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.