Who’s next at the top?

Bruney, Yanks avoid salary arbitration
Anatomy of an effective bullpen

Pitchers and catchers are still at home. Position players have a few weeks left in vacation. Yet, the Brian Cashman Job Watch is already on the go.

Today, Joel Sherman checks in with his latest: Brian Cashman may very be building a farm system for his successor. Using the Super Bowl Champs as an example, Sherman draws parallels between Cashman and Ernie Accorsi, the former New York Giants GM who built the current Giants team.

It is possible, and Cashman knows this, that he might be rebuilding a farm system for another man, that he will play Accorsi and hand off something ready to blossom to his successor. He insists he is fine with that prospect, recalling how fortunate he was to be gifted a championship roster from his predecessor Bob Watson, saying he owes it to that memory and to professionalism and to Yankees fans to guarantee his baton pass is as fruitful.

“You want to make sure it is sustainable for the next person,” Cashman said.

Cashman has just one year left on his contract. No one would be surprised if he returned again, that his love for the job and his long history with the Steinbrenner family produce another contract. But no one around the Yankees – or really around baseball – would be surprised either if VP of scouting Damon Oppenheimer, like Reese, graduates from heading a draft room to directing the big room. Oppenheimer’s outstanding recent drafts have provided much of the backbone to support Cashman’s vision of restoring youth and financial sanity to the Yankees roster.

A lot of Brian Cashman’s most vocal critics have long pointed to the Yanks’ farm system in the pre-Cashman days as a sign that Brian is an overrated GM. While this argument ignores the fact that Brian Cashman, as an Assistant GM before his days as a General Manager, was instrumental in building up the Yankees farm system, it also ignores what Cashman has been able to accomplish since 2005 when he seemingly wrested control away from King George and his Tampa minions in order to build up a franchise.

Since then, the Yanks have skyrocketed in prospect ratings from the low 20s to the upper echelons of the list. That is not to say that Cashman has been a perfect GM. I’ll happily defend Cash, but I know that the Yankees are a flawed team with an astronomical payroll. But it’s hard to understate the importance of their farm system.

They have top-notch arms in Joba, Phil and IPK ready to contribute at the Major League level now. They have position players who should develop just in time to contribute when they are most needed. And they have a new organizational philosophy that will keep them spending on the amateur draft and international free agents while maintaining a competitive Big League club through free agency.

Who knows what the future holds for Cashman? He may jet to Philadelphia as many have speculated. He may stick around. He could retire and come back after a few years away from the game. But no matter the outcome in 2008, he has left his mark on this team, and it’s for the better.

Bruney, Yanks avoid salary arbitration
Anatomy of an effective bullpen
  • Motown Yankee Fan

    How much weight do you give what Sherman says? Does he have any kind of relationship with Cashman, or is he just trying to sell papers?

  • Tripp

    An astronomical payroll that Cashman has been trying to get away from by developing and keeping cost-controlled player.

  • NYFan50

    I hope Cashman stays around and isn’t driven away by Hank. I’d like to see what he’ll do after $80M of the payroll comes off the books. The future is bright and I’d like to see him succeed with the team he’s built.

  • E-ROC

    I hope Cashmoney stays. He should be rewarded with an extension.

  • Steve S

    Now that was a fair assessment of Cash. I think he is going to stay. Everyone has been critical of Hank. I have to be honest I think Hank and Hal are demonstrating some keen business sense. The Arod move was the correct move. I think Steinbrenner Sr. would have shut him out and would have been stubborn to a fault. And the public commentary on Santana was excellent because he didnt let the clear Twin/Red Sox strategy of getting the Yankees to up their offer work. The fact that he made it so public cut Bill Smith’s negotiating tactics out from under him and established Johan’s value. Well see if it works i the future but everyone crying about it is crazy. He didn’t harm their negotiating position, if anything he benefited them by being so public.

    I also think Hal realizes that Cash has been a big part of this success (and contrary to what some ESPN writers would lead you to believe this franchise has been extraordinarily successful). He has made some large mistakes but in the end he has been in charge of a team for 11 years and had them in the playoffs for the entire time. He better protect these kids this year but I think as long as he is willing, hell be the GM of the Yankees

  • Curramba

    I hope the Yankees retain Cash. He is the reason why the farm has gotten better.

  • dan

    Money off the payroll after this season:

    Abreu- $16M
    Farnsworth- $5.5M
    Giambi- $21M (-$5M buyout)
    LaTroy- $3.75M
    Mussina- $11.5M
    Pavano- $11M
    Pettitte- $16M

    Pettitte and/or Abreu could be re-signed, and Melky, Wang and Betemit are due for increases.

    The total money off the payroll is $85million. Giambi’s buyout makes it $80million. The salary increases noted above will total about $10million– Wang for $6M (Badard would have gotten 6-8 this off-season), Melky for $3million (about what Youkilis will get), and Betemit for $1million. The numbers will obviously be slightly off, but $10M total is reasonable. That leaves about $70million to be spent however they want (Sabathia? Pettitte?).

    As long as Hal sees this, and the kids don’t completely bomb, Cashman is safe.

  • nick blasioli

    cashman did jack crap this off season..you will see his inactivity will bite him you know where…wait til the season plays out before you all jump on me….