The Brian Cashman approach

Hunting for the Statues on Parade
Yanks promote Robertson

With the trade deadline a month away, talk will inevitably heat up over which Yankee prospects should go for what type of players. As Joe noted, anything we say is pretty meaningless, but we do have some insight into how Brian Cashman will approach the trade deadline.

In a nutshell, don’t expect anything major.

Early this week, Brian Cashman spoke a dinner in Scranton, and Chad Jenning was on hand to cover this event. He relates to us an anecdote about Cashman’s grabbing the reins of the Yankee organization from those who had turned it away from player development. I’m going to quote at length:

Cashman said that he was angry in 2005. “We got away from building from within,” he said. “There were a lot of players who wound up on our roster who I wasn’t in favor of. A lot of fighting between the cities (Tampa and New York).” The Yankees got off to a bad start that season, and Cashman told Steinbrenner he’d fix it, but he wanted to do it his way — “I needed to listen to one person, not 10 at once.”

That was the year he promoted Wang and Cano at the same time, claimed Al Leiter, brought up Aaron Small, etc., and they made the playoffs. “At the end of the year,” Cashman said. “I told the Boss I was done.”

He said the draft picks were gone, they were 24th of 30 clubs in quality of the minor league system and that “this all-veteran thing was not going to work. We were headed back to where we were in the ’80s.”

“I honestly didn’t think he was going to listen to me. Why would he? He hadn’t the last few years.”

Steinbrenner asked him to stay, and he would give him full authority to do what was right. He had job offers that were “easier jobs” for more money, but he stayed with the Yankees. “It was the opportunity of a lifetime. I’d be nothing without George Steinbrenner. There was a loyalty factor here. I couldn’t leave him when he asked me to stay.”

He told Steinbrenner his plan was to do two things: Rebuild the farm system and remain a contender while doing it.

Now, why is this relevant with July nearly upon us? Well, Brian Cashman’s plan is still a work in progress. He’s watching many of his draft picks and international signings make their ways through the farm system to great acclaim. He’s not about to move some of the Yanks’ top prospects for a rent-a-player, and he won’t land that impact player — think C.C. Sabathia or the oft-injured Rich Harden — without giving up those prospects.

Think of this as you will. I know many fans are dismayed at this approach, and they would rather win now with no regard for the future. Many others are fully on board, and still others are eying this plan skeptically while subscribing to it. The media won’t like it if the Yanks don’t make a push for C.C. Sabathia in July but tough.

What Brian Cashman is doing now has a chance to benefit the Yankees as an organization for the next five to ten years. Whether the Yankee brass and their fans have the patience to see it through will determine whether or not we get to enjoy the fruits of a rich farm system in the end. It’s a risk, but it should work better than the trade-now, sign-late approach we witnessed earlier this decade.

Hunting for the Statues on Parade
Yanks promote Robertson
  • Peter Rabbit

    Real good read man; you did a good job of laying it all out. I’m e-mailing this post to a couple of friends. Posts like these makes fans smarter and more sensible when it comes to trades. Good stuff!

  • MD

    you’ll really know what direction they are going by whether Cash stays or goes at the end of the year……if he stays, you can be sure he wants to win with the organization approach, to show that the development was a success…..

  • Ivan

    Speaking of young talent, Dave Robertspn has been called up today.

    • Ivan

      Robertson my bad

      • Reggie C.

        SERIOUS !?!

        About time !!

  • Simon

    id say if were going to blow any of our prospects on a shortlived yankee (which after reading this post seems unlikely), we should go for an accomplished middle reliever. they may be hard to come by, but the yanks can’t be relying on hawkins for more than a couple weeks more and ohlendorf looks out of the picture for a bit.

    even if they can snag sabathia or harden (2 pitchers who just dominated in their respective starts recently) im not sure what this does to the rest of the rotation for september once wang comes back.


    • Lanny

      Great starting pitching is what wins titles.

      Cashman would laugh in the face of any GM who asked for a top prospect for a middle reliever.

      You can never have too many great starters.

    • steve (different one)

      id say if were going to blow any of our prospects on a shortlived yankee (which after reading this post seems unlikely), we should go for an accomplished middle reliever.

      thank God you aren’t the GM.

  • Lanny

    There is no way Cashman is going to trade for Sabathia or Harden or whoever is going to cost the Santana package of prospects.

    He has proven they can win with finding diamonds in the rough and he’s not going to blow up his baby.

    If he leaves at the end of the year the next GM won’t come in and blow up what he has worked on.

    Every GM wants a highly functional farm system. You think Logan White or Billy Beane or Damon Oppenheimer would come in here and start trading every top prospect for vets???

    Come on. Use your noggin.

  • Adrian-Retire21

    CAshman will make a trade.This isn’t a rebuilding team.Why give A-Rod $27 million this year if you don’t want to win now?Why have a $200 million team?

    Yes Cashman is not gonna give up on high prospects(Hughes,Melechon,Montero) but if you think he is not gonna get anbody and go with Giese,Ponson and Rasner for the rest of the year your crazy.The last year in Yankee stadium Cashman is gonna risk not going to the post-season.

    A trade will happen.Keep Hughes and Austin Jackson but Kennedy,Jose Tabata,Horne,J.B Cox,Melky can be given up.

    • Lanny

      What if they think that Tabata is going to be a Manny Ramirez type player? What iof they think Horne is a solid #2 starter? What if they think Cox is a premiere set up man??

      We don’t know how they value the system. It is clueless to list names that you read about here and on BA like you know and say trade them.

      • Jamal G.

        Thank You.

        • steve (different one)

          as much as i can’t stand this troll, i think he has a point in the end.

          for the right player, i would trade some of Tabata, Cox, Kennedy, Horne or Melky. i would easily move those guys for a player like Sabathia.

          i am a BIG farm system proponent but at SOME point, you do have do turn some prospects into sure things.

          if they could get Sabathia and keep Hughes, Jackson, and Montero, i think i’d seriously consider it. for the record, i don’t think they can. i think he’ll be a Brewer.

          wow, i feel dirty now, i kindof agreed with this guy.

          • Steve

            Its not an either/or proposition between developing from within and making trades, you can (and I believe should) do both.

            You can build from within and trade off players who are either blocked at their positions or that you have an excess of. The reality is not all of the Yankee pitchers will have slots in the rotation, even temporary ones. We have some nice OF prospects, but quality outfielders at all 3 positions are available almost every year. You could make trades to help us win this year while keeping the prospects you really like. Maybe not for an elite player, but I wouldn’t even rule that out. Take another look at the package Johan fetched. Carlos Gomez (who’s a nice player) and a whole lot of garbage after that. Or the Bedard package. Adam Jones is a stud, Sherrill was a 30 year old journeyman coming off a good year and the rest of the package is fairly weak. You don’t have to UNLOAD your farm system to get top talent.

            I’d support trading Melky or Brett Gardner in the right deal, as well as Horne, Cox, Austin Jackson or Tabata. Not all of them of course, you need quality depth in the system and will likely have openings in the coming years for some of these players, in particular the OF’ers. But its a sign of a bad GM to fall in love with all of his own players and not use some of them to fill the needs of the MLB team.

            Let’s be honest, most of our prospects (even the top ones) won’t pan out.

  • JW

    I’m all about developing from within. I think developing pitching from within is most important given the ridiculous market (Carlos Silva, 4/$48mil, Barry Zito 7/$126 mil). “Good” or bad pitcher alike command a ridiculous amount for being no guarantee.

    With that said however, I’m still skeptical on Cashman. I want it all to work, obviously, but I’m not sure it’s going to.

    Take Joba out of the picture and so far we’ve had average success with player development. Since Wang (who has been better than ever expected) Cano and Melky have taken giant steps backward. Hughes has been hurt for so much time. Kennedy regressed and then got injured. Ohlendorf, Edwar, and Veras haven’t been the answers. Veras looks good now, but it’s only June 28.

    It’s still early however. I’m just a Yankee fan, and I want to see my team win at all costs. I don’t want to trade the farm for a rental. I don’t want to mortgage the future, but it’s hard seeing Cashman turn to Sidney Ponson and Kei Igawa and miraculously succeed. It makes Cashman look much better than he should, because any baseball fan knows Ponson and Igawa are terrible.

    So basically, after ranting, I just want to see Cashman put the team in a better position on July 31. If they’re not better off on Aug 1 than they were on July 30, however that better off is, it’s going to be a disappointment.

    It’s just tough to think that we could trade for Carsten Charles and he could bust while Horne and Tabata and anyone else blossom in Cleveland. And it’s equally as hard waiting for new core players that may never come.

    Oh, the toubles of being a Yankee fan.

    Should have been a Pirates fan, knowing no matter who the next prospect coming up is, he’s going to be a disappointment, and the Pirates are still going to lose.

    • Jamal G.

      Have you taken into account that the development plan started in 2005? You can’t say the farm hasn’t produced anything when it usually takes about 3-5 years for a draft to produce and a bit longer for an IFA period to produce.

      • Lanny

        We are fortunate that Wang, Cano, Melky, and Joba are all viable major leaguers.

        Or we would have been 82 win teams the past 3 years.

        • steve (different one)

          It makes Cashman look much better than he should, because any baseball fan knows Ponson and Igawa are terrible.

          so, basically you are rooting against the Yankees so you can appear smarter on the internet.


  • Reggie C.

    We’re just a handful of days away from the July 2nd International FA signing day. Cashman better walk out with some high-end talent. Looks like we’ve lost out on Inoa (the As) and Y-Rod (reds). Lets see what Cashman accomplishes that day.

    All this talk of trade has gotta make the yankee universe aware that we’re pretty darn thin in hitting prospects. All we can afford to trade is 24/25 year old AA/AAA pitchers … & imo .. the high-end pitching is in the lower minors.

    • steve (different one)

      We’re just a handful of days away from the July 2nd International FA signing day. Cashman better walk out with some high-end talent

      you mean like he has been doing every year for the last 3 years?

      i feel like Yankee fans feel they are entitled to every single player these days.

      you can’t MAKE someone sign with you. i believe the yankees outbid Seattle for King Felix, he simply chose Seattle.

      you guys seem to think that Cashman doesn’t know what he is doing. he signed DeLeon, he signed Montero.

      he knows what he is doing.

  • JW

    Rejoice for the calling up of Dave Robertson!

    Hopefully Hawkins is finished (even though he’s a class act).
    Or they banish Kei Igawa into the depths of AAAA.

    I’d rather see Igawa gone because he’s just so terrible to watch. At least Hawkins’ delivery was interesting the first time we saw it.

  • Steven S

    I’m all for supporting the farm, but if they can get C.C. without giving up Hughes, Joba, or Jackson, I’m all for it. They’re losing a bunch of payroll this off-season anyway.

    • steve (different one)

      i agree with this, i just think if the Brewers are willing to move LaPorta, there is nothing Cashman can do.

      • baseballnut

        With the Brewers offers on the table of 5 player Gamal / Laporta and 3 more prospects to Cleveland for CC and Casey Blake

        And The Rays Offer of Edwin Jackson or Andy Sonnanstine with It is said that the Indians wanted David Price but the Rays feels he will be starting at the major league level in 4 to 6 weeks he is on the fast track through their system so they would make the other 2 available as part of their Center piece in a bid for CC and Casey Blake . Joel Guzman 3rd baseman/ Matthew Fields 1st baseman / Alexander Cobb Right Handed Pitcher Single A.

        So with these reported packages on the table you would think that
        Hughes / Montero / Cerville and Horne would have to be part of any package to get CC . Ido know that the Indians wouldn’t take Kennedy they already have onee of those type pitchers in Sowers.

        And with the Dodgers thought to be talking to the Indians for a Blockbuster trade Them receiving CC / Blake and Peralta For Broxton / Dewitt / and several Minor League prospects these are some of the prospects rumored to be part of the deal Ivan De Jesus Double A Shortstop /Juan Gonzalez Double AA 2nd Baseman / Kenley Jansen Catcher Single A /Marlon Arias AA Lefthanded Pitcher / Preston Mattingly 2nd baseman.

        And one rumor has the deal expanded to include Rafael Betancourt and Jensen Lewis going to the Dodgers and Chad Billingsley or Clayton Kershaw going to the Cleveland end of the trade.

  • Adrian-Retire21

    Tabata is like Manny he has attitude problems.Austin Jackson is our future centerfielder since he’s been hitting great in he’s promotion.

    Joba is the only pitcher out of the “Big Three” who has helped this team.You can’t like this year have three rookies be in the starting rotation.Thats why we are in this mess with the rotation.You can’t risk so many prospects in a team.

    WE don’t have over ten years to suck like the Rays did to be like them.THats the problem people who want to do better in the farm make bad free agent deals like Cashman and give no insurance if these prospects fail.And many will.

  • BillyBall

    Great article. Really good article. I agree with all the assessments and hope Cashman returns next season. I loved when Gene Michaels took over and fixed the minors prior to the dynasty and I feel in my heart that the Cash is doing or trying his best to repeat that direction. I also agree with Adrian Retire that Cash will make a move and trade a prospect the Yankees may have been high on but are slowly starting to feel that the prospect has digressed. Not to include names but I think trading away a Melky may be in the best interest if you get a decent return, be it a 3 or 4 starter or a decent lefty reliever. I’m not too sure we can get much for the Melk man but it is an option I’m sure Cash is looking into. But say we don’t trade the Melk man, I feel that his upside and talent is still a few years away as he is still only 23 years old and still growing into his body. But we are just speculating and need to leave it up to the professionals who know allot more than us.

  • Lou

    I am all for building within, but has to be within reason. I would never throw a blue chipper away for 2-3 montsh of CC sabathia, but when a team is an 85-90 win team on the cusp of the playoffs, THAT is the time to make a trade. When it means something, a good starter could push the Yanks into the playoffs. It’s as simple as that, now, more than any other year the Yanks should trade young guns for help.

    And goodness to sakes, I would so much rather Santana than Hughes right now it isn’t even funny.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      that trade was never on the table so you can rather all you like

  • Lou

    I am all worked up i can’t even type! I just mean to emphatically say no to trading young potential stars, just because they are young potential stars, is a fatal mistake. If something good comes along, for love of god, please take it Mr. C.

    The new era of baseball (it may not be here to stay) is parity. Meaning, the absolute #1 priority is to make the playoffs and no more than ever, ANYTHING can happen. Any playoff team can run with any other playoff team nowadays.

    • Lanny

      Ask the 1987 Tigers how that playoff run was after they traded Smoltz for Alexander.

      If the Yankees think that the top guys are all future productive stars than I am with them not trading them.

      Cash has proven he can get the help needed without gutting the system.

      How would that Kotsay for Hughes deal that was all the rage in 2005 be right now?

  • Fab

    Sometimes you have to take in the shorts in the near term for long term benefit. We have to build the farm system to the point where we are dealing from strength when pursuing missing pieces. Not sure whether we are there or not. But I am NOT in favor of making moves just to make the playoffs each year. I would rather miss a year or two, than make it each year with no real chance of a ring – like last year.

  • Art Vandelay

    I am on board with internal development. The issue people need to recognize is that succeeding at such a strategy does not = “hold on to all of your prospects as long as possible.” The way you succeed at it is evaluating which have the best potential and selling high on the others. Cashman has assembled quite an array of assets in a short time (our farm system is ranked quite high right now). This might be the right time for the Yanks to start moving some of them, because a number won’t pan out and you’re not going to be able to hold on to all of them forever anyway. Now, whether Sabbathia is the guy you want to spend them on (depending on the price) is another story.

    • steve (different one)

      and you want to be my Latex Salesman? j/k, good post.

      • Art Vandelay

        Thanks. Fortunately, the import/export business is booming these days.

        • Realist

          I applaud your work on the Gugenheim(sp?)….

  • Mulva

    Trading your prospects is OK…..if you trade them for younger player. The problem with the Yankees of the past is that they would trade their best youngsters for either a rental or a 38 year old on decline. Packaging Marquez, Kennedy and JB Cox for a guy like Zack Greinke would be a smart thing to do. However, that same package for CC I would NOT do because we could get him for free next season.

  • mike

    call me what you will but cano has to go ,throw cANO and kennedy in a deal and you might land someone good. guys dont sleep on ponson he might be the guy to shock mlb.

    • mike pop

      you sir are an idiot// cano is going NOWHERE

  • Lou

    I hope at least Yankees get Brain Funtes from the Rookies, It would help a lot

  • Lou

    Brian that is

  • Joe G.

    I think Cashman is a complete moron. If you are going with all these young guys and not “mortgaging” the future for the present, why would you give A-rod, Posada, Rivera the contracts they were given? How many times is this moron gonna keep calling up Igawa? ADMIT THE 46 MILLION DOLLAR MISTAKE AND GET ON WITH IT!! The Ponson signing was another great move. So Cashman is gonna keep rebuilding and maybe the Yankees will make the playoffs again when Jeter, A-rod and Rivera are ready to retire. Cashman has had total control since 2006 and what have the Yankees won????? I cant believe this idiot Cashman is gonna get an extension.

  • matt merc

    I understand what cash is trying to do but somewhere you have to draw the line. I mean he passed up on santana and haren this past off-season in order to keep kennedy and hughes. How has that gone for us 9 losses and how many wins? right now we need a geat quality starter. Andy and moose have stepped it up but they are both over 35 they wont be around for long. we all know what wang is all about and we can assume joba will be lights out but who is after that? You can all say no cashman is right dont trade the young prospects. I’m glad the way that phil and ian have turned out. how do we know how the prospects are going to be in the majors, its a different game up there. all im saying is cashman sure as hell better have built a good farm system because our rotation is bad now and it doesnt look like its going to get any better.

  • chriso

    Cashman’s tenure as GM has been a mixed bag. But what isn’t in the mix is the solid championship-caliber teams us fans really want.
    As for trading for CC, why bother? On days when he can’t go more than five or six innings and the opposing team has got a bunch of good LH bats, the Yanks will still be sunk.
    I was ready to say “whatever happens, happens” for 2008, because I figured the yanks might struggle with their pitching and health. But I’ve been hoping to see some really encouraging signs about the future emerge from this 2008 mess. And I haven’t—yet.
    The Yanks need TWO lefty relievers. They need one who can shut down a good team for the 7th or 8th inning, and another “situational ” guy. Anyone who doesn’t realize this is either not paying attention or just dreaming. Remember when they obtained Luis Vizcaino and expressed confidence in his ability to get out LH batters? Yeah. Uh-huh.
    The Yanks have been desperate for good LH relief for several years now. Gabe White, anyone? And it is astonishing that Cashman, with all his available resources, hasn’t been able to find even one. And their farm system has been devoid of any bonafide candidates for the job. I’ve heard/read that Chase Wright, Zach Kroenke, Phil Coke, and Mike Dunn are all reliever material. But only Kroenke has been tried in that role. It is time to get that development train running at a faster speed, because overpaying wildly for good, but not great, pitchers like Fuentes and Marte would be stupid. Speaking of Marte, anyone remember that he was the product of the Yankees’ farm system? And who did they obtain in exchange for this solid LH reliever? That’s right. . .The great Enrique Wilson.

  • marcum

    I’m all for “the future” but we are not too far away this year. Lefty in bullpen, quality starter, better bench. All that sounds right but, if we don’t get hitters that can handle lefty pitching none of that matters. Did anyone see that mess of a lineup Joe had to send out there today? Frustrating and embarrassing!