Could this be Brian Cashman‘s last offseason to get the New York Yankees back into the playoffs? Should it be?
I’ve long been a supporter of Cashman, noting his successes and track-records for the ability to lure the big free agent, as well as the unsung hero.
In 2005 the Yankees won 95 games and won the AL East, their 11th consecutive year making the playoffs. However they started that season 11-19, and ended up relying on some unlikely key players. Aaron Small came up from the minors to fill in for an injury-riddled rotation, and won ten games that season. Shawn Chacon was acquired by the Colorado Rockies. After going 1-7 with a 4.09 ERA, he finished 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA down the stretch for New York.
That’s just one small sample of a season in which the Yankees took care of business during the regular season, but not in their typical way, with their typical cast of characters.
Even in 2008, 2013 and 2014 — years the Yankees missed the playoffs — they still won 89, 85 and 84 games. They haven’t finished below third place in Cashman’s tenure. The Yankees have won seven pennants and four World Series championships with Cashman as Assistant GM and VP/General Manager. His teams have made the playoffs 15 of 18 seasons with him at the helm.
He does deserve a lot of credit, he also deserves some of the blame. Whether Cashman was wrong in giving large contracts to aging players, not addressing potential holes, or not making a trade here or there, he did make some mistakes. His stance not to trade Luis Severino and prospects for David Price or Cole Hamels was correct.
Greg Bird looks to be the long-term answer at first base; Severino looks to be a nice piece in the rotation. These are two who would have been gone for Hamels.
For all I know, Cashman’s job is not in jeopardy next season or the year after that. I’m not saying it should be. However it’s not the first time this conversation has come up among Yankees’ fans. You have to wonder what missing the playoffs or another early October exit might mean for Cash.
Billy Eppler is the new GM for the Los Angeles Angels, and was Cashman’s right-hand man since the 2011-12 season. If Cashman leaves, who would take his place? Someone from within or outside the organization? Would Cashman’s departure leave the Yankees in disarray?
These are the questions fans must ask themselves when they ask for Cashman to be fired. When you get used to winning championships, it’s tough to even consider a transition or missing the playoffs.
Cashman has largely been successful in guiding the Yankees to the playoffs every single year. Even when he didn’t, they were still in contention up to the end. Only a few teams in professional sports can sustain similar success.