The Yankee Front Office Situation

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In recent days, fans and columnists have been speculating about Brian Cashman’s future with the organization because of some of the comments he’s recently made and the way he’s very publicly distanced himself from the Soriano signing. Some see this as a form of disloyalty, this sentiment is especially common among those who supported the Soriano deal. Some of these folks conveniently forget the comments he made just a week prior to the signing, which had to be addressed. Further, Brian aired his dissent publicly at the Soriano press conference, right in front of his bosses. Despite this, Hal Steinbrenner was interviewed by Joel Sherman and quoted saying he has no problem with Brian whatsoever:

“[Cashman] and I have a great working relationship.  There is no problem, right now. I think we have had a bunch of drummed-up drama.”


“I keep reading about dissension and discord. We are a well-functioning company. The bosses have a decision to make. Sometimes people don’t agree with those decisions. So I told him, ‘You are always honest with the media, be honest now. Tell them what you have to tell them.’ I was already onto the next decision. I told him, ‘You and I are fine. Answer in any way you want.’”

Those aren’t the comments of someone who was just sandbagged at a major press conference. Brian made it known to his bosses he was going to go public with his position on Soriano, and they had no problem with it. But it seems pretty clear there are dissenting views in the Yankee hierarchy, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless too many chefs are cooking the roster. One move doesn’t mean Brian has been neutered. Looking at it long term, I think recent events will bolster his authority to make baseball decisions. Personally, I think Brian’s setting himself up to consolidate his power with the Yanks for the next few years and/or when he re-ups with the team on his next contract.

Think about it. We all know multi-year deals are a risky business when it comes to relievers. Brian has had much experience himself in this department, most of it (Karsay/Farnsworth/Quantrill/Marte) bad. By all accounts, Randy Levine is the one who pushed for the Yanks to sign Soriano all winter. Randy Levine is the one who’s sticking his neck out here, and his justification for signing Soriano was the Yanks had to ‘do something’. Which is what most people say before they do something really stupid. I think that’s why YES/Levine has been sensitive about criticism on the deal, because he knows he’s taking a risk here that could blow up in his face.

I think Brian is smart enough and experienced enough in this town to know if you get the Baseball right, everything else takes care of itself. Most of George Steinbrenner’s bad moves were ones made for business reasons, adding star power to sell tickets. That’s what led to some middling teams and very bad trades in the 80s, and the old, overpaid, under performing teams of the mid-2000s with zero roster flexibility or prospects to bring up/make trades with. I think Brian is making a calculated bet here, and odds are he’s going to be the one who the Steinbrenner brothers will be listening to if the Soriano deal doesn’t work out. I’m sure his stock was down after missing out on Lee and doing little else this off season, but if Cashman and Levine were both traded on the NYSE, I’d be buying Brian and selling Randy right now.

0 thoughts on “The Yankee Front Office Situation

  1. I don’t see what the problem is here. The main consideration is the money, and if ownership decides to (possibly) overpay, that’s their prerogative. If my boss asks me if we need a better copier and I tell him it’s too expensive, I’m not going to be all that upset if he goes out and gets it anyway.

    I don’t think Karsay and Quantrill should be included in the discussion. Girardi is not Torre.

    As far as the move itself, it is a lot more likely to help the Yankees than hurt in 2011.

    As far as ownership signing guys despite the baseball people, sometimes it works out pretty good (Reggie). And the baseball people don’t get every one right.

    • I don’t think Karsay and Quantrill should be included in the discussion. Girardi is not Torre.

      Good point, especially in the case of Quantrill. But Torre or no Torre, relievers are still a volatile bunch. No matter how well you handle them (or any pitchers for that matter) they still get hurt or have bad years. Good management only improves your odds a bit.

      • To be fair to Soriano though the only real risk (and it’s a pretty big one) is health because when he is healthy he has always proven to be a dependable pitcher who can pitch in the back end of any pen, I don’t see him just starting to suck, especially when you have Mo to befriend him and help him with any problems he may have on or off the bump.

        Farnsworth was never at the level Soriano has made it to both from last year and years past and his signing was based mostly on the fact that he could throw through a wall but he never had the best control or the tough as nails mentality needed to be a closer in this league or to take on a high leverage role with the Yankees as Sori has shown he has.

        There is a good amount of high risk in the Rafael deal for sure but if you are going to take the risk this is a guy who is worth doing it on, because if he has a great year like you hope then he takes a 1 year deal, gives you the production you wanted and walks off into the sunset while hopefully giving you draft picks in return.

        • Don’t be so sure there isn’t performance risk. His R/L splits are fairly pronounced, he’s a fly ball pitcher and YS3 is very lefty friendly.

          • I wonder if there is a pitch that is a designed weapon to help deal with the opposite hand when at bat, I also wonder if anyone on our own team only throws that pitch and has been doing so for close to 20 years now and if someone like that existed would he have a track record of helping other pitchers try and conquer said pitch. Hahaha

            Being serious though Sori does throw a cutter and as we saw with Kerry Wood last year and Hughes the season before Mo can definitely help other pitchers really master that pitch and make it a main weapon, if he can do the same for Rafael you could see his numbers vs Lefties improve as he would have a more effective cutter he could use more often to jam and saw off lefties looking to swing for the fences.

            Also I don’t consider a .689 OPS vs Lefties (.306 OBP .383 SLG) while allowing 7 HRs (little over 2 a year) over the last 3 seasons (253 ABs) that bad and last season (small sample size I know) he did even better than that with a .590 OPS vs Lefties (.263 OBP .327 SLG) while allowing 2 HRs in 107 ABs, the same amount of HRs he gave up to Righties in 114 ABs.

            This is also a guy who has a 3.23 FIP in 395 career innings pitched, at the same time he has collected a 3.6 WAR over the last 2 seasons (2.0 with Altlanta and 1.6 with Tampa) while only being a part time closer in one of those seasons, in comparison Mariano Rivera has posted a 3.8 WAR over the last 2 seasons as a full time closer.

            As the angry white man said in Remember the Titans “He ain’t some walk on scrub Yoast!”.