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.