A Random Appreciation of Brian Cashman
There’s no need to ever feel sorry for Brian Cashman. As general manager of the New York Yankees, he has arguably the best job in all of sports. It may have cost him his hairline, but at the end of the day, he’ll probably go down in baseball history as one of its greatest executives. Four World Series rings, six American League (AL) pennants, ten AL East titles, and 12 playoff appearances prove that. However, with an irrational fan base that borders on the insane, you take a whole hell of a lot of crap: some of it undeserved and some of it, well, hits the mark.
Every three years, the “will he or won’t he” ritual begins: will Cashman finally tire of the pressure to win a World Series every season? Will he want a new challenge in a media market that endows the team with riches, but much less scrutiny? In 2005, it was the Washington Nationals. In 2008, Philadelphia. This off-season it’ll probably be Chicago. Nevertheless, Yankee fans should be thankful. Witnesseth, the discussion about moving A.J. Burnett (and his $16.5M a year salary) to the bullpen:
“No, money is never going to be a factor,” Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com…
“We have six guys who can pitch in a pennant race, period,” Cashman said. “A.J. Burnett is having his typical terrible August. For whatever reason, he can’t pitch in August, I don’t know why. It is what it is. August is obviously not an effective month for him.”
Cashman added that Burnett “is not our No. 2 starter,” but hasn’t pitched poorly enough to be treated like “Oliver Perez.”
Tough, but fair. How many other GMs are willing to admit as much? We haven’t heard too much this season about the failures of John Lackey and Vernon Wells from their respective leadership. How about the much-ballyhooed argument that Cashman and his team overvalue Yankee prospects:
“We entered this season with the expectation that Nova could be a legitimate back-of-the-rotation starter in the American League East,” Cashman said. “Obviously, he is making much stronger steps than that, which is great.
Sounds like a legitimate summation to me. How about the starting rotation as a whole? How can Cashman admit this rag-tag unit was a great idea (despite the .62 winning percentage and 3.83 ERA)? Oh wait, he doesn’t:
“During spring training, I openly spoke about how I get an incomplete,” Cashman said.
“We certainly tried things and I was unable to get those answers. We entered spring training with a team with questions remaining.
“We’ve had clearly a number of real positive resolutions to those questions. I think in terms of the rotation, especially, it has been significantly better than expected. It is probably better than a lot of the rotations we have been running out there the last number of years. In a season that you entered with maybe more questions that you ever had in I don’t know how many years, we are approaching September with maybe a better rotation we have had in a number of years.”
Say what you want about the bloated payroll (if you gave Hank Steinbrenner truth serum, he’d probably admit he was the driving force behind the A-Rod deal), but the truth of the matter is simple: Brian Cashman gets it. A whole hell of a lot better than you think. Much like the waning days of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, Yankee fans ought to start appreciating the man (and his constitution) before he finally does decide to give his hairline a break.
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