When the New York Yankees missed the playoffs in 2008 for the first time in 14 seasons, everyone anticipated changes to be made in the Bronx. Although the team had the highest payroll in the league, the 2008 Yankees lacked the chemistry and camaraderie that all championship teams seem to have. High paid players like Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu had played well during their time in pinstripes, but were never able to take the team to the next level. What ensued in the offseason was a $423.5 million spending spree aimed at bringing winning back to New York immediately. General manager Brian Cashman may not spend as much money this offseason, but he has the same goal in mind.
In the 2008 offseason, Cashman signed free agent stars Mark Teixeira ($180 million, eight years), C.C. Sabathia ($161 million, seven years) and A.J. Burnett ($82.5 million, five years) to huge contracts knowing that another disappointing season would not be tolerated in New York. To Cashman’s benefit, the Yankees excelled in 2009 and went on to win the World Series, possibly saving the GM’s job in the process. What is unfolding before our eyes this offseason is eerily similar to the series of events that took place in 2008.
Because of the disappointing 2013 season, Cashman understands what is at stake in 2014. Despite having the highest payroll in the league once again in 2013, his team failed to make the playoffs and seemed to be on the decline. Another rough season in 2014 could cost the GM his job. Hence the $300 million spending spree the Yankees have gone on so far this winter.
The Yankees first brought in catcher Brian McCann ($85 million, five years) to fill the obvious void left by the retirement of Jorge Posada a few seasons ago. Cashman then went on to sign center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury ($153 million, seven years) and veteran Carlos Beltran ($45 million, three years). Also signed by the Yankees this offseason were infielders Kelly Johnson ($3 million, one year) and Brian Roberts ($2 million, one year). Add these newly signed players to the stars already on the roster and it is safe to say that Cashman and the rest of the Yankees’ front office expects this team to compete for a championship in 2014.
Losing is not acceptable in the Bronx. The days of George Steinbrenner ruling with an iron fist may be over, but the Yankees’ culture is still one that promotes success. As the Yankees’ general manager, Brian Cashman has been given all the tools necessary to create a winning team. He was able to rebuild after the 2008 season, and it is now time for him to do it once again in preparation for 2014. Cashman is often criticized about the job he does, but this is the time when he shows just what kind of GM he truly is.