Sunday Links and Commentary

Sunday Morning

-Joel Sherman with a good read on Cashman’s history as Yankee GM. I’d suggest reading it all the way through, but he comes to the conclusion that Brian Cashman has been much better at making trades (particularly in-season deals) than he has at signing free agents. That’s true on the surface, but you also must consider the nature of free agency. Teams control players they draft for the first 6-7 years through arbitration and sometimes longer via extensions. If the average age of an MLB call up is someone in their early 20’s, then their first team will have them until about age 30. That’s not old in baseball terms, but the nature of the market is such that players like that, especially the elite ones the Yanks target, will get 6-10 year deals. Players most productive seasons are generally in their late 20s to early 30s, so when you play the FA market the most likely outcome is to get 2-3 good seasons out of a player and pay an exorbitant price for it. With revenue sharing and the new CBA things are only getting worse, with more teams spending insane amounts of money on players like Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols. Free agency is heavily skewed for the player and against the team, so criticizing Brian for failures in this area are unfair. The nature of free agency makes it very hard for any GM to look good on those deals. We tend to be Yankee-centric here in NY, but every GM that has dipped his toe in the free agent waters has been burned at times.

-Don Larsen is selling his perfect game jersey to fund his grandchildren’s college education. He should do pretty well on it, Yogi Berra’s uniform from that game went for 565K at a recent auction.

-The always thoughtful Joe Pos examines whether the last 3 outs are really the toughest in baseball (they’re not, the first 3 are) or if that’s just one of those things that gets repeated around the game without much thought or examination applied to it. Recent discussion of Dave Robertson inspired the piece. Personally, I thought D-Rob was ill suited for the Closer’s job but it had nothing to do with nerves, lack of guts or anything of that nature. Its who he is as a pitcher. He works low in the zone and his nasty swing and miss curve can wind up in the dirt, so having an umpire who doesn’t give him the low strike can make it very hard for him to do his job. He tends to make his own mess at times, his high walk rate can lead to bases loaded situations, where he then reaches the bottom of the order and strikes out the side. The Houdini act is one thing in the 7th or 8th, where you can pull the plug if needed. But as Closer, things can spin out of control.

Lou DiPietro of YES takes the opportunity of the Memorial Day weekend to examine which ex-Yankees may soon be memorialized with a retired number and/or monument someday. Monuments of course, are for deceased players, so let’s stick to retired numbers. He looks at Bernie Williams, Joe Torre, Paul O’Niell, Lou Pinella and Jorge Posada. Of those five, Torre and Bernie strike me as standouts. The Yanks have already stated they will retire Bernie’s number once he officially announces his retirement, and Torre’s 4 rings and win total are 2nd overall in franchise history.

What do you think? Which former Yankee would you enshrine with the other retired numbers and why?

4 thoughts on “Sunday Links and Commentary

  1. In general, I think there’s something of a cult of personality around Brian Cashman online. I think his record of evaluating pitchers, both trade and free agency, starting and relief, is mixed at best, and poor on a whole. (Its not like we didn’t have to spend almost three years pretending Kyle Farnsworth was any good.)

    I thought it was ludicrous to shred Randy Levine for Soriano and defend Cashman’s frankly, embarrassing behavior at the press conference introducing Soriano. Somewhere along the line Cashman’s history of terrible long term contracts for relievers (Farnsworth, Karsay, Marte, Igawa, Pedro Feliciano earlier that month!) was white washed because it didn’t fit the narrative as Brian Cashman crusading against the evil Tampa faction.

    • Cashman was boxed in at that press conference by his own remarks. If you recall, he had publicly stated that he was opposed to signing Soriano. He said he didn’t think it was smart to give up draft picks for relievers, particularly a set up man (most GMs agreed, which is why they changed the compensation rules in the last CBA). By having gone on the record a week before Soriano was signed, he couldn’t suddenly do an about face at the PC without looking foolish. He said he cleared it with his bosses beforehand, so while it appeared he was blindsiding them publicly, that wasn’t the case.

      On the pitchers, his role was muddled before 2005 since George and a cadre of rotating Tampa advisers had influence on many of those deals. Sherman started analyzing Cashman from 05-today, which I think is more fair. Pineda hasn’t worked out thus far, and neither did Vazquez (twice) Pavano, Wright, or for the most part AJ Burnett. But as I stated in the piece, buying players (especially pitchers) on the FA market is always risky business. You can look ay any GM and find similar deals.

      • by having gone on the record a week before Soriano was signed, he couldn’t suddenly do an about face at the PC without looking foolish

        Sure he could. The whole point of the ceremonial press conference is a rah rah thing to get people excited. There was zero reason to completely sandbag Soriano (who did absolutely nothing wrong) at his big introduction. In an effort not to look “foolish” he came off as a total ass. That wasn’t the time nor the place to protect the Brian Cashman brand.

        Of the other pitchers, the only one that was pre-05 was Karsay.