In terms of Lin Garrett’s contribution to the Yankees (during his time of employment with the team), I was once willing to give him a thumbs-up for his work as Yankees international scouting director – which is a position that he held from 2005 through 2006. After all, under his watch, the Yankees signed prospects like Hairo Heredia and Jesus Montero. Plus, Garrett was the Yankees scouting director when the team drafted Phil Hughes in 2004.
But, now, having done some deeper research, I have to say that Lin Garrett truly hurt the Yankees while he was in their front office.
Garrett was the Yankees Scouting Director from (at least) December 1995 through July 2004. During that time, these were the Yankees first round picks in the draft: Eric Milton; Tyrell Godwin and Ryan Bradley; Andy Brown and Mark Prior (who did not sign); David Walling; David Parrish; John-Ford Griffin, Bronson Sardinha and Jon Skaggs; Eric Duncan; Phil Hughes, Jonathan Poterson, and Jeffrey Marquez.
Of all those picks, only Milton, Hughes and Marquez have worked out well for the Yankees. Here are some of the players that Garrett passed on, and could have drafted, from 1996 through 2004: Jake Westbrook and Gil Meche; Randy Wolf; Aaron Rowand and Adam Dunn; Brian Roberts and Carl Crawford; Adam Wainwright and Dustin McGowan; David Wright and Danny Haren; Carlos Quentin, Jarrod Saltalamacchi and Adam Jones; Huston Street and Yovani Gallardo.
Granted, without question, it’s not fair to play Monday-morning Quarterback here, using the benefit of hindsight, and say that Lin Garrett should have drafted Crawford, Wainwright, Wright, Saltalamacchi, or Gallardo…because many other teams passed on them as well.
But, Garrett’s second round picks were brutal during his drafts as well: Jason Coble; Jason Henry; Randy Keisler; Gary Winrow; Danny Borrell; Shelley Duncan and Jason Arnold; Brandon Weeden; Estee Harris; and Brett Smith.
Basically, in the nine years that Lin Garrett was the Yankees Scouting Director, his best draft picks were: Eric Milton, Nick Johnson, Brad Halsey, Tyler Clippard and Phil Hughes. Really, that’s about it – in nine years.
After the 2004 draft, Garrett was reassigned – and he became the Yankees International Scouting Director. This lasted until August of 2006, when Brian Cashman told him that his contract, which was up at year-end, would not be renewed.
When Garrett was moved out of his Scouting Director role, Damon Oppenheimer took over for the Yankees – and, in a three year period, he drafted prospects like Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Allan Horne, Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, George Kontos, Dellin Betances, Daniel McCutchen, Andrew Brackman, Justin Snyder, Austin Romine, Bradley Suttle, and Carmen Angelini (among others).
In any event, now, it’s pretty clear to me that Lin Garrett clogged up, if not destroyed, the Yankees talent pipeline that was manned pretty well by personnel such as Brian Sabean and Bill Livesey (the Scouting Directors before Garrett) – as well as Gene Michael and Bob Watson (the G.M.’s before Cashman). And, it wasn’t until Lin Garrett was “reassigned” that the pipeline began to flow again.
Of course, you have to also wonder about those in charge of Lin Garrett from 1995 to 2004. During part of the time that Garrett was Scouting Director, from 2000 to 2004, Mark Newman had a strong hand in the Baseball Operations area for the Yankees. Ditto Gordon Blakeley, from 2003 to 2004. Newman and Blakeley were Senior Vice-Presidents and Garrett was a Vice-President. And, let’s not forget that the buck stopped, at least it should have, with Brian Cashman (from 1998 through 2004) when Garrett was Scouting Director.
But, this was all, mostly, in Yankeeland prior to the church service for Otto Graham (back in December 2003). One cannot assume, back then, that a person had some say over someone else – just because of an org-chart.
If I had to guess, I would say it took the decline of Big Stein and the rise of Brian Cashman to make Garrett go away. And, perhaps, getting rid of Lin Garrett just may be the single greatest contribution of Brian Cashman (to the Yankees franchise) in his time as G.M. for the team.
Then again, if Cashman had come from a scouting background, instead of the intern-white-collar route, perhaps he would not have had the need to strongly rely on, and defer to, Lin Garrett as much (on things like the draft)? That’s possible too.
So, where is Lin Garrett now? He was not listed in the Yankees 2007 Media Guide. However, one source told me that “it’s possible he was just demoted and is still collecting a check.” Hey, in Yankeeland, anything is possible.
If my google-skills are any good, it appears that Lin Garrett was a pitcher on the Florida State University baseball team back in 1968. At the youngest, that would have made him ages 49 to 57 when he was the Yankees Scouting Director and about age 60 when Cashman gave him a pink slip. Therefore, guessing (again), I would suggest that Garrett is now “retired” somewhere.
I wish I could tell you how Lin Garrett rose to power in the Yankees organization, and what his background was prior to joining the Yankees, and who in the Yankees front office was the force behind allowing him to go on, so poorly, for so long. But, I cannot find anything that provides those details.
What I could find shows how, for nine years, while the Yankees were winning four rings and six pennants on the field, Lin Garrett was laying the groundwork, behind the scenes, to lay waste to their farm system.
And, if anyone wants to wonder why the Yankees have a $200 million payroll, perhaps Lin Garrett is the reason why – as the lack of young and cheap talent to retool the Yankees, from 2002 to 2005 is a direct result of the Yankees’ terrible drafts from 1996 through 2003.
It’s great that Brian Cashman eventually got Garrett out of town. It’s too bad that it didn’t happen four or five years earlier. But, again, for all we know, it could have been “The Boss” who was keeping Cashman’s hands tied on this one.
Someday, it would nice to know the whole “Lin Garrett Story.” This one has a lot of fingerprints on it. If Brian Cashman ever writes a book, covering his Yankees experiences, he could probably spend a chapter on Garrett.