Jan
06

Cashman: Yankee organization has a new power structure

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As a follow up on my post from Friday about the shifting organizational structure in the Yankees Front Office, Yanks GM Brian Cashman has confirmed what we’ve known for a while. The Steinbrenner brothers are taking a more active role in running the team, and Cashman’s autonomy, granted to him by George in 2005, is waning.

Speaking at a Boston fundraising on Saturday, Cashman gave the media some insight into his current role in the organization. MLB.com’s PeteAbe has the word from Cash:

“The dynamics are changing with us. When I signed up with this current three-year deal, and this is the last year of it, it was with full authority to run the entire program. George had given me that. But things have changed in this third year now with the emergence of Hal and Hank Steinbrenner and that started this winter,” he said, “I’m learning as I go along, too. But it is different. But one thing is that I’ve been with this family, the Steinbrenner family, for well over 20 years. So I’m focused fully on doing everything I possibly can to assist them in their emergence now as decision makers.”

Meanwhile, an article on MLB.com has a bit more from Cash and his relationship with the Steinbrenners. “Everybody has their own style,” Cashman said. “And Hank has obviously taken charge on behalf of his father, along with his brother, Hal. They have different styles. Hal is more quiet and Hank is very available, but my job is to continue to line up the structure of the organization that can find the amateur talent.”

On Friday, I wrote about how the new relationships affect the Santana deal. Today, we can extend that look to the entire organization. Right now, Hank talks a lot — maybe too much — and Hal is the quiet, behind-the-scenes guys. While Brian Cashman knows and understand that he doesn’t have the same unilateral power that he had during the waning days of George Steinbrenner‘s reign, he stills has a very influential position of power within the Yankee organization.

From his comments, it’s clear that he is the de facto leader of any sort of transitional organizational team in place ensuring that the Yankees continue down the solid path they’ve built up of developing young players and making smart free agent signings to fill in the holes. While George got away from that plan earlier this decade, the younger Steinbrenners are seemingly much more willing to let this plan unfold.

Sure, they may be in on Santana, but right now, Hank has listened to Cashman and Hal, the two anti-trade forces in the organization. Because of that, Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera are both still on the Yankees and slated for pinstripes in 2008. While some of Hank’s more outspoken critics may not like what Cashman is saying, the Yanks haven’t made any off-season mistakes yet this year, and I’m willing to believe that the Steinbrenners are letting Cashman do his job. He did say after all that his job is to “assist them in their emergence now as decision makers.”

Make as much of that as you will, but in the end, that’s the General Manager’s job. Every signing, every contract, every trade in baseball will always have the seal of the team’s owner’s approval. The Yankees — even with Cashman’s so-called autonomy — were no different the last few years, and they will be no different going forward. The difference instead lies in the mental health and acuity of the men at the top, and the younger Steinbrenners seem prepared to build up a fiscally strong and talented Yankee team with the help of a top-notch General Manager. I can’t argue with that one.

Categories : Front Office
  • Rich

    It has been reported that Hank overruled Cash by giving Posada and Rivera an extra year on their respective contracts, that Cash was opposed to taking A-Rod back under the terms of the contract he signed, and we have seen how Hank has continually undermined Cash’s negotiating position with regard to the Santana trade talks by disclosing each and every aspect of the deliberations, as well as how much he wants him.

    Hank has also said that he told Cashman that: “I’m going to make the final decisions because when you’re the owner you should,” thereby demonstrating that he fails to understand that successful owners allow the baseball people make the baseball decisions.

    Consequently, I think there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Hank is not “letting Cashman do his job.”

  • Count Zero

    I agree with Ben. I don’t think the Yankees have done anything wrong this offseason, no matter what the new pecking order is. Posada got one more year than was optimal, but he had us over a barrel and he knew it. Same with Mo. I can’t find any fault with resigning Alex no matter what the naysayers think — that RH bat would have cost too much talent to replace.

    Say what you will about Hank and his mouth, he hasn’t allowed it to screw up the Santana negotiations because we’ve done the right thing there too as far as I can tell. (i.e., we didn’t allow the Twinkies to hold our feet to the fire, and the door is still open a crack in case the right deal becomes available.)

    Would I like to have a better pen going into ’08? Sure. But I just don’t see that there was any reasonable way to do that given what was available. The only other weakness I see at present is the ongoing 1B dilemna. I would rather not see DJ playing SS (for defensive reasons), but we’re stuck with that one for the foreseeable future unless someone can convince him to try CF.

    I may feel differently by the time pitchers and catchers report (depending on what else goes down), but right now I have no solid reason to criticize the new power structure.

  • dre

    It its impossible to know how the Steinbrenners and their new found leadership will react in the future ; an therefore I am not certain about the projection of stability and continued success of this organization. It is just to soon to make this assumption!
    With the emergence of the Younger Steinbrenners it is clear that the previous role of Mr.Cashman has diminish. To what degree, we will see! Whether his new role is to be seen as a transition to a new business model or a continuation of the past, will partially be determined by the outcome of the Santana situation!
    That the Yankees have not made any questionable moves this present off season, can be seen as being at best cautious. The issue of middle relief , the age of position players and payroll tax still remain an issue. The situation is in flux and Mr. Cashman, like we all can only take a wait and see approach. The transition we might be viewing could just very well be, ironically speaking, Mr. Cashman’s own exit from this organization, especially if his commitment to youth is not honored!

  • systemcrash

    I would imagine that, when millions of dollars are on the table due to final product on the field, that ALL owners would have final say in their final product. Cashman is well-compensated for what he does, and this is yet another media waste of space.

    Bring On Baseball because this offseason has been brutal to read about.

  • E-ROC

    Didn’t Hank, not CashMoney, re-sign Rivera, Posada, and A-Rod to their respective contracts? Isn’t that undermining the GM?

    I hope Cashman gets an extension after the season.

  • Pfistyunc

    As a strong Cashman hater, I see this as great news. The guy sounds fed up with Yammerin’ Hank and hopefully is counting down the days until his contract expires. Good riddance.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Doesn’t Hank continuing to say “I’m thinking about it! I think I might do it!” as to the Santana trade undermine our ability to get the best deal for him? I know none of us have all the variables in front of us but it seems to me that, if we wanted the Twins to accept a deal not involving Phil Hughes (and/or Melky Cabrera), that we wouldn’t be playing easy like this.

    if Hank Steinbrenner was a girl in high school, he’d never have a steady boyfriend. :)

  • http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-3211-0 Ray Istorico

    Good point Pfistyunc. Cashman receives far too much credit for championships won primarily due to players obtained/signed before he even became GM – and none of the blame for continued post-season failures/bad moves since 2002. Other than the trades for Clemens and Justice quantity over quality has been the hallmark of Cashman’s reign. One can only imagine what a GM such as Billy Beane could have accomplished with the Yanks over the last 6 years. But away from the office Cash must be an extremely nice person since I can’t recall seeing even one negative comment about his moves as GM while scanning the Post, NY Daily News or NY Times. An amazing phenomenon (just ask Isiah Thomas – hmm, very bad example).

  • snoop dogg resident

    I absolutly agree that cashman is the most overated GM in baseball. just take a look at the laudry list f pitchers brough in here from wearver to irabu to brown to johnson to pavano, conteras, vazquez..should i go on? no other team in baseball this side of the red sox could survive that many bad contracts . luckily for brian the yanks have had an almost unlimitted payroll the past 15 years and that has allowed them to make the playoffs every year. they havent advanced though because since the late 90’s this team has not been able to bring in any succesful pitchers and has been unable year after year after year to build a bullpen – what is this the 5th year in a row we are going in with major question marks in the bullpen.

    plus – he let petitte go which in my opinion was the biggest mistake this franchise has made in the past 10 years – probably cost them at least 1 championship, maybe more

  • snoop dogg resident

    i am not saying i want cashman out – jus that i wont cry in the corner if he leaves.

    i still blame torre for many of those playoff collapses including 2004 which was absolutly a result of piss poor managing

  • The Fallen Phoenix

    Letting Pettitte go got the Yankees Phil Hughes; I just want everyone to be clear about that.

    Vazquez wasn’t a terrible pick-up at the time, and I personally derided letting him go in the Randy Johnson deal (which also wasn’t an indefensible one), but he was a hot young commodity at the time and had a fantastic season with the White Sox last year.

    I don’t want to spill any more ink over Pavano, but no one can ever predict a pitcher–even with Pavano’s injury history–is going to break down over four years like Pavano did. Nevermind that there were at least five other teams in baseball that wanted Pavano that off-season, and that the Yankees reportedly signed him for less than other teams were offering.

  • Steve S

    I have no issue with this, unless Hank is listening to the wrong people. If he is listening to Gene Michael and those who know some things, then its fine if he ignores Cashman. The only other thing is that he is supportive of Girardi throughout the season.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Hanks doesn’t seem as um, crazy as his dad (is that a good word?). I don’t think we’ll see him make any knee jerk trades and stuff like that, I believe he values Cashman’s input very much because Cash has been at this for quite some time.

    Hank wants Santana and could have him at any time if he wants (by upping the package), and the fact that he hasn’t yet shows that all hope is not lost…yet.

    Cash is the voice of reason in the FO, if he bolts after the season things can go south very quickly.

  • brxbmrs

    That’s how I view Hank as well – not as crazy as his dad – and so far Hank gets high marks from me.

    Did the Yanks overpay for A-Rod, Mo and Jorge – sure – but that I think was the right move – rather than throwing away lesser sums on garbage like Pavano, Wright, Vasquez etc. Paying those guys is less of a risk than signing an overrated Hunter or Rowand.

    If this was George, IPK, Hughes, Melk and Jackson would be on the Twins already and Santana would have his 140 mil extension – don’t think that’s the right move as evidenced by Hank CORRECTLY calling the Twins bluff – that’s what so many here don’t want to admit.

    I don’t think Hank’s yammering has hurt Cash’s negoitating options at all – and too few here are forgetting Cash has made his share of mistakes as well.

    So far so good for the Steinbrothers, they have a long way to go of course but I think they understand the need for young talent but also to field a championship team as well.

    • Count Zero

      “If this was George, IPK, Hughes, Melk and Jackson would be on the Twins already and Santana would have his 140 mil extension – don’t think that’s the right move as evidenced by Hank CORRECTLY calling the Twins bluff – that’s what so many here don’t want to admit.”

      Exactly! I don’t think that situation has been misplayed at all.

  • zack

    Yeah, let’s be perfectly clear here, Hank itching to trade for Johan Santana is a far cry from his dad’s impulsive and self-destructive trades. Its not like Hank suddenly decided he HAD to have Juan Pierre and traded Hughes for him. It seems, and I hope, that Hank is smart enough, sane enough, and willing to listen enough, that when he does decide he MUST have someone, its someone like Johan…

  • Rich

    Hank may not be as crazy as his dad, but I seriously question whether he is as smart.

    • Robert

      Rich, smart in terms of what? He was more impulsive than smart most of the time, just look at the players he demanded we get and the cost at which we got them. It wasn’t until he got suspended that we got the players and kept the players that we needed for the dynasty years.

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