Via Bill Madden today -
There’s an old saying in baseball – “you can’t scout desire” – and most general managers will tell you the same applies to “makeup.” And when you’re the GM of the Yankees, you have to add yet another uncertainty to those intangibles and that is the “New York factor.”
Such was Brian Cashman’s double challenge when he went about trying to restructure a Yankee team that had finished out of the playoff money for the first time in 15 years. Even though he had the financial flexibility to secure most any free agent he wanted, he knew he couldn’t afford to make another mistake on the intangibles. He couldn’t afford another Carl Pavano. Heck, he couldn’t even afford another Jason Giambi.
Cashman knew he had to bring in players who were not just talented but who could also make the quick adjustment to New York and also change the clubhouse chemistry. In that respect, I have to believe even Cashman could never have envisioned the grand slam he’s hit with CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher – especially since there were questions about each of them being able to handle the fishbowl existence of being a Yankee.
Between Sabathia’s and Burnett’s influence with the pitchers, Teixeira’s subtle leadership and Swisher’s clubhouse effervescence, Cashman wound up going 4-for-4 in the makeup and chemistry department. Undoubtedly, if the Yankees go all the way this year, there are those critics who will scoff that Cashman bought himself a World Series. In fact, they already are doing so, as evidenced by Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi’s bitter assessment of the AL East the other day in which he said, “The Yankees could take their payroll to $300 million if they want to.”
Yeah, but look what $200 million bought them last year. Cashman took his deserved share of criticism for that, as well as for the Pavano, Kei Igawa and Kyle Farnsworth signings in recent years. Which just goes to show it’s not how much money you spend. It’s how you spend it.
Yes, let’s build a statue of Brian Cashman for the job he’s done this season – bringing in Sabathia, Burnett, Teixeira and Swisher – because that’s the reason why the Yankees are playing so well this season…and let’s place the statue in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium…
Yeah, let’s forget why Brian Cashman had to go out and spend a half-billion dollars to acquire Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira…
Let’s forget that it was Cashman’s failure to develop any talent to place in his starting rotation and first base…and that he didn’t have the chips and/or smarts to trade for players to fill a need…like when Gene Michael and Bob Watson traded for David Cone and Tino Martinez…that brought cause for the need to dip into the Steinbrenner Brothers change purse for a cool half-billion bucks…
Giving credit to Brian Cashman for bringing in Sabathia, Burnett, Teixeira and Swisher this season is like giving Harry Truman credit for establishing the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission…after he dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The only good thing Cashman has done in the last 12 months is take out the Steinbrenner Family Checkbook and spend more money than any other team in baseball was capable of spending in one off-season…to acquire the best talent on the free agent market…and plug the holes on his team that were the result of his own inability to produce or acquire quality players (outside of spending hundreds of millions to get it done).
They don’t really build statues for spending money, do they?