• The Yankees Bite…

    Posted by on May 29th, 2007 · Comments (16)

    …themselves. Don’t worry, it will make sense at the end of this rant.

    From George King

    Just like a year ago, when GM Brian Cashman talked George Steinbrenner out of firing Joe Torre, there are voices within the Yankee organization telling The Boss that boxing Cashman isn’t the right move.

    Steinbrenner put his GM in the crosshairs Friday when he said, “He is on a big hook.”

    Since the Yankees have lost all four games since Steinbrenner voiced his displeasure with Cashman, The Boss’ frustration rises with every defeat.

    “There are people trying to talk him out of it,” an organizational voice said yesterday.

    Since The Boss has been leaning on his sons, Hank and Hal, it’s likely they are backing Cashman, whom Steinbrenner’s family genuinely likes.

    Another factor working in Cashman’s favor is there is no clear-cut replacement. Former GM Gene Michael, a VP and special adviser to Steinbrenner, has been mentioned. But it’s been a while since Michael was the GM and he may not want to jump back into the most demanding job in the Yankees universe.

    Of course, there’s no clear-cut replacement. It’s not that simple when you’re hiring for a spot like this one. This is where the Yankees need to do their homework. You have to dig and find the right next guy.

    I can tell you the type of guy that the Yankees need to replace Cashman with: Someone like Frank Wren…but not him. Someone with a resume like him though…a former player, did scouting, worked for the best GM’s, maybe even was a GM once as a learning experience…someone with all that. The Yankees need a “baseball” man at the helm…like Gene Michael and Bob Watson, when they were in charge…and not someone who is basically a “white collar” business-oriented type (like Cashman).

    The reason why I say “not Wren” is that I’m not sure if he can handle the fishbowl nature of Yankeeland.

    But, there has to be at least a half-dozen candidates like Wren out there now in baseball. The problem is: It takes a baseball person to find/spot a baseball person. And, who is going to find the next G.M. of the Yankees? Randy Levine? Hank and Hal Steinbrenner? They’re not baseball people…they’re more white-collar business people.

    One month ago, I wrote:

    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?

    Thinking about it more…it is an issue. The Yankees are never going to find the right replacement for Cashman – unless the right candidate starts to campaign for the job and the media picks up on it…to the point where it becomes a no-brainer hire for the Yankees.

    Until then, expect more of the following: The team will focus on getting the Yankees brand out there, as much as possible, and building up the draw for their TV network, ballpark, and merchandise…and continue to make tons of money. The ledger will be pretty…much more pretty than the baseball standings. The “business” side of the team will be fine…but the “baseball” side will continue to suffer.

    You know, Yogi Berra once said “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” And, in a way, borrowing from that, you can now say “The Yankees aren’t successful anymore. They make too much money.”

    Through the success of 1996 through 2003, the Yankees have become this huge money making machine. And, now, their management team is built to working that machine, squeezing out the money from it – and they are not equiped to build the machine…they can only work it. So, when the machine needs to be fixed, and, in a sense, re-built, they are both clueless and helpless.

    Frank Sinatra once sang:

    And there used to be a ballpark,
    Where the field was warm and green.
    And the people played their crazy game,
    With a joy I’d never seen.
    And the air was such a wonder,
    From the hot dogs and the beer.
    Yes, there used a ballpark, right here.

    Pretty soon, Yankees fans will be singing:

    And there used to be a Yankees,
    Led by baseball men very keen.
    And the team was always up on their game,
    With a zest I’d never seen.
    And the results were such a wonder,
    It brought cause for fans to cheer.
    Yes, there used a Yankees, right here.

    And, to quote B.J. Thomas, it will be “another somebody done somebody wrong song.” The weird/funny/sad part here is that it will be the Yankees that did something wrong to the Yankees. People seem to like the old “Man Bites Dog” headlines. The story on this one should be “Man Bites Self” – because that’s what’s happened here: The Yankees Bite Themselves.

    Comments on The Yankees Bite…

    1. RICH
      May 29th, 2007 | 12:31 pm

      Are you recommending that Cashman be fired?

    2. Jason O.
      May 29th, 2007 | 12:47 pm

      What about Steve Phillips?

      HHAHAHAHAHAHA…oh, jeez, I kill myself…

    3. May 29th, 2007 | 1:02 pm

      ~~~Are you recommending that Cashman be fired?~~~

      At year end, assuming this does not turn around, yes. Actually, maybe I would let him stay…under the condition that someone with a scouting background be in charge of putting the team together. Let Brian handle the media and the contracts, etc. That’s fine. Just don’t let him pick the manager or the players.

      Since you asked me, I’ll ask you: Are you recommending that Cashman not be fired?

    4. rbj
      May 29th, 2007 | 1:32 pm

      You took the words out of my mouth, er, keyboard, Jason O. Though if the Yankees hired Steve Philips, I just might kill myself.

      I don’t think firing Cashman is the answer, though that ill-conceived new strength & conditioning coach is a huge black mark. It certainly won’t turn things around for this year, and I think Brian — with the acquisition & keeping of all those young arms — is looking toward the future.

      As this team is utterly lifeless, shouldn’t the players be kicking themselves in the rear — maybe have someone who’s a designated leader of the team start calling other guys out to step it up?

      Never thought I’d long for the good old days of “Trade A-Rod”

    5. RICH
      May 29th, 2007 | 2:00 pm

      “Since you asked me, I’ll ask you: Are you recommending that Cashman not be fired?”

      I would not fire Cashman. I’ve been pleased with his work before this year and while there’s things I disagree with I don’t see any ‘fireable’ offenses.

      I’m confident with the way he’s addressing the team’s longterm needs. With the team’s wealth I hope the more immediate needs will be easier to meet without punting for 3 years.

    6. May 29th, 2007 | 2:22 pm

      ~~~I’ve been pleased with his work before this year~~~

      It’s been strongly suggested that Cashman did not have total control until May 2005.

      So, what moves in the last two years have been the most pleasing, if I may ask?

    7. baileywalk
      May 29th, 2007 | 2:45 pm

      Off the top of my head, in the last two years:

      Picking up Bruney.
      The Wright-for-Britton deal.
      The Sheffield deal (it will be better if Sanchez actually pitches one day, but I think Whelan will help the team soon, and Sheff was a goner anyway).
      Picking up Phelps in the rule V.
      Getting Pettitte back (didn’t take much on his part, but he still gets credit).
      Bobby Abreu mid-season trade (he’s horrible this year, but where would the team have been without him last year?).
      Aaron Guiel (just a personal fave).
      Dumping Shawn Chacon.

      There’s also some bad:

      Taking Vizacaino from the D’Backs.
      The entire Randy Johnson trade.
      Farnsworth (though I approved at the time).
      Bringing Villone back.
      Bringing Cairo back.
      No real option at backup catcher.
      The Damon deal (not horrible, but he’s predictably breaking down).
      Bringing back Clemens at an absurd price.

      There’s probably more, but THE biggest mistake by Cashman: going to bat for Joe and bringing Torre back for one more year. The dumbest thing he’s ever done.

    8. May 29th, 2007 | 2:49 pm

      You forgot Marty Miller.

    9. Don
      May 29th, 2007 | 2:56 pm

      Most likely, the Clemens deal is George. Sure seems lke a pure George move. If Cashman advocated it then he is a fool who should be fired.

    10. May 29th, 2007 | 3:03 pm

      Another Cashman move: Sidney Ponson

    11. rbj
      May 29th, 2007 | 3:26 pm

      Cashman did get Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon — who were ech good for half a season — and, IIRC, traded them fairly quickly when they fell back to earth.

    12. May 29th, 2007 | 3:41 pm

      Even Cashman has confessed that he lucked out with those two – and never expected what NY got from them in 2005.

    13. RICH
      May 29th, 2007 | 4:18 pm

      “So, what moves in the last two years have been the most pleasing, if I may ask?”

      Some of the moves I’ve liked include:

      Small, Chacon (those 2 might be before the arbitrary 2005 date), Abreu, and Bruney.

      I’m still looking forward to see how Britton works out if they bring him up again.

      Phelps seems to be a good risk to take.

      I don’t know how his 2006 draft will work out at this time.

      I don’t know if he had any responsibility for moving Cano and Melky up.

      It can’t be quantified since we’ll never know what offers he didn’t accept but I’m pleased he hasn’t given up the farm for quick fixes so far.

    14. antone
      May 29th, 2007 | 5:01 pm

      I don’t really see Cashman having that many great moves. I think his best asset has been the moves he hasn’t made. Hanging onto young players like Hughes, Clippard, Cano etc.

      This team is/was getting old quickly and you guys had to be naive to think that this team wouldn’t have a year like this sooner or later. There has to be a transition from old guard to new at some point, maybe this is the year they transition and bite the bullet. They tried to throw a quick fix in there with Clemens just to shake things up but I think this is a transition year whether we like it or not.

      I really don’t have any opinion for or against Cashman, I don’t think he’s made any great moves or any horrible ones. I do like the young pitching they have been growing and collecting. I really don’t think there have been any decent free agents to sign the last few years either. I still would have liked Beltran over Damon though. I think that was a poor choice regardless of who’s decision it was but at the same time Beltran isn’t a leadoff hitter so you would still need one of those.

    15. brockdc
      May 30th, 2007 | 12:18 am

      I liked the Terrance Long acquisition, myself.

      And how ’bout that Scottie Erickson? Eh? Eh?

      Okay, now I’m just piling on.

    16. Joel
      August 1st, 2008 | 1:11 pm

      Of course Cashman has a ton of money to work with. But the team has made the playoffs every year since he has been the GM. I’m not sure what more you could ask for. Did you want 10 championships in a row?

      They’ve run into some bad luck and hot teams in best-of-five crapshoots over the past few years. But under Cashman’s tenure, the Yanks have consistently been among the best teams in baseball. Even in “transition” we Yankee fans have a very competitive team to root for.

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