• Does Cash Know Pitching?

    Posted by on December 8th, 2013 · Comments (15)

    This morning, by chance, I was looking back at something which I wrote about seven years ago. Here it is:

    Cashman became Yankees G.M. on February 28, 1998. The Yankees won the World Series in 1998, 1999, and 2000 – because of their pitching. The good pitchers on those 1998-2000 teams were Mariano Rivera, Orlando Hernandez, Roger Clemens, Ramiro Mendoza, Jeff Nelson, David Wells, Andy Pettitte, Graeme Lloyd and David Cone.

    Of that strong pitching group, Cashman inherited most of them – I think his only moves were to pick up Clemens and El Duque.

    What does this all say about Brian Cashman’s track record in terms of being able to build a very good pitching staff?

    I know that many will be quick to say things here like “It seemed like the right move, at the time, to get Vazquez” and “The whole world was chasing Pavano – and he took less money to come here” and “Who could have predicted that Johnson would get old so fast?” and “The Red Sox wanted Contreras just as bad,” etc.

    But, isn’t it Brian Cashman’s job to be smarter than the average bear when it comes to acquiring talent? Or, is it just O.K. for him to follow the path of conventional wisdom when it comes to acquiring pitching and then if it doesn’t work out it’s just a matter of shrugging your shoulders at the results and saying “It seemed like a good idea at the time”?

    Regardless of whether or not you agreed with what I wrote back on January 6th, 2007 (quoted above), what do you think of Brian Cashman’s ability to put together a championship caliber pitching staff over the last seven years?

    Comments on Does Cash Know Pitching?

    1. Evan3457
      December 8th, 2013 | 2:08 pm

      Well, they did win one championship in that time.

    2. December 8th, 2013 | 3:02 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Well, they did win one championship in that time.

      Please, that was thanks to the Steinbrenner Family checkbook and A-Rod PED doctor from Canada.

    3. Kamieniecki
      December 8th, 2013 | 7:50 pm

      In 1998, Hernandez was picked up within weeks of Cashman being named the second-youngest G.M. in M.L.B. history, and was a signing George Steinbrenner directed.

      In 1998, Cashman declined a trade proposal for Randy Johnson, that would have sent only Hideki Irabu and Mike Lowell to Seattle.

      In 1999, Cashman accepted a trade proposal from Toronto G.M. Gord Ash for Clemens, that sent David Wells to Toronto. The trade worked out better for the Blue Jays in the first two years afterwards, before Wells was injured in 2001 and Clemens’ use of PEDs and HGH brought him an A.L. Cy Young Award in the same year.

      In 1999, Cashman traded Lowell to Florida for three young pitchers (Yarnall, Johnson, and Noel), none of whom were successful at the Major League level; Lowell would become a four-time All-Star and Gold Glove-winning 3rd baseman, and World Series M.V.P.

      In 2000, Cashman signed one of the best starting pitchers to become available on the free agent market, Mike Mussina, to an $88.5 million contract.

      In 2002, Cashman traded Ted Lilly for Jeff Weaver…

      2004: Kevin Brown.

      2005: Randy Johnson.

      2005: Carl Pavano.

      2006: Kei Igawa, one of the worst contracts in the history of M.L.B. – $46 million for a pitcher without the skills to pitch at the Major League level.

      2007: Tyler Clippard traded for Jonathan Albaladejo.

      2007: Roger Clemens.

      2008: Sidney Ponson.

      2009: Cashman signed one of the best starting pitchers to become available on the free agent market, C.C. Sabathia, to an $161 million contract.

      2009: A.J. Burnett.

      2010: Javier Vazquez.

      2010: Chan Ho Park.

      2012: Hiroki Huroda signed to one-year contract.

      2012: Michael Pineda ["I asked him several times through an interpreter if he had ever been in an MRI tube at Seattle," Cashman said. "Each time, the answer was the same... 'Nunca...' Our fans are right to be upset about this," Cashman said. "I'm devastated by it. I just hope everyone understands that every move I make is to improve this club, not hurt it"]. In other words, Cashman did mean well.

      2013: Hiroki Huroda signed to one-year contract.

      2013: A $230 million team without the starting pitching to compete in the postseason.

      2014: Hiroki Huroda signed to one-year contract.

      2014: A team with the second-highest payroll in M.L.B. and without the pitching to compete in the postseason.

    4. McMillan
      December 8th, 2013 | 8:51 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Well, they did win one championship in that time.

      And one league championship.
      How many world championships have Boston and San Francisco won since 2007, with 60% of Cash’s payroll? Four.

      @ Kamieniecki:
      You still left alot out, but we understand that some people have to work tomorrow…

    5. Sweet Lou
      December 8th, 2013 | 10:06 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Well, they did win one championship in that time.

      When will another C.C. become available on the free agent market for CASHman to sign for less than $200 million?

    6. Evan3457
      December 9th, 2013 | 12:21 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      Well, they did win one championship in that time.
      Please, that was thanks to the Steinbrenner Family checkbook and A-Rod PED doctor from Canada.

      The team won the championship.

    7. Evan3457
      December 9th, 2013 | 12:36 am

      McMillan wrote:

      2014: A team with the second-highest payroll in M.L.B. and without the pitching to compete in the postseason.

      Off-season’s not over yet.

    8. Evan3457
      December 9th, 2013 | 12:37 am

      Sweet Lou wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      Well, they did win one championship in that time.
      When will another C.C. become available on the free agent market for CASHman to sign for less than $200 million?

      Doesn’t have to be for less than $200 million. Salary restrictions come off after 2014, unless baseball can push the rumored draconian Basic Agreement past the Players Association.

    9. December 9th, 2013 | 11:53 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      The team won the championship.

      The team benefited greatly from A-Rod PED fueled post-season heroics.

    10. MJ Recanati
      December 9th, 2013 | 6:11 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      The team benefited greatly from A-Rod PED fueled post-season heroics.

      True of every team to win a World Series title since the mid-90′s, and likely going back to the 1970′s. BFD.

    11. December 9th, 2013 | 6:25 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      Yup. The 2002 Angels come to mind, no question, in my mind.

    12. Evan3457
      December 9th, 2013 | 7:36 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      The team won the championship.
      The team benefited greatly from A-Rod PED fueled post-season heroics.

      That seems likely true, looking back on it now. However, the pitching still had to do its part.

    13. Kamieniecki
      December 9th, 2013 | 7:38 pm

      McMillan wrote:

      @ Kamieniecki:
      You still left alot out, but we understand that some people have to work tomorrow…


      In 2004, Cashman allowed Pettitte to test the free-agent market without a contract offer, and to eventually sign with Houston, although Pettitte wanted to return to New York…

      In 2006, Cashman traded Sheffield to Detroit for three young pitchers (Sacnhez, Claggett, and Whelan), none of whom were successful at the Major League level; Sheffield was signed to a two-year, $28 million contract extension, and was on his was to an M.V.P.-caliber season in 2007 before suffering a career-ending injury to his right shoulder in Jul., 2007.

      2009: Sergio Mitre

      Evan3457 wrote:

      The team won the championship.

      A championship. One “championship-caliber” pitching staff (after an expenditure of $243.5 million in 2008-09) in ten years with the highest payrolls in baseball each year – I think that’s the point.

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Off-season’s not over yet.

      As far as the pitching staff is concerned, it is. Even with the signing of a Tanaka, this team will not have a “championship-caliber” staff in 2014.

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      True of every team to win a World Series title since the mid-90′s, and likely going back to the 1970′s. BFD.

      Right. It’s so obvious looking at file footage and the bodies of players from the 1970s and 1980s that guys were all on juice. There were Downings and Parrishes everywhere you looked. And the 1976-78 Yankees? They were all on juice too, of course. Aaron lost his record? BFD. Maris lost his record? BFD.

    14. Kamieniecki
      December 9th, 2013 | 7:47 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      That seems likely true, looking back on it now. However, the pitching still had to do its part.

      That’s right.

      In fact, since 1995, only 16.25% of all postseason series played have been won by teams with starting pitching outperformed by opposing starters for the series, or what you would expect from a game this is more than 50% pitching. Did the Yankees give a ring to Burnett’s psychologist for getting him through the postseason? They should have…

    15. McMillan
      December 9th, 2013 | 9:02 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      McMillan wrote:
      2014: A team with the second-highest payroll in M.L.B. and without the pitching to compete in the postseason.
      Off-season’s not over yet.

      @ Evan3457:
      I didn’t write that, but it’s true nonetheless: how is Brian “Our Pitching Is Our Strength” Cashman going to put together a “championship caliber” pitching staff, with Cito Culver and Brett Gardner as his only trade chips?

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