back-ups. Should we be shocked by any of this? Back on January 6th of this year, I wrote:
Cashman became Yankees G.M. on February 28, 1998. The Yankees won the World Series in 1998, 1999, and 2000 - because of their pitching. The good pitchers on those 1998-2000 teams were Mariano Rivera, Orlando Hernandez, Roger Clemens, Ramiro Mendoza, Jeff Nelson, David Wells, Andy Pettitte, Graeme Lloyd and David Cone.
Of that strong pitching group, Cashman inherited most of them - I think his only moves were to pick up Clemens and El Duque.
What does this all say about Brian Cashman's track record in terms of being able to build a very good pitching staff?
At this junction, adding what we've seen so far this season to what we already knew, I would offer that the only thing Brian Cashman knows about pitching is that he can't tell the difference between the good ones and the bad ones.
But, Joe Torre only has six months left on his contract - whereas Brian Cashman has twenty months left on his deal. This leads me to believe that Torre is more likely to pay the price for the Yankees being one of three in the "Less Than 9 Wins Club" - rather than Cashman.
Nonetheless, bottom line, the current state of the New York Yankees may never change until Brian Cashman is gone. It seems that the Yankees were better when someone with a scouting background was in charge of acquiring talent.
Actually, if you look at the Yankees "brain trust" now, you'll see that it's basically Randy Levine (Team President), Brian Cashman (Senior Vice President, General Manager), Mark Newman (Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations), and Jean Afterman (Vice President, Assistant General Manager). Of those four, only Newman has a "baseball" background.
Maybe that's the issue with this Yankees organization - too many white-collar, pencil-pushing, general-ledger types and not enough people who have grown-up in the game calling the shots?
The only way we'll know for sure is if the Yankees make a change - and then we can see the results. At this point, I would suggest that Yankees fans should begin to consider making the call for the experiment.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at April 28, 2007 09:00 AM
Not another "fire Cashman" thread. Because of one bad week everyone has jumped from "great offseason" to "Cashman MUST go!" Come on Steve, if the Yanks even win three of the games this past week, 2 even, things are different. Cashman and his "brain trust" have completely rebuilt the farm system into the 2nd strongest with the best pitching depth. This is importnat not only so we have kids to call up, but so we can trade them for talent too. Yeah, Igawa hasn't been great, yet. he's had two good starts and two bad starts. I'd say you need some time on that one, don't you think? Pettitte has been awesome save last night, so why not props there? Moose at the time was the best pitcher on the market.
"Maybe that's the issue with this Yankees organization - too many white-collar, pencil-pushing, general-ledger types and not enough people who have grown-up in the game calling the shots?"
--Yeah, that makes no sense. How many GM's in baseball have that kind of experience?
Cashman is the one trying to turn the team around for the future and firing him now, mid transition, because of a bad week that is 100% flukey (yeah, they might be bad, but no one is THIS bad, get a grip man) ruins that transition and plunges the Yanks right back into the no-future zone.
Might as well sell the Yanks to the Dolans, at least they put their money behind the team, right?
What exactly do you mean by a "baseball" background?
If I'm not mistaken, in the eight years that he was raising in the organization, Cashman was educated in the game, followed, and learned directly from Gene Michael... I mean, if you haven't played the game in a major league level, what's the next best thing?
Posted by: B(rent) at April 28, 2007 11:03 AM
Steve - what you say is true, but somewhat misleading. It terms of telling 'the good from the bad'... was Javy bad? At the time of his signing, everyone was pleased. Was RJ bad? No one expected a Cy Young, but look what we got. Jeff Weaver? The guy looked like a stud.
I will agree that with Pavs and Wright, many were upset at TRADE time... but with those other 3, people were very happy.
Even with our current Pitching (on paper), the majority of the pundits picked the Yankees to be WS bound, and almost all picked us for the division.
I still think our BP is well above average, although so far they have performed well below average. Is this Cashman's fault? Joes?
Also, in the last week, our offense has been real poor. Abreu, Damon, Cano have all been terrible. Jetes is doing OK, but can't find an extra base hit.
There is no doubt that Cash and Joe deserve some of the 'credit' for our poor performance, but you got to hold the players accountable.
Obviously injuries have played a big role. Last year the Sox lead the division until late, then had a rash of injuries and proceeded to play well below .500 ball.
I still think, out of 14 AL teams, our pitching should be around 5th or 6th best. If our O does it's thing, this should still bring us the AL East.
When Jetes went 0 for 30 a few years ago, did we blame Cashman? Abreu has an OPS of .700. Blame Cashman? Cano has a .680 OPS. Blame Cashman? Damon is at .720. Blame Cashman?
We are in a black hole now. It won't last.
Cashman has taken on an old team, which 2 years ago had a 'totally depleted' Farm system. Our Farm now ranks near the top. That is ALL Cashman.
Lowering our Payroll 2 years straight is important if you want to get a Santana type.
I think we need to stay away from knee-jerk scape-goating. The press, of course, loves any fodder they can get. I'm unhappy and a little nervous. But if we win 23 games in June, will anyone be really surprised?
Are you proposing the Yankees fire Cashman now?
Did you feel he should have been fired before the season began?
Are you proposing the Yankees fire Torre now?
I'm curious because you're not taking a stance, you're just putting different things 'out there.', not that you need to take a stance. I'm trying to determine if your position has changed during the month.
I agree one hundred percent with Zack. I don't even have to add anything here -- he nailed it.
Clueless has to fired and the sooner the better. Torre uses the same guys every single night:
T. Coffey (Reds) 14
*M. Myers (Yankees) 14
*S. Proctor (Yankees) 14
J. Rauch (Nationals) 14
D. Reyes (Twins) 14
K. Saarloos (Reds 14)
*L. Vizcaino (Yankees) 14
*B. Bruney (Yankee) 12
There are only 2 teams with worse records the Nats and the Royals. This should be unacceptable. Since you can't trade the players - get rid of Torre!
I think Cashman doesn't know pitching. His record speaks for itself. They need someone who can scout and recommend pitching moves to Cashman. (and not the Tampa guys, someone new.)
Two questions, for those pro-Cashman...and your answers to these questions would be my reply to all those pro-Cashman commentors here. Answer these questions, honestly:
1. Do you believe that the Yankees poor start this season is directly related to the poor performances by the Yankees starting pitching, as a group? Yes or no?
2. Who in the Yankees organization put that starting rotation, of Wang, Pettitte, Mussina, Pavano, Igawa, Karstens, Wright, Hughes and Rasner, on the roster? Was it someone other than Brian Cashman?
If your answers are # 1, yes, and, # 2, Cashman, no one else...then you too are blaming Brian Cashman for the Yankees failures this season.
If you choose not to look for him to be held accountable for his mistakes, that's your call. Me? I think his feet should be held to the fire for this mess. But, again, that's just me.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at April 28, 2007 08:22 PM
Steve, you can put together a team but odd things can happen espically in a small sample size.
You can't predict injuries, ok you can predict that Carl Pavano is not a good bet for health, but Wang and Moose both going down at the same time as Pavano? is that something you could predict? other pitchers never pull a hammy or groin? that's where the whole problem started, Igawa needing time to adjust is forseeable, and after missing out on Matsuzaka i still don't see how signign Zito to a even BIGGER contract would be a better investment or signing Jason Schidmt, whom if you noticed is not only on the DL too, but showed substatial lost in velocity before he was hurt (as in mid 80s . that's just REALLY bad)
Lilly? sure he's doing fine now, but he's also had his share of injuries, is he any less likely to pull something? or throw less than 5 inngs? he didn't go 6+ that often for the Jays last year either.
Do we even want to go into the other candidates? aside from maybe Randy Wolf (whom signed a home town deal.) there was no one out there that wasn't either super old (David Wells? Woody Williams? Tom Glavine? Gregg Maddux ?) or just plan crap (Jeff freaking Weaver got a 8M deal ... for the Yankees after tax that would be 10M +, ridiculas)
the Yankees set up some decent depth in the minors, but depth is something that gets by for 1 and maybe 2 injured guys, not 3 and growing.
Or are you suggesting that Cashman should somehow forsee a HOF closer could blow 2 saves in around 2 weeks? really?
What Yu said.
And can we see Igawa for at least half-a-season before rushing to judgement? He did a yeoman's job against the Bosox Saturday. Can we see what else he can do before knifing him and Cashman in the back?
I'll assess how Cashman did as a GM in October, not now.