Brian Cashman’s Weaknesses

I’m sure there will be plenty of articles written today about how their trade proposal was ignored, but no, this isn’t a rant about how I could do a better job than Cashman. This is a post about a man that’s headed one of the most powerful dynasties in sports history, one that’s brought New York to the postseason 14 out of 15 times, one about a general manager who’s been as close to perfect as we’ve seen anyone get.

When you look back at how far this organization has come since 1998, it’s easy to give Cashman credit, and most of that is well-deserved. Given a core group of Hall of Fame-caliber players, a budget beyond anything seen before, and through the power of embracing early sabermetrics, the expectations of World Series or bust were realistic. Sure, money, stats, and Derek Jeter‘s are all nice to have, but what truly polarized Cashman from the previous two decades of Yankee baseball were his continuous visions for the future.

Yankee fans are no longer used to a depleted farm system. Cashman has preached patience, and the results have been prolonged homegrown talent, and  players like Nick Swisher falling right into his lap.

So when the Yankees had a number of glaring holes this offseason, Cashman refused to overpay, he preached patience. He built a roster of players that he identified as undervalued, mostly aging players, nothing close to what he lost in Swisher, Rafael Soriano, or Russell Martin. Fans were unhappy with the lineup, and after a number of predictable set backs and injuries to his younger group, Cashman could do little other than take on Vernon Wells. Fans, still unhappy, were told that patience would lead them to someone else.

Only, at the trade deadline yesterday, Cashman yet again couldn’t find anyone to his liking. As we all sat around waiting for the messiah, Cashman was busy being patient. That’s not to say he didn’t try. Reports say that he made hard pushes for Carlos Ruiz and Michael Young, but the Phillies refused to sell.

“It wasn’t a deep market at all, is one (reason for not making a deal),” Cashman said. “Two, what I was offering, obviously wasn’t good enough for the opposing teams. What the teams were suggesting to me, wasn’t good enough from my perspective.”

Just a week ago, I wrote an article about how Cashman shouldn’t have any excuses for the remainder of the year. He knows the injury situation, he’s familiar with the standings, and he’s promised the fans a better product since last December. But somehow, the GM is still using excuses for this team on August 1st. While I understand that no one is perfect, and the Yankees are bound to miss the playoffs once in a while, my complaint is with him passing the buck.

Patience didn’t work this time, and all this waiting put a clear stamp of desperation on the Yankees. Opposing teams asked for the world when Cashman called them up, and it’s easy to see why he didn’t want to be exploited. But who’s fault is it? Cashman has been blaming a thin market for his poor lineup since last year, and in the process he’s passed up on a half dozen upgrades to Chris Stewart and Jayson Nix.

No, this isn’t a rant about how I could do a better job than Cashman, but I do think he’s showed his weaknesses by refusing to take responsibility for the lineup he’s built. Whether it’s injuries or a shallow market or Arod going rogue, Cashman has an abundance of excuses ready to go at any point.

In the end, we’ve reached August 1st, and the Yankees are still waiting for their injured players to return. But don’t worry fans, the organization could still find that piece in August, just be patient.