From Shaun Powell -
Given the turmoil of another failed October, next season will be a stressful one for the man on the Yankees’ hot seat. He must handle the demands, both the reasonable and the ridiculous. He’ll deal with a wave of new challenges. Furthermore, he’ll have to work in the aftermath of Joe Torre’s departure.
Basically, the direction the Yankees take as they enter a whole new world will be dictated by Brian Cashman.
In some ways, his job as general manager has never been tougher or more important than now. He doesn’t have a Boss anymore; he has bosses, Hal and Hank Steinbrenner, who are new to this. He’ll have a new manager, if it’s Mattingly, who’ll be new to the game, too. Therefore, Cashman will have the unenviable task of advising his neophyte bosses on personnel and also giving the rookie manager something to work with.
While Torre was made out to be the scapegoat by the Yankees high command, despite all the rhetoric about everyone being held accountable, the Yankees simply lacked the pitching to go deep into October. Since pitching is everything this time of year, the Yankees were ill-equipped for a championship run. In hindsight, they had Andy Pettitte and Chien-Ming Wang, and only one was up to the task. Basically, they had no shot.
Torre could only work with what Cashman gave him, which was a heavy batting order and a rather average pitching staff comprised of pitchers who proved too old or not old enough. You could make the case that the one man in the front office who strongly wanted Torre to return was also the man who quickened Torre’s departure.
And once again, the success/failure rate for the next Yankees manager will be dictated in large part by Cashman, who has a tricky task ahead.
Already, the Yankees are wisely backing off their playoffs-or-bust demands, with yesterday’s call for “patience,” a word Torre never heard during his time in the Bronx.
If the new manager doesn’t rise to the level or Torre in that regard, then maybe it won’t be his fault. Maybe he wasn’t given the right pieces. Maybe he didn’t fail; maybe Cashman failed him.
The Yankees could make it official as early as tomorrow that Mattingly, the leader in the managerial clubhouse, is the guy. Whether Mattingly can cope with the demands will be up to him. Whether he’ll become the next great Yankees manager will be up to Cashman.