• You Can’t Spell Cashman Without “C, A, S, H”

    Posted by on October 31st, 2007 · Comments (22)

    From Ian O’Connor today -

    The sorcery and magic are long gone. On Cashman’s watch, the bloody Red Sox have built a dynasty. Torre and Alex Rodriguez have opted out. The Yankees are no longer the business model for wannabe teams.

    Cashman’s scorecard reads like your average Phil Mickelson round: birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey. For every good move Cashman has made, a bad one has followed.

    Good Cash: He traded for Scott Brosius. Signed El Duque Hernandez for peanuts. Blocked Randy Johnson from Cleveland. Did his knee-buckling deal for Roger Clemens. Dealt for David Justice. Signed Mike Mussina and Hideki Matsui. Landed A-Rod. Kept Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang. Didn’t land Eric Gagne. Protected Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy.

    Bad Cash: Dealt future Red Sox World Series MVP Mike Lowell for Mark Johnson, Ed Yarnall and Todd Noel. Claimed Jose Canseco on waivers. Gave $120 million to Jason Giambi. Ignored George Steinbrenner’s desire to sign future Red Sox ALCS MVP David Ortiz. Hired Jeff Weaver. Landed Kevin Brown and Javier Vazquez instead of future Red Sox two-time champ Curt Schilling. Made setup-man mistakes on the likes of Steve Karsay and Kyle Farnsworth. Brought in Johnson too late in the game. Plucked Carl Pavano from the Marlins instead of future Red Sox ALCS MVP Josh Beckett.

    No, it’s not a terrible track record. And nobody will ever argue with the hours Cashman pours into his job.

    But the Yankees have never handed out medals for trying. In the context of budget and payroll, Cashman might have a bigger advantage over his peers than any general manager in the history of American team sports.

    He hasn’t done enough with that advantage. For all the multimillion-dollar errors he’s allowed to absorb, errors that never could be committed by rival executives, Cashman has failed to live up to his own mission statement.

    O’Connor updates a list that I started a year ago. Related, just last week, I heard Mad Dog Russo (on WFAN Radio, 660 AM, in NYC) make this statement on Brian Cashman: “He’s wasted more money on pitching than any other G.M. in the history of the game.”

    That one stayed with me – because, I think he may be correct. What do you think? Would you agree with Russo’s statement, or not?

    Comments on You Can’t Spell Cashman Without “C, A, S, H”

    1. Mike
      October 31st, 2007 | 8:52 am

      Not really the fairest article by Mr. O’Connor. The Yanks did not have the prospects to TRADE for Josh Beckett. He did not “hire” Weaver, he traded for him. Also, it has been said many times but Pavano took less money to come to the Yankees and he was the best pitcher on the market that year.

      Sure all of Ca$hman’s moves haven’t worked out. And yes, he has spent A LOT of money on pitching, but he has been hampered by a poor farm system that has limited his ability to make trades. Finally, he had to deal with meddling ownership like no other GM in the sport.

    2. Andrew
      October 31st, 2007 | 8:59 am

      “Bad Cash: Dealt future Red Sox World Series MVP Mike Lowell for Mark Johnson, Ed Yarnall and Todd Noel.”

      Mike Lowell was an okay prospect with no hint of the future he would have.

      “Claimed Jose Canseco on waivers.”

      Oh no! They could have won the 2000 World Series…BETTER if it weren’t for Canseco!

      “Gave $120 million to Jason Giambi.”

      Without whom the Yankees don’t get to the World Series in 2003, and don’t make the playoffs in 2005.

      “Ignored George Steinbrenner’s desire to sign future Red Sox ALCS MVP David Ortiz.”

      Steinbrenner had a strong desire to sign Ortiz when he was released by the Twins? That’s news to me.

      “Hired Jeff Weaver.”

      I agree, bad move, *in retrospect*.

      “Landed Kevin Brown and Javier Vazquez instead of future Red Sox two-time champ Curt Schilling.”

      Right, because Javier Vazquez wasn’t a young, budding ace who had just put up 3 excellent seasons in a row, and Curt Schilling wasn’t an old, expensive 37-year old who was coming off a season where he only pitched 160+ innings.

      “Made setup-man mistakes on the likes of Steve Karsay and Kyle Farnsworth.”

      Farnsworth was not a good decision, obviously. But Steve Karsay? He was never, ever, the ‘next’ setup man for the Yankees. Cashman made a good decision on Tom Gordon, did he not?

      “Brought in Johnson too late in the game.”

      He *tried* to bring in Johnson in the middle of 2004, then traded for him after one of his better seasons. The man had defied age for a while.

      “Plucked Carl Pavano from the Marlins instead of future Red Sox ALCS MVP Josh Beckett.”

      Man, this is the worst example of the bunch. Josh Beckett cost what looks to be one of the best young players in the game. Carl Pavano was a free agent.

      This article, like so many that you cite to try and antagonize Cashman, is really awful.

    3. jonm
      October 31st, 2007 | 9:03 am

      Mike’s right. You and O’Connor have to look at the facts. What alternative pitchers were available? Let’s go back to the post-season of 2003 with a few lines from the New York Times archives:

      The free-agent market for starters is thin after Pettitte, with Kevin Millwood, Greg Maddux, Bartolo Colón and Sidney Ponson leading the list. Montreal’s Javier Vazquez and Arizona’s Curt Schilling could be on the trade market.

      They should have gone after Schilling, right? But what did the Diamondbacks want FROM THE YANKEES for Schilling. Let’s see, from the NYT archives:

      The Diamondbacks have asked for second baseman Alfonso Soriano and first baseman Nick Johnson for Schilling and second baseman Junior Spivey.

      Compare that to what they took from the Red Sox for him. Why were the Diamondbacks being so tough on the Yankees? Remember Steinbrenner’s break up of the handshake agreement between Colangelo and Wells after the 2001 season. This stance was the revenge.

    4. butchie22
      October 31st, 2007 | 10:46 am

      The Brown trade was done in a haste to cover up the Petitte disaster.Remember that bull about Petitte wanting to go home,who really bought that codswallop?BTW,I remember rumblings that the Schill wanted to come to the Yankees.With Kevin Brown,no WS wins.With Schill,curse is reversed and two world series wins.The Vazquez trade to Arizona is emblematic of another Yankee fallacy,impatience.Beckett’s ERA was over 5 in his first year at Boston and Theo got heat for re-signing him.The result?Second World series in 3 years.Oh BTW,Pavano was a free agent that everyone wanted and Beckett/Lowell did cost them but once again look at the benefit.Lowell(former Yankee) is MVP of the World Series and Beckett has become the uberace of the 2007 season AND post season.Trust me,the Hanley Ramirez trade was brilliant because the Bosox gave up something for something and the result was another World Series.Guess what……..are they there without Lowell(who during the season carried the team) or Beckett who rescued then from 3-1 oblivion to the tribe?Last six years ,Theo has two world series rings and Cashman has none.Yankee Empire can criticize the Drew ,Lugo,Drew,Crisp ,Beckett ,Lowell signings/trades all they want.They won,so all the criticism is mute!Once again,don’t fear that Arod’s production is gone(another brilliant move by ALL parties involved and it will impact the Yankees negatively production wise but positively clubhouse wise) and Girardi’s tenure will begin.Cashman’s Girardi move is great though,tantamount to Francona coming to the New Evil Empire. Tito was brought to rectify Little’s mistake,Girardi is coming on board to rectify Torre’s MISTAKES!The Girardi move is proof positive that Cashman is not an inmate running the asylum.He’s made mistakes,but the youth movement and the Girardi signing make the future brighter.And poor Ted Lilly,what was wrong with him?They traded him for Weaver who was an absolute flop and instead of signing Lilly they go for Igawa!Advice to the Yankees,Don’t trade pitchers that can pitch in NY like Lilly and get pitchers who can’t in return.The moral of that story:don’t trade Wang!

    5. Zack
      October 31st, 2007 | 10:52 am

      Yeah, that list is mostly bullhonkey. While I do agree with the overall point that Cashman hasn’t been perfect of course O’Connor, like most journalists these days, does the ol’ selective reporting, as already pointed out:
      -Arizona basically GAVE Schill to Boston when you look at the two deals they demanded
      -Javy was a good trade, as was the Weaver trades–Both young aces in the making
      -The Brown trade wasn’t a bad one, as it got rid of Weaver and he was coming off a good year
      -The Giambi signing was bad how exactly?
      -At the time Ortiz was a FA, he wasn’t that good and the Yankees had no place for him, thats just ridiculous after-the-fact analysis. The Red Sox also missed out on, oh I don’t know, Mike Mussina.
      -The Beckett thing is also absurd, a) they aren’t 1 to 1 correlations, and b) everyone else wanted Pavano too. Sure, it was a bad signing in retrospect, but it had nothing to do with Beckett.

    6. tpxDMD
      October 31st, 2007 | 11:33 am

      Jeff Weaver was a 25 year old with 3 full years of major league experience when Cash brought him in. Would I rather have Lilly or Bonderman (the other two pitchers in the trade), yes. But Lilly had next to no experience and Bonderman was 19. This was a move that didn’t appear at all to be bad, and only turned out bad because Weaver never developed.

      Javier Vazquez was 26 when he was aquired, coming off an excellent year. He was expected to develop into an ace. He fell off a cliff in New York. In 2007 he posted an ERA+ 127, which is in line with his Montreal stats.

      Thanks to what was reported as Jerry Colangelo hatred for the Boss, the D-backs asked for Alfonso Soriano and Nick Johnson. Soriano is obviously an All-Star, at times MVP quality player, and Johnson has been an extremely productive hitter and an excellent defender, when he’s healthy (natch). Ultimately, the Diamondbacks agreed to trade him to the Red Sox in exchange for Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon, Jorge De La Rosa, and Michael Gross (the father from Family Ties???). Those are not equitable asking prices. The D-backs were advertising their desire to trim payroll, and they still put the Yanks to the coals to get Schilling. If they made that trade, the Yanks would never have had A-rod.

      Beckett was acquired for the player that was the second best hitter in baseball after A-rod in 2007. Ignoring Sanchez entirely (he was the Sox top right handed pitching prospect, and second best picthing prospect after Lester), the Yankees could not have matched the trade without selling every major part of their system. The Red Sox may have enjoyed the fruits of Beckett this year, but they paid a hefty price for that ring.

      Cash hasn’t been flawless by any means, his bullpen construction has been suspect. In retrospect his record is much worse than it should be when viewed objectively.

    7. Sky
      October 31st, 2007 | 11:39 am

      Any argument that excuses a bad signing because it was the best player available is missing the bigger point. Why was there such a huge hole in the first place? Why hadn’t talent been developed from within? Why hadn’t better, cheaper options been signed in previous years? Why not pass on the big ticket mistake and sign a bunch of riskier players, knowing that one or two are bound to work out?

      That being said, I’ve always been hesitant to give Cashman credit or blame for anything that’s happened over the past 10 years. We just don’t know how much influence he’s had compared to George. It could see Cashman’s role as anywhere from 30% to 90% on the big moves. In 2007, we saw the biggest influx of young talent in a long time, which is the result of a few years of work — perhaps coinciding with when George’s health started to go.

    8. JohnnyC
      October 31st, 2007 | 11:45 am

      Steve, Cashman’s not perfect. Far from it. But, in the euphoria of the Red Sox’s 2nd championship in 4 years, let’s retain some equanimity in evaluating the work he’s done, vis-a-vis Theo or any other GM. The odds are still better than even that the Red Sox don’t even make the playoffs next season while they’re also better than even that the Yankees go deep into the post-season. We all agree that hiring Girardi is a great first step (something which was long overdue, at least since 2004)and, unless your name is Gammons, I’d rather have the Yankees’ farm system than Boston’s, especially in pitching depth. Don’t be surprised if 2008 turns out to be sweet revenge indeed.

    9. Raf
      October 31st, 2007 | 1:06 pm

      Regarding Ortiz, the Yanks had Giambi @ 1b, and Nick Johnson @ DH. No place to play Ortiz.

      As for Lowell, signing Brosius effectively blocked Lowell from doing anything with the Yanks.

      Kevin Brown was a slop-swap, salary dump with the Dodgers.

      Canseco was a waiver claim/block. I think the Yanks were surprised when the Rays traded him to them.

    10. jonm
      October 31st, 2007 | 1:26 pm

      As for Lowell, signing Brosius effectively blocked Lowell from doing anything with the Yanks.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      That’s right; re-signing Brosius was the mistake. It was a sentimental decision coming off his career year in 1998.

      And getting Yarnall back for Lowell was considered a coup for the Yankees. Yarnall, at the time, almost had a Phil Hughes-type minor league reputation.

      I would love to know the inside story of what happened to Yarnall. He was a young promising pitcher who didn’t make it, didn’t have any injuries, and wasn’t really given a chance.

    11. jakes
      October 31st, 2007 | 1:36 pm

      Clemens under good? That’s comical. 18 million and useless in the post season.

      “The Red Sox may have enjoyed the fruits of Beckett this year, but they paid a hefty price for that ring.”

      The dumbest comment I’ve read in a long time. The object is to get rings. It may be hefty, but if it gets you a ring you do it again.

      Look at it this way. The sox won the world series with lugo at short. He played well in the series, but sucked most of the year. Now picture the sox without beckett. Probably no playoffs, definitely no ring.

      Don’t get beckett, no world series. That’s not a high price, it’s the right price.

    12. jonm
      October 31st, 2007 | 2:00 pm

      Clemens under good? That’s comical. 18 million and useless in the post season.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      jakes,
      Time for a game of “history can be fun!” Roger Clemens was a Yankee before 2007! He was acquired in a deal made by Brian Cashman in February 1999! He was very good for the Yankees and stayed with the team until 2003!
      If you are interested in learning more about baseball history or baseball in general, I would highly recommend baseball-reference.com.

    13. Pete
      October 31st, 2007 | 2:25 pm

      >> That’s right; re-signing Brosius was the mistake. It was a sentimental decision coming off his career year in 1998. >>

      Game 5, 2001 WS – you really think so?

    14. Andrew
      October 31st, 2007 | 2:39 pm

      Yarnall was not that great of a pitching prospect. He has nothing on the Ian Kennedys, Joba Chamberlains, and Phil Hughes’ of the prospect world.

    15. Don
      October 31st, 2007 | 2:42 pm

      Giambi, a player I never wanted here, was 100% Steinbrenner. And, as usual, George wound up bidding against himself and paid much more than he had to, plus the number of years.

      One more year to go! One more year of Giambi and goodbye!

    16. MJ
      October 31st, 2007 | 2:44 pm

      Game 5, 2001 WS – you really think so?
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      You’re going to point to one game to make your case? I suppose the Yanks shouldn’t have gone after A-Rod because of Aaron Boone’s homer in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS?

      Plus, if you’re going to use hindsight, fast foward a few days later and you’ll recall that the Yanks lost that WS anyway. Much ado about nothing.

    17. Don
      October 31st, 2007 | 2:53 pm

      The biggest mistakes were allowing both Schilling and RJ to find their way to Arizona.

      When the Phillies were shopping Schilling, the Yankees showed no interest.

      When in-his-prime RJ was a FA, the Yankees showed no interest. So natuarlly RJ went ‘home’ to Arizona, but had the Yankees blown him away with an offer, my how things would have been different. Probabaly two more WS Championships. That was the single worst mistake of all during the Ca$hman era. Not getting RJ at that time.

    18. jonm
      October 31st, 2007 | 3:09 pm

      Yarnall was not that great of a pitching prospect. He has nothing on the Ian Kennedys, Joba Chamberlains, and Phil Hughes’ of the prospect world.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Andrew,
      That is simply wrong. Do I have to get out my old Baseball Prospectus books to prove you wrong? Do I have to tell you that he was the second key player whom the Mets traded for Mike Piazza when Piazza was in his prime? I remember Baseball America raves. I remember Rob Neyer’s fury that the Yankees had pulled off this deal.

      Where’s your evidence?

    19. jonm
      October 31st, 2007 | 3:14 pm

      Here’s a nice comment from January 2000 from the Baseball Prospectus archives:

      25. Ed Yarnall, LHP, Florida (BBA: NR, Sickels: B)

      What we said last year: “The big prize acquired from the Mets for Mike Piazza, Yarnall could be the Marlins’ ace by the end of the year. He struggled to control his breaking ball when he got moved to Triple-A, and would probably be best suited with another three months in Charlotte…if the Marlins bring him along gently he could be the #1 starter they rebuild their staff around.”

      What he did in 1999: Well, for starters, he went from the worst team in baseball to the best, along with Todd Noel and Mark Johnson, in a peculiar trade for Mike Lowell. The Yankees could afford the luxury of letting him spend a full year at Triple-A, and it proved to be best for both Yarnall and the team. Yarnall went 13-4 with a 3.47 ERA and 146 strikeouts in 145 innings for Columbus, then made a couple of spot starts and long-relief appearances with the big club, allowing a 3.71 ERA in 17 innings. The Yankees have responded by trading away Hideki Irabu and all but handing Yarnall the fifth starter’s job.

      Take-home lesson: Number one, Brian Cashman completely ripped off Dave Dombrowski, which is a very, very bad sign for the rest of baseball. Number two, this is how good organizations operate: they bring their best pitching prospects (especially starters) along slowly, let them pitch a full year in Triple-A, and give them some low-pressure work in long relief or a meaningless September start before throwing them into the rotation. Yarnall is more likely to contribute as a rookie than any starting pitcher in recent memory: he’s the #5 starter for the defending World Champions, he’s a left-handed pitcher working in Yankee Stadium, he has a year and a half of Triple-A experience under his belt, and he’s simply a tremendous pitching prospect. If ever there was a rookie pitcher worth drafting on a Rotisserie team, this is him.

    20. October 31st, 2007 | 10:51 pm

      i agree with most of the people here that this is a very selective group of actions, and not really indicative of Cashman’s tenure.

      you can do the same (or worse) for every GM in the game. no one’s perfect by any measure.

      the most glaring things are that he didn’t get Ortiz. 1. there was a great 1b/DH named Giambi already on the team, 2. Ortiz wasn’t even close to the hitter Giambi was then. He was basically a nice #5 hitter. all of a sudden (ahem) he became a perennial MVP candidate.

      and the thing about Beckett vs. Pavano. first off, one was a FA, the other was a trade. And the trade was great for Florida. the best hitting SS in MLB! and a 22-year-old pitcher that threw a no-hitter his rookie year! Mike Lowell was a throw in Boston didnt even want. sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

      instead of looking at just postseason success (which is largely a crapshoot), how about the regular season? Since Cash took over, the Yanks have had the best record in the AL in 06, 04, 03, 02, 99, & 98. That’s 6 out of his 10 years. quite good.

    21. tpxDMD
      November 2nd, 2007 | 12:16 am

      Despite this being a dead threat at this point, I would like to point out that I didn’t say that the Red Sox were necessarily wrong for paying a hefty price for a ring, but they did trade away a man who, at age 23, playing a high skill defensive position, was the best hitter in the National League. After Beckett’s 2007, I doubt anyone would say that it was a bad move.

      Put it this way, if the yanks traded Jeter before the 95 season, and kept Fernandez or Velarde, but managed to get a pitcher that helped them beat the mariners, the indians and the braves, would you look at that trade today, with Jetes playing somewhere else with his career and say “That World Series in 95 was worth it”?

    22. McMillan
      October 26th, 2013 | 7:01 pm

      Travis G. wrote:

      instead of looking at just postseason success… how about the regular season? Since Cash took over, the Yanks have had the best record in the AL in 06, 04, 03, 02, 99, & 98. That’s 6 out of his 10 years. quite good.

      Oh My God – This poor guy Steve Lombardi has been has been reading this kind of nonsense all of these years? God bless him.

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