• The Lin Garrett Story

    Posted by on February 6th, 2008 · Comments (8)

    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.

    Comments on The Lin Garrett Story

    1. baileywalk
      February 7th, 2008 | 12:41 am

      Over the last three years, the Yankees have had basically an open checkbook to pay every tough sign they could get their hands on. They weren’t doing that previously. The budget for scouting has also risen. It’s simply a different minor-league system with more resources, scouts and money. So it’s hard to say X didn’t do this and signed no one while Y did all this and signed these guys. Yeah, the Yankees made odd choices during that time and they did have some awful drafts (no question), but it doesn’t take a genius scout to sign Austin Jackson, Betances and Suttle, et al., late and give them first- or second-round money.

      I’m not defending Lin Garrett, because I know nothing about him, and I’m not taking away from Damon Oppenheimer, whom I like a lot and think is very talented. I’m just saying that the Yankees’ minor-league philosophy changed dramatically from top to bottom.

    2. Rich
      February 7th, 2008 | 1:58 am

      I’m just saying that the Yankees’ minor-league philosophy changed dramatically from top to bottom.
      __

      I know you know this, but just to reiterate for emphasis, it’s disputable that Brian Cashman’s ascension to power is the reason why.

    3. Basura
      February 7th, 2008 | 5:20 am

      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.

      ————————-

      And yet you do.

    4. Raf
      February 7th, 2008 | 9:59 am

      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
      ————————–
      Don’t think that has necessarily been the case; about those $200m payrolls…

      top 10 salaries 2007
      Jason Giambi $ 23,428,571
      Alex Rodriguez $ 22,708,525
      Derek Jeter $ 21,600,000
      Andy Pettitte $ 16,000,000
      Bobby Abreu $ 15,000,000
      Johnny Damon $ 13,000,000
      Hideki Matsui $ 13,000,000
      Jorge Posada $ 12,000,000
      Mike Mussina $ 11,070,423
      Mariano Rivera $ 10,500,000

      2006
      Alex Rodriguez $ 21,680,727
      Derek Jeter $ 20,600,000
      Jason Giambi $ 20,428,571
      Mike Mussina $ 19,000,000
      Randy Johnson $ 15,661,427
      Johnny Damon $ 13,000,000
      Hideki Matsui $ 13,000,000
      Jorge Posada $ 12,000,000
      Gary Sheffield $ 10,756,171
      Mariano Rivera $ 10,500,000

      2005
      Alex Rodriguez $ 26,000,000
      Derek Jeter $ 19,600,000
      Mike Mussina $ 19,000,000
      Randy Johnson $ 16,000,000
      Kevin Brown $ 15,714,286
      Jason Giambi $ 13,428,571
      Gary Sheffield $ 13,000,000
      Bernie Williams $ 12,357,143
      Jorge Posada $ 11,000,000
      Mariano Rivera $ 10,500,000

      2004
      Alex Rodriguez $ 22,000,000
      Derek Jeter $ 18,600,000
      Mike Mussina $ 16,000,000
      Kevin Brown $ 15,714,286
      Gary Sheffield $ 13,000,000
      Jason Giambi $ 12,428,571
      Bernie Williams $ 12,357,143
      Mariano Rivera $ 10,890,000
      Jorge Posada $ 9,000,000
      Javier Vazquez $ 9,000,000

      2003
      Derek Jeter $ 15,600,000
      Raul Mondesi $ 13,000,000
      Bernie Williams $ 12,357,143
      Mike Mussina $ 12,000,000
      Andy Pettitte $ 11,500,000
      Jason Giambi $ 11,428,571
      Mariano Rivera $ 10,500,000
      Roger Clemens $ 10,100,000
      Jorge Posada $ 8,000,000
      Sterling Hitchcock $ 6,000,000

      2002
      Derek Jeter $ 14,600,000
      Bernie Williams $ 12,357,143
      Raul Mondesi $ 11,000,000
      Mike Mussina $ 11,000,000
      Jason Giambi $ 10,428,571
      Roger Clemens $ 10,300,000
      Andy Pettitte $ 9,500,000
      Mariano Rivera $ 9,450,000
      Robin Ventura $ 8,500,000
      Jorge Posada $ 7,000,000

      They had young, cheap talent, they opted to trade it away for whatever reason; Mike Lowell, Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera, Wily Mo Pena, among others could have been ready to step in.

      The Yanks have let other teams set the market, and have paid their players accordingly. Having said that, they’ve assumed contracts of others, like Kevin Brown, Raul Mondesi and Bobby Abreu.

    5. Sonny M
      February 7th, 2008 | 12:41 pm

      I don’t want to throw Lin Garret under a bus with so many unknown variables and unanswered questions.

      We do not know what parameters Garret operated under, how much actual say he had, what restrictions there were, if there was a philosophy that he had to utilize or even how the scouting at the bottom end was.

      Having a job title and being in the wrong place at the wrong time, may (or may not) be proof of incompetance but its hard to be certain.

      That said, he is probably getting some kind of paycheck, knowing how the yankees have operated for years, they have a serious paranoid fear of their people leaving the organization and dishing the dirt on what they know or exposing “where the bodies are buried”.

      Its why the Yanks have so many lifers they won’t let go of, lest they go to the red sox, tell them everything they know for a paycheck (strenghts, weaknesses, etc) before calling it a day.

    6. Raf
      February 7th, 2008 | 1:06 pm

      That said, he is probably getting some kind of paycheck, knowing how the yankees have operated for years, they have a serious paranoid fear of their people leaving the organization and dishing the dirt on what they know or exposing “where the bodies are buried”.
      =================
      Wouldn’t a confidentiality agreement take care of that?

    7. Sonny M
      February 7th, 2008 | 2:40 pm

      Wouldn’t a confidentiality agreement take care of that?

      ===========================

      Not really, Its baseball and like any business, folks often break’em (if they think they won’t get caught or ratted out).

      Those agreements are often hard to enforce since its hard to prove it was broken.

      Its why Billy Connors still has a job.

    8. Nettles vs. Lee
      February 7th, 2008 | 5:15 pm

      Man, those draft picks are just horrible. Not just unlucky, but absolutely dreadful. Regardless of the parameters that Garret was working under, those picks stink by any measure.

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