• Bros. Stein Don’t Trust Cashman Plan, Ordered For Soriano Signing

    Posted by on January 15th, 2011 · Comments (33)

    Via Bill Madden and the boys –

    The Yankees made a hairpin turn when they decided Thursday to sign All-Star closer Rafael Soriano to become a set-up man and perhaps their closer-in-waiting.

    Less than a week earlier, GM Brian Cashman had said he wouldn’t give up the first-round draft pick required to ink Soriano. But Hal and Hank Steinbrenner didn’t agree with his game plan – according to a source familiar with the Yankees’ thinking – and overruled him, giving the righthander a deal that could ultimately go to three years and pay him $35 million.

    The overwhelming concern among the Yankee brass, the source said, was that the club was going into the season with an uncertain starting rotation and little protection for closer Mariano Rivera. The move leaves the team without the draft pick Cashman coveted, but with one of the best bullpens in baseball.

    According to the source, the Steinbrenners were bothered by Cashman’s blueprint. One of the big issues was that Joba Chamberlain, a prized prospect yet to reach an expected high ceiling, was going to be Rivera’s primary set-up man.

    Cashman had maintained his confidence in homegrown relievers Chamberlain and David Robertson, but Bombers’ braintrust did not. If nothing else, they saw Soriano, coming off a career best 45-save season with a 1.73 ERA, as a premium insurance policy they couldn’t pass up.

    The Yankees did not add free agent ace lefty Cliff Lee and may yet lose lefty Andy Pettitte, who is undecided on whether to play in 2011. The Steinbrenners deemed the draft pick that Cashman so highly valued – the 31st overall in next June’s draft – a small price to pay considering the state of the staff going into the season.

    Considering Cashman’s track record with making decisions regarding pitching, can you really blame the Steinbrenners for panicking here? And, while the Soriano deal is probably a mistake, this is great news for Cashman – because now the teflon G.M. won’t have this one pinned to him when it fails. But, it’s also great news for those who are not fans of Cashman – because it shows that ownership doesn’t think enough of his baseball acumen to build a team. The bigger question may be which great news is the greater great news.

    Comments on Bros. Stein Don’t Trust Cashman Plan, Ordered For Soriano Signing

    1. Evan3457
      January 15th, 2011 | 11:15 am

      This is actually awful news.

      If they don’t trust Cashman with personnel decisions, they should fire him, and hire someone they do trust. If not, they should let him do his job.

      Owner meddling is how you wind up with the Yankees, 1989-1992, the Orioles 2000-2007, and the Astros 2006-now.

    2. January 15th, 2011 | 11:17 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      If they don’t trust Cashman with personnel decisions, they should fire him, and hire someone they do trust.

      From your lips to god’s ear…amen.

    3. Evan3457
      January 15th, 2011 | 11:19 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      If they don’t trust Cashman with personnel decisions, they should fire him, and hire someone they do trust.
      From your lips to god’s ear…amen.

      How did I know that that line was the only line in what I said that would earn your approval? :)

    4. LMJ229
      January 15th, 2011 | 11:28 am

      Owner meddling is never a good thing. I’d add the Cowboys and the Redskins to that list, just as further examples.

    5. LMJ229
      January 15th, 2011 | 11:34 am

      Jon Heyman of SI just published the most overpaid and underpaid players of the off-season. I can’t believe Soriano’s contract did not make his list. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/jon_heyman/01/14/overpaid.underpaid/index.html?eref=sircrc

    6. Evan3457
      January 15th, 2011 | 11:35 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      Owner meddling is never a good thing. I’d add the Cowboys and the Redskins to that list, just as further examples.

      And the Knicks for the last decade, until they brought in Walsh.

    7. Raf
      January 15th, 2011 | 12:50 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Owner meddling is how you wind up with the Yankees, 1989-1992

      Stein was meddling way before ’89

    8. Raf
      January 15th, 2011 | 12:55 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      But, it’s also great news for those who are not fans of Cashman – because it shows that ownership doesn’t think enough of his baseball acumen to build a team.

      No, not really. This isn’t the first time an owner overstepped his boundaries, nor will it be the last. Owners have shown time and`again that they know very little about baseball.

      This isn’t much different than rebuilding Yankees signing Tartabull and Gallego to appease MSG.

      This will probably turn out better than Rudi vs Jackson, though.

    9. Raf
      January 15th, 2011 | 1:00 pm

      FWIW, while the arrangement may not have been optimal, the Yankees functioned fine with the NY & Tampa factions, so if there is another split, I don’t think it will not have that much of an`adverse impact.

    10. Evan3457
      January 15th, 2011 | 1:01 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      Owner meddling is how you wind up with the Yankees, 1989-1992
      Stein was meddling way before ’89

      Correct; it usually takes many years of meddling before it all falls apart.

      I don’t really think the game of manager-go-round and GM-go-round throughout the 80′s really helped them win anything.

    11. Raf
      January 15th, 2011 | 1:09 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      I don’t really think the game of manager-go-round and GM-go-round throughout the 80′s really helped them win anything.

      I think collusion hurt more.

    12. GDH
      January 15th, 2011 | 2:04 pm

      All due respect – the calamity of this move is overblown.

      We now have a decent trading chip in #62, an excellent bullpen, and are maybe one starter away from a decent rotation, and a returning ALCS squad, many of whom underperformed last year and are due for a rebound. I’m not disagreeing with the fact that this was a stupid deal, but as stupid deals and owner meddling go, this does not compare with the Yankees of twenty years ago.

      Whatever you think about Cashman, his survival in the GM role has very likely limited the amount of meddling over his tenure and if he were to vanish, it’s likely that meddling would increase, not decrease, which would be bad news for the organization.

    13. ken
      January 15th, 2011 | 2:45 pm

      I have one reason to support Soriano that I have not read anywhere else:

      If you look at Mo’s work late last season, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. He looked shakier to me than he ever has as Yank. Though I forget details, he gave up some long balls which even if they were caught were very un-Mo-like. He also did not have the pin point control that he has in the past. But he still got the Ump’s calls that all pitchers like him get (see: G. Maddux).

      The point is that Soriano is an insurance policy as a closer as much as a setup man.

    14. GDH
      January 15th, 2011 | 3:06 pm

      @ ken:
      I agree about the insurance policy side to this signing. If/when Mo needs time off, or in case of injury, there’s no one ready for that role. At least Soriano is ready for that role. And at 41 you have to consider these possibilities.

    15. Evan3457
      January 15th, 2011 | 4:11 pm

      ken wrote:

      I have one reason to support Soriano that I have not read anywhere else:
      If you look at Mo’s work late last season, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. He looked shakier to me than he ever has as Yank. Though I forget details, he gave up some long balls which even if they were caught were very un-Mo-like. He also did not have the pin point control that he has in the past. But he still got the Ump’s calls that all pitchers like him get (see: G. Maddux).
      The point is that Soriano is an insurance policy as a closer as much as a setup man.

      Mo was very iffy in the 2nd half, last year.

      However, there was a cheaper alternative.

    16. KPOcala
      January 15th, 2011 | 8:34 pm

      I think that a few other angles should be looked at here. Giving the Yankees a probable “lock-down” bullpen has psychological benefits that ripple through the staff as well as the offensive side of the game. Also note that Soriano having a high K ration keeps the ball away from the left side of the infield. Maybe that K in the play-offs keeps the winning run from scoring as opposed to the ball that dribles up the middle.

      That being said there’s this “thing” in the blogosphere that has people, IMHO, over-using metrics when talking about a deal. I’m am definitely not an anti-numerical analysis old schooler. When I hear people complaing about “resource allocation” issues I don’t believe that all the “facts” are in front of them. Do sportwriters have the Yankee/Yes business statement in front of them? How many are aware that players are depreciated on IRS forms? Right now, in Jan., how many people/companies, on the bubble, bought season tickets with the thought that Cashman & Co. will have time to put together a top staff? I don’t know all the Club’s rationale on what they do, I only enjoy watching it come together, and if not why. Remember, ownership uses actuaries, but they’re not in the insurance business. They are in the entertainment business, and it’s useful to understand the difference. Hey guys it’s very early, this isn’t Pittsburgh, we’ve got Montero coming up, life as a Yankee fan is GOOD!!!

    17. KPOcala
      January 15th, 2011 | 9:40 pm

      @ ken:
      I agree, the ball was squared-up way more than I’ve ever seen before. I don’t have the numbers, but I’d bet that hitters had longer at bats as well. The Yankees made the move that they had to.

    18. Evan3457
      January 15th, 2011 | 11:11 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      I think that a few other angles should be looked at here. Giving the Yankees a probable “lock-down” bullpen has psychological benefits that ripple through the staff as well as the offensive side of the game. Also note that Soriano having a high K ration keeps the ball away from the left side of the infield. Maybe that K in the play-offs keeps the winning run from scoring as opposed to the ball that dribles up the middle.

      Soriano doesn’t really have a high K rate for a closer; at least, he didn’t last year for Tampa. He does have a high flyball and pop-up rate, and THAT will keep Jeter and A-Rod from having to field too many balls while he’s in the game.

    19. KPOcala
      January 15th, 2011 | 11:39 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      Evan, Soriano struck out 8.2/9, w/ a 4/1 K/BB, with a WHIP of .80. Not Broxton, but not too shabby….Actually,give me Soriano over Broxton…

    20. Evan3457
      January 15th, 2011 | 11:48 pm

      Of the 20 closers who had at least 25 saves last year, only Bailey, Capps, Cordero, and Mariano had a lower K rate. His K rate really was ordinary for a closer last year.

    21. January 16th, 2011 | 12:47 am

      @ Evan3457:

      Evan, what cheaper alternative? Give it a name.

    22. January 16th, 2011 | 12:54 am

      I hammered on this last weekend, Mo is 41 years old, that’s a problem, and it could be a big problem. Injury, less effective, these are things that are a real possibilities. The team now has insurance. It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. In the meantime they have a powerful one two punch for the 8th and 9th.

    23. Evan3457
      January 16th, 2011 | 3:07 am

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      @ Evan3457:
      Evan, what cheaper alternative? Give it a name.

      I have said repeatedly: Jon Rauch.

    24. Raf
      January 16th, 2011 | 10:27 am

      KPOcala wrote:

      I think that a few other angles should be looked at here. Giving the Yankees a probable “lock-down” bullpen has psychological benefits that ripple through the staff as well as the offensive side of the game.

      Not as much as you’d like to believe. Name some teams with “lock down bullpens” and how they were able to sustain success.

    25. Raf
      January 16th, 2011 | 11:19 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      I have said repeatedly: Jon Rauch.

      I suppose he isn’t a “name” player, which may explain why he wasn’t signed over Soriano.

    26. Ryan81
      January 16th, 2011 | 11:30 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      This is actually awful news.
      If they don’t trust Cashman with personnel decisions, they should fire him, and hire someone they do trust. If not, they should let him do his job.
      Owner meddling is how you wind up with the Yankees, 1989-1992, the Orioles 2000-2007, and the Astros 2006-now.

      This.

      This Cashman situation is starting to look a lot like Torre in 2007 as they seem to be laying the seeds of not renewing his contract after this season, and lame-duck managing never works out well (especially in New York). On top of that, Cashman is already in the prone position as every team knows he is beyond desperate for pitching and will surely ask for more from the Yankees. Heck, the biggest name to come up is Felix Hernandez, and we all know what Seattle did to us last year…

      However, the Steinbrenners’ idea to leak this information is baffling to me. I can see why they took this route to publicly undermine Torre (and to an extent the hard-line stance they took with Jeter) as they have to convince a very fickle fan base their intentions are the right ones. But I don’t think Cash would warrant that much of an outcry if he were outed. And if he did use the whole “I’m going to Washington/Seattle/[insert crappy small market team he turns into leverage] and just watch how much of a genius I am when I build those teams from the ground up,” the Bros. Stein would let him walk if they really thought he wasn’t worth it (which they apparently are starting to believe). We’ve all been hearing about how great Cashman is at politicking in the Yankees organization, and he’ll certainly face his greatest challenge yet after this season.

    27. Corey Italiano
      January 16th, 2011 | 11:55 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      If they don’t trust Cashman with personnel decisions, they should fire him, and hire someone they do trust.

      From your lips to god’s ear…amen.

      So you would trust the people who signed Soriano, to the contract that you admittedly don’t like, to pick another GM? Meanwhile the GM you hate would have made the same decision as you? How does that make sense?

    28. Raf
      January 16th, 2011 | 11:56 am

      Ryan81 wrote:

      However, the Steinbrenners’ idea to leak this information is baffling to me.

      How so, if they’ve done it before?

    29. Corey Italiano
      January 16th, 2011 | 12:01 pm

      ken wrote:

      If you look at Mo’s work late last season, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

      I’m not sure who you were watching, but I thought Mo turned in one of his finest years. Everyone is quick to remember how the season ended, (7.36 ERA on 9 H and 2BB over his last 7.1 IP, 8 G) and forget how amazing his year was up until that (1.03 ERA on 30 H and 9BB over 52.2 IP, 53 G).

      To me, he showed that he has the ability to adapt. This year he started throwing far more 2 seamers than I have ever seen him throw. And, just like his cutter, its NASTY.

    30. Corey Italiano
      January 16th, 2011 | 12:08 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      I agree, the ball was squared-up way more than I’ve ever seen before. I don’t have the numbers, but I’d bet that hitters had longer at bats as well. The Yankees made the move that they had to.

      Year
      Age
      Tm
      Lg
      PA
      Pit
      Pit/PA
      Str
      Str%
      L/Str
      S/Str
      F/Str
      I/Str
      AS/Str
      I/Bll
      AS/Pit
      Con
      1st%
      30%
      30c
      30s
      02%
      02c
      02s
      02h
      L/SO
      3pK
      4pW
      PAu
      Pitu
      Stru

      1995
      25
      NYY
      AL
      301
      1238
      4.11
      764
      62%
      24%
      14%
      34%
      29%
      76%
      0%
      47%
      82%
      53%
      7%
      20
      13
      20%
      59
      27
      2
      25%
      4
      7
      0
      0
      0

      1996
      26
      NYY
      AL
      330
      1433
      4.34
      973
      68%
      19%
      23%
      38%
      20%
      81%
      3%
      55%
      72%
      63%
      4%
      12
      6
      42%
      140
      80
      7
      26%
      15
      3
      95
      0
      0

      1997
      27
      NYY
      AL
      301
      1212
      4.03
      811
      67%
      19%
      18%
      36%
      26%
      81%
      5%
      54%
      77%
      57%
      4%
      12
      4
      27%
      80
      48
      5
      25%
      8
      4
      0
      0
      0

      1998
      28
      NYY
      AL
      246
      910
      3.70
      614
      67%
      22%
      16%
      31%
      31%
      78%
      1%
      53%
      80%
      60%
      3%
      8
      5
      22%
      55
      32
      2
      17%
      5
      3
      0
      0
      0

      1999
      29
      NYY
      AL
      268
      992
      3.70
      680
      69%
      21%
      18%
      32%
      29%
      79%
      4%
      54%
      77%
      60%
      4%
      11
      4
      32%
      86
      63
      3
      19%
      10
      4
      0
      0
      0

      2000
      30
      NYY
      AL
      311
      1182
      3.80
      790
      67%
      22%
      17%
      32%
      29%
      78%
      3%
      52%
      78%
      63%
      6%
      20
      10
      29%
      91
      62
      4
      28%
      14
      7
      0
      0
      0

      2001
      31
      NYY
      AL
      310
      1160
      3.74
      836
      72%
      23%
      18%
      34%
      26%
      77%
      2%
      55%
      77%
      62%
      2%
      6
      2
      37%
      116
      89
      5
      33%
      25
      2
      0
      0
      0

      2002
      32
      NYY
      AL
      187
      724
      3.87
      495
      68%
      23%
      16%
      35%
      27%
      77%
      3%
      53%
      80%
      63%
      4%
      8
      4
      41%
      76
      51
      5
      34%
      8
      2
      0
      0
      0

      2003
      33
      NYY
      AL
      277
      998
      3.60
      689
      69%
      26%
      17%
      28%
      29%
      74%
      1%
      51%
      77%
      61%
      3%
      7
      4
      23%
      63
      44
      5
      24%
      16
      1
      0
      0
      0

      2004
      34
      NYY
      AL
      316
      1141
      3.61
      781
      68%
      27%
      14%
      30%
      29%
      73%
      3%
      50%
      80%
      64%
      4%
      13
      5
      33%
      103
      68
      8
      35%
      16
      5
      0
      0
      0

      2005
      35
      NYY
      AL
      306
      1184
      3.87
      776
      66%
      27%
      15%
      32%
      26%
      73%
      0%
      48%
      79%
      61%
      3%
      9
      8
      26%
      80
      44
      2
      25%
      17
      1
      0
      0
      0

      2006
      36
      NYY
      AL
      293
      1101
      3.76
      757
      69%
      23%
      14%
      33%
      29%
      77%
      4%
      53%
      81%
      62%
      4%
      12
      6
      27%
      79
      41
      5
      36%
      6
      2
      0
      0
      0

      2007
      37
      NYY
      AL
      295
      1126
      3.82
      785
      70%
      25%
      18%
      31%
      26%
      75%
      2%
      52%
      75%
      61%
      3%
      9
      4
      31%
      91
      52
      2
      23%
      16
      3
      0
      0
      1

      2008
      38
      NYY
      AL
      259
      977
      3.77
      675
      69%
      27%
      19%
      29%
      26%
      73%
      0%
      50%
      75%
      63%
      2%
      5
      2
      31%
      81
      53
      4
      43%
      18
      3
      0
      0
      0

      2009
      39
      NYY
      AL
      257
      1028
      4.00
      688
      67%
      30%
      12%
      33%
      25%
      70%
      1%
      47%
      82%
      62%
      2%
      6
      2
      28%
      73
      37
      4
      43%
      11
      3
      0
      0
      0

      2010
      40
      NYY
      AL
      230
      928
      4.03
      611
      66%
      25%
      14%
      34%
      28%
      75%
      4%
      50%
      81%
      58%
      5%
      12
      9
      26%
      59
      31
      1
      33%
      3
      0
      0
      0
      0

      16 Seasons
      4487
      17334
      3.86
      11725
      68%
      24%
      17%
      33%
      27%
      76%
      2%
      52%
      78%
      61%
      4%
      170
      88
      30%
      1332
      822
      64
      30%
      192
      50
      95
      0
      1

      MLB Averages

      3.75

      62%
      27%
      15%
      27%
      31%
      73%
      2%
      45%
      80%
      58%
      5%

      21%

      27%

      Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original TableGenerated 1/16/2011.

      3.86 career vs. 4.03 isn’t much of a difference.

    31. Corey Italiano
      January 16th, 2011 | 12:09 pm

      Sorry guys…once again baseball-reference’s share tool doesn’t work lol, I shoulda peered at the code myself before posting…

      basically Mo threw 3.86 P/PA in his career and 4.03 P/PA in 2010.

    32. Ryan81
      January 16th, 2011 | 12:15 pm

      @ Raf:
      Leaking this story only makes the situation worse for Cashman to do his job. A.) he already is feeling an immense amount of pressure to win with a team that probably can’t win right now and limited options to improve because every team in the market will be asking for the moon and stars from the Yankees. B.) If you want to fire him, I think they should stop with the politics and can him. To most fans, GMs are replaceable, where as star players and big name coaches are not as much. The “Yankee brand” doesn’t rely on Cashman’s image as much as it did Jeter or Torre, so why trash the guy in public? What do they have to gain?

    33. Raf
      January 16th, 2011 | 12:38 pm

      @ Ryan81:
      What do they have to gain trashing anyone in public? Jeter was trashed, and they still signed him to a dumb contract.

      I see no reason to panic, problems will be addressed when they can. Making moves for the sake of making moves is counterproductive, no matter who the GM is. When was the last time the Yankees were ripped off in a “desperation trade?”

      It’s as everyone forgot how well the team did last year despite extended sucktitude from Vazquez and Burnett.

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