From Bill Madden today:
The problem is, [the Yankees Brian] Cashman has been handicapped by the incompetence of the Tampa-based scouting department. If you want to know why the Red Sox are suddenly the team talking dynasty, you need to look no further than the amateur drafts since 2002, where their superior scouts have cleaned the Yankees’ clocks.
In 2002, the Yankees lost their first two draft picks as compensation for signing Jason Giambi and Steve Karsay and consequently didn’t draft until 71st when they took Brandon Weeden, a high school pitcher from Santa Fe, N.M., to whom they gave a $565,000 bonus before releasing him a couple of years later. The Red Sox took Lester at No. 57 that year.
In 2004, the Yankees had four picks in the first 50 and took Hughes at No. 23, a high school catcher named Jon Poterson at 37, and pitchers Jeffrey Marquez and Brett Smith at 41 and 42.
Poterson, who turned out to be a hopeless hitter, got a $965,000 bonus and was released two years later. Marquez, who was one of the young pitchers Minnesota had targeted along with Hughes in the Santana talks last winter, is struggling mightily (6.16 ERA) at Triple-A while Smith showed little promise in three years in A-ball and is on the disabled list at Double-A Trenton.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox, who lost their first two picks in ’04 for their signing of closer Keith Foulke, took Dustin Pedroia out of Arizona State with the 65th pick.
But if anything, it was the 2005 draft, in which the Red Sox had four picks in the first 50, all of them after the Yankees’ first pick, that really tipped the scales in the rivalry. In short, it was an absolute disaster for the Yankees, who took Oklahoma City high school shortstop C.J. Henry at No. 17. The Red Sox followed by taking Jacoby Ellsbury at 23, St. John’s closer Craig Hansen at 26, Buchholz at 42 and Stanford shortstop Jed Lowrie at 45.
From December 1995 through July 2004, Lin Garrett was the Yankees director of scouting. It’s been Damon Oppenheimer since Garrett.
I’ve already gone on record as to how 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).
Brian Cashman’s greatest gift to the Yankees may have been getting Garrett out of town. Why it took the Yankees so long to figure this out…well, it’s anyone’s guess.