The realities of youth movements in New York

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This is a guest post by frequent commenter Steve S.

I guess I am writing this in order to be contrarian because I partially believe it and part of me wishes it weren’t true. For the past three seasons, prior to the Johan Santana trade I was a firm believer in the youth movement. Especially with regard to the apparent failures of free agent pitching and those acquired by trade.

In 2004, I thought Cashman was brilliant in avoiding Curt Schilling and acquiring Javier Vazquez (sidenote: Yankees gave up way too quickly on that one), especially considering Arizona’s demands for Schilling (ed. note: Nick Johnson and Alfonso Soriano). By 2005, I was convinced that Randy Johnson on a short deal was the right move, especially considering the fact that they managed to hold on to Wang and Cano in the initial trade deadline fervor. I admit I was concerned about Pavano and no one in their right mind expected Jaret Wright to work out.

As I was saying, I was a firm believer in developing pitching and the necessity to do it. Part of it was that these guys were failing, but what made convinced me was the way these guys were melting. Even Arod to an extent had been affected (thankfully his physical talent was able to overcome some of the mental difficulties). All of these guys seem to not just fail with respect to difficult expectations, but they weren’t even performing up to their normal standards. Contrary to popular belief Randy Johnson actually did well, but it was as if the minute he arrived here he went from stud pitcher to good pitcher with fundamental flaws in his delivery and his makeup. Javier Vazquez was great for the first half and then completely folded in the second half. Pavano, who most knowledgeable fans would have predicted a four ERA and probably between 10-15 wins, couldn’t stay on the field — and I say knowledgeable fans because anyone who expected this guy to be anything more than a number three starter hadn’t paid attention. And this is all when the farm system was barren of top pitching prospects.

So when Wang came up and succeeded it became apparent that the Yankees needed to change their course. Because starting pitching through free agency and trades had dramatically changed since 1996. You couldn’t go get David Cone, David Wells or Roger Clemens to front the rotation. So when I saw the reports on Phil Hughes I salivated, and his continued success made me long for this change in philosophy. However, I missed something that has now become apparent to me. This whole New York phenomenon regarding the unrealistic expectations of fans and the media and to an extent the organization is fundamental and isn’t just limited to superstars or free agents. It extends to these kids now. Whoever gets to the forefront becomes public enemy number one because there are so many revisionists out there.

This leads me to the current situation. Brian Cashman has done a remarkable job with restoring and righting this thing because the reality was that the Yankees couldn’t realistically continue down the path they were on forever. Especially in light of every small to mid market team locking up their young players to long term deals so early on (thank god for Scott Boras or else the hot stove would be so boring). As we can see one month into this, people are more than just squirming; there is a wholesale panic out there. And while it is not justified, the reality is that it is having an effect.

Ian Kennedy has been awful, but as everyone has noted here, there are glimpses of improvement. The only issue becomes how is this affecting him mentally. His comments before being sent down were the best portent of his ability to handle adversity in the New York media. And his performances have not even come close to what he was able to do in the minor leagues. Which leads me to believe that he might just be feeling overwhelmed. I think we all forget, and its even more prevalent now in age of sabermetrics and closely following the minor leagues, that these guys are human and they cant always perform the way the back of the baseball card or baseball says they should.

The same may unfortunately apply to Joba now since people are foaming at the mouth at this midseason change. If he stumbles at all, people will have the ignorant reaction to restore him to the bullpen. I’m saying this all now and acknowledging that hindsight is 20/20. I was one of those people who celebrated these moves. But now I’m starting to get weary because I fear what all this can do to these kids and this organization. I never expected people to be so quick to judgment, but I should have. And what I hate to say is that Brian Cashman should have to. By basing so much of this year, the year after the Red Sox won their second World Series in four years, on these kids the Yankees may have put the Arod target on the “Big Three’s” backs. And there is no telling if in this market, with this much money invested, whether the Yankees can fully execute this plan. The Red Sox had a third place finish; what would happen in New York if the Yankees crumbled in late August and finished in third place? The White Sox survived a year of John Danks and Gavin Floyd being awful, and now they are reaping the rewards. Could that happen in New York?

I just hope Brian Cashman has the backbone and the longevity to carry this plan to fruition. And more importantly, I hope these kids can survive this kind of scrutiny, because if they do flop, it’s going to set things back, both because the organization might start avoiding the youth again and because they might invest in what has become an even worse free agent market. And I think the blame falls on the fans. Not just on the impatient fans, but for those of us who lose sight of the intangible reality of playing in New York and the fact that these kids can sometimes mislead us when they are pitching in Scranton or Trenton.

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  • Ivan

    It’s alot easier said than done. Nevertheless, the worst case with Hughes and Ian happen. So to me, there is only one way but up which is certainly encouraging. People need to be patient. Hey Hughes to me will bounce back. He’s too talented to struggle like that. Same with Ian.

    Hughes during the offseason and ST was one of the hardest workers and obviously things didn’t turn out the way Hughes and the fans want but I know it will soon turn the corner.

    In other News, you know that Keith Law was a Yankee fan growing up.

  • A.D.

    I agree with many of the sentiments in the article, I know for me also seeing the success of other teams young pitching throught the years made it even more exciting to try and get some of that!

    Naturally, in Yankee fashion, we couldn’t have someone come up and dominate early (fingers crossed joba keeps up the good transition) just baffling hitters for a season, and then maybe stuggle some in a year or 2 to once he has the track record. It seeminly has to be a bit more difficult in the bronx.

    All in all the youth movement has to be the way to go, veteran & free agents crumble a fair amount themselves, but they’re paid a whole lot more, and aren’t “learning” anything, yeah there will be lumps, but Mussina was a huge lump last year as a vet with a track record, its MLB pitching, it’s frequently a crap-shoot

  • mike

    I agree on most of your point, but the reason for the pressure being put on the young guys is because Cashman has made it so – by not making what appeared to be an otherwise logical move, especially in light of the situation ( best pitcher in baseball for minor-leaguers ) which would be certain to be first and second-guessed for years.

    While the merits of the money given to Santana can be debated, and whether he will be worth it in the end, the major side of the equation was the talent the Yanks were to surrender for him. I daresay that if Santana were an unrestricted free agent, he would be a Yankee, so the real issue was the value of the kids being exchanged.

    Because he brought these names to the attention of the general public (beyond us insane bloggers researching the Hawaiian league) , he said in word in deed that “we dont need sanatan because these guys will be just as good as Santana over time and we will have that extra money to make us better.” We cannot absolve him for a situation which he created.

    Also, I believe Cash is a poor judge of pitching talent – anyone who thought Jeff Weaver would succeed in NY is not paying attention and signing Hawkins itself is lunacy. Also, drafting/trading for pitchers who are injured and counting on successful surgery and rehab plus taking 1+ years off of their lives is super-risky, as we are counting on doctors, trainers and the athlete’s own drive to have a successful rehab – then they have to live up to their projected potential.

    I am not the first person to say this, and I certainly do not have all of the answers, but not every prospect we have will turn out to be a regular player, and not every trade for an established star will be a fiasco. For every Drabek, Tewksbury, Rijo, Marte, Buhner we can find a Cone, Justice, Knobby, Arod – trades where the youth sacrifced was well worth it. How can we on one hand give kudos to Cashman for finding a Brunney/Edwar/Rasner off the scrap heap, but not kill him for not having players in our own organization of that limited skill level?

    For every mid-market team holding onto their youth (financed by the Yanks success), I congratulate them – but because Cashman could not draft successfully for years, and has yet to have a power-hitting anyone come through the organization, the Yanks are in a position where they are getting older on offense with little help on the horizon. Drafting and developing right-handed pitchers without overpowering stuff and acquiring injured players/draftees and financing their rehab is not my idea of a pitching plan, especially when we have a Rasner/Ponson back end of the pro roster to show for it.

    • steve (different one)

      Because he brought these names to the attention of the general public (beyond us insane bloggers researching the Hawaiian league) , he said in word in deed that “we dont need sanatan because these guys will be just as good as Santana over time and we will have that extra money to make us better.” We cannot absolve him for a situation which he created.

      i disagree.

      Hank created this situation by apprising the media of every offer the Yankees put on the table during the Santana negotiations.

      Cashman NEVER talks about deals he has on the table. it is his calling card.

      also, this whole point is kindof stupid. by not trading Hughes, he put him under pressure? so your entire theory is that the Yankees HAVE to trade every prospect they have so their idiotic fans won’t complain??

      in that case, the Yankees will never, ever get younger.

      Also, I believe Cash is a poor judge of pitching talent – anyone who thought Jeff Weaver would succeed in NY is not paying attention

      oh bullshit. everyone in baseball thought this was a fantastic trade. this is nothing but pure, hindsight second guessing.

      but because Cashman could not draft successfully for years, and has yet to have a power-hitting anyone come through the organization

      well, Cashman was not in charge of the draft until 2005. of course, everyone on earth knows this by now.

      • mike

        One at a time, big boy!

        I dont have to go as far as Hughes – are we forgetting the “Joba Rules”? It was the first time I have ever heard that a minor leaguer has announced usage patterns directed publicly from the front office. And, just because we know the people that the Twins/Cash were speaking about from Hank’s mouth, we all know ( or can fairly assume ) that he got his info from Cashman.

        Hank: Why aren’t we getting Santana? The Sox/Mets are all over him.

        Cash: Because they want XYZ and these young guys are too good to give up.

        To think otherwise is silly – where did Hank get the information from?

        Jeff Weaver – lets see, he was a California guy with flowing hair who had a mary-jane issue on the Tigers plane, and who was a laid back guy pitching in front of 300 people a night in a frat-club atmosphere which the Tigers knew was toxic.

        His calling card, as I recall, was that he threw 3 shutouts in the first half of the year, and rumor had it he was hardly excited about coming to NY. Ted Lilly, on the other hand, was a deceptively-fast lefty who could be frustrating at times and was a tease because he could look good. I thought it was silly to think this Weaver could be a horse for the team, and I dont think there were 50 people in NY who kenw about him when the trade was made.

        Again, it doesnt matter if we liked the trade at the time, it matters if it WORKS OUT. Cashman is paid to make sure it works out, not that it looks good at the time.

        Finally, Cahsman may not have been in charge of the draft until 2005 ( and I recall some pretty nice players had been drafted after the Yanks picked CJ Henry) but to think he did not have a say in the process is likely untrue.

        Even on the surface, by him demonstrating that “gee fellas, we have no young guys to plug into the bullpen/bench/rotation because the minors suck, so we need to sign free agent/released player in mid-season” he is making a point which the rest of the organization has to notice – and I believe on a different level he and Torre worked together to put Enrique Wilson in the outfield against the Mets to make a point.

        He is hardly a shrinking violet, and to survive 10+ years in this organization in this town for that family means he can work the system better than most- and im sure he domanstrated he could control a more successful draft to his bosses in order to be put in charge.

        Has he? The jury is still out –

        • Jamal G.

          I dont have to go as far as Hughes – are we forgetting the “Joba Rules”? It was the first time I have ever heard that a minor leaguer has announced usage patterns directed publicly from the front office. And, just because we know the people that the Twins/Cash were speaking about from Hank’s mouth, we all know ( or can fairly assume ) that he got his info from Cashman.

          First of all Brian Cashman basically said he was pissed at Joe Torre for revealing said “Joba Rules” to the media. It was the first time you ever heard of it because organizations tend to keep things like that close to the vest. The Yankees are just one of thirty organizations in baseball who have set plans on how to use their pitchers. Concerning the the Hank Steinbrenner issue, what did you want Cashman to do, lie? So he was somehow supposed to expect Hank S. to talk about who was offered and who was requested? If you’re complaining that Cashman felt that Phil Hughes was too good to trade in the first place then your complaint makes even less sense because you are basically saying that ‘based on what I’ve seen thus far, Phil Hughes is not some prized prospect that should be projected’. Those are the only two reasons I can see why you would have any sort of complaint about Cashman telling Hank S. that Hughes is untouchable.

          Jeff Weaver – lets see, he was a California guy with flowing hair who had a mary-jane issue on the Tigers plane, and who was a laid back guy pitching in front of 300 people a night in a frat-club atmosphere which the Tigers knew was toxic.

          His calling card, as I recall, was that he threw 3 shutouts in the first half of the year, and rumor had it he was hardly excited about coming to NY. Ted Lilly, on the other hand, was a deceptively-fast lefty who could be frustrating at times and was a tease because he could look good. I thought it was silly to think this Weaver could be a horse for the team, and I dont think there were 50 people in NY who kenw about him when the trade was made.

          So because of his hair-cut and state of origin he was doomed for failure in the Bronx? Pitcher A threw three shutouts in the first half and one pitcher B “could be frustrating at times…was a tease…could look good” and yet you would take the latter?

          Finally, Cahsman may not have been in charge of the draft until 2005 ( and I recall some pretty nice players had been drafted after the Yanks picked CJ Henry) but to think he did not have a say in the process is likely untrue.

          I don’t think it’s untrue, there really were two different factions in the Yankee front office.

          • mike

            Jamal – I understand how Cashman did not yell out who the Yanks were “not going to trade” and how Hank did not help matters. We also must listen to Cashman where he talks about these guys and states how important they are – how do we know about his “plan”?? From his own words – or those he leaks.

            And yes – one thing I do know is if you try to fit a square peg (laid back guy in a comfortable situation) into a round hole ( intense NY ) it often does not work. The road to NY , not only in sports, is littered with guys who could not take the pressure, nevermind succeed or thrive.

            When it does have a chance, its usually a free-agent who goes into it with eyes-wide-open, not when he is awakened by a call from his agent and on a plane the next day to the City!!

        • Chip

          The Joba rules were in place to assure all the Yankee fans that Joba wouldn’t be “Proctored”. We as fans always clamor for more information and now you’re complaining? And all the time a guy will come back and the manager will say, yeah he’s on a 80 pitch count this game, it’s not unusual.

          You want to bring up the 2005 draft? Fine, who would you have picked then? The 5 picks after the Yankees were Cesar Carrillo, John Mayberry, Mark Pawelek, Clifton Pennington and Aaron Thompson. I’m not seeing any impact prospects in that bunch. Sure the sixth pick afterwards was Ellsbury but how are we supposed to know this little guy with good speed would be really good? If you want to complain about the draft how about you fast forward to 2006 which may go down as the best draft the Yankees have ever had?

          And also, Cashman isn’t supposed to give Hank a reason for not trading for Santana. Is he supposed to say, “Hank, you’re an idiot and will blab to the media if I tell you about the offer on the table so I’m not telling you”. Yes, that’s what he’s supposed to say but Hank pays the money so he tells him, it’s not his fault that Hank then told the media why they’re not getting Santana.

          You think that there’s some huge conspiracy to put Enrique Wilson in the outfield? Honestly, Cashman doesn’t tell Torre how to fill out the lineup card. He build the team and he’s done a damn good job.

          • mike


            So we are syaing that Cashman is a great judge of talent and a fine manager of people, but he had to micromanage his empolyee because the employee (Torre) has a history of hurting assets (Proctor – to name one)? So on one hand he didn’t tell Torre how to plan out a lineup card, but he told him how to manage his pitching staff?

            I do not know who I would have picked in the 2005 draft – but apparently CJ Henry was a bad choice, and while some players behind that pick have not made an impact, others have. In fact, Henry has been terrible. I dont know how this can be defended – and if the answer is “who else is there??” is that really an answer?

            • Chip

              I’m saying that CJ Henry wasn’t a bad pick at the time (and did help us get Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle) but at the time you never know who’s going to develop well and who isn’t. My point is that yes they missed with that one but they’ve hit with a ton of other ones. At least we have CJ back in the system and could possibly one day be a decent player, we don’t know yet.

              And just because he said that Torre can’t overuse Joba doesn’t mean he sends down a lineup card for Torre to use every game. He did the Joba rules for the idea of protecting a young arm

              • mike


                We got Henry back because the Phillies released him….and we traded him just so Gillick would be able to say he got something back and it wasn’t solely a salary dump..they had a pretty good young shortstop at the time on the field.

                Picking a high-schooler is tough business, especially for an offensive prospect, so if you do it in the 1st round (unlike a safer college pick) you are really running a risk if you fail.

                I believe that Cash has made some better choices since then, and hopefully some will pan out to help the club – and some are already.

                I didnt mean to imply that cash is faxing down a lineup card for the manager, but i do believe there is pressure exerted which we do not know about, and sometimes if you stand far-enough back you can see the conflict evolving….do you think Torre liked Edwar or Farns last year? Didn’t Cash jam Cano down his throat?

                I just do not understand why Cash is bullet proof – each GM makes misstakes, but is he better than most? I dont think so.

      • Geno

        “also, this whole point is kindof stupid.”

        I don’t know why (maybe the few beers I’ve consumed), but this cracked me up. All I can think of is Rick Moranis in Spaceballs: “Now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb!”

    • Ivan

      To be fair, Hawkins was a flyer, also the spotlight was gonna be on the young pitchers regardless and especially in NY.

      Also, while cashman hasn’t done great with pitching, he has been unlucky with Pavano and Vasquez. Plus, lets be honest if you read the interview with Newman, it’s hard to find impact bats because most of them are gone and they felt the pitchers (most of them RHP) were safer bets.

      For the last couple years wehave move from the bottom of player development to one of the better teams in baseball. For the last two years the Yanks yielded to top pitching prospects in Hughes and Joba, This while the pitching isn’t great, the positional players have been pretty solid with Montero, Romine, A-Jax and I still have alot of faith in Tabata. Not to mention the two legit stars in Wang and Cano. Plus, he’s develop some bullpen arms like Bruney, Veras, Robertson and Ramirez.

      Cashman has his flaws but for the last couple years he’s done a solid job and has the potential to get better.

      • cult of basebaal

        yeah, the hawkins thing is a non-starter. let me know the next time he pitches a high-leverage inning. he was brought in as an insurance policy, to buy time for the young arms in the minors, nothing more. which is exactly what has happened.

      • mike

        I dont think he was unlucky with Vasquez, he made a poor choice in over-valuing a pitcher. Vasquez is a nice pitcher who has had some successful seasons – he is not a stud, which Cash thought he was getting.

        • Ivan

          Vasquez was a very good pitcher who mechanically was screwed up in the second half of 04. If the yankee brass was patience he would probably pan out. People forget he was an All-Star in 04.

        • steve (different one)

          who is a “stud” in your opinion?

          Vazquez’s 4 seasons prior to the trade:

          218 IP – 119 ERA+
          224 IP – 130 ERA+
          230 IP – 108 ERA+
          231 IP – 139 ERA+

          he was 27, very good, and ridiculously durable.

          if you don’t think Cashman should have traded for this guy, you are saying that you should almost NEVER trade for anyone.

          at the time of the trade Vazquez was better than Dan Haren when he was traded to AZ, and yes, Josh Beckett when he was traded.

          he was basically the living definition of a player the Yankees should target.

          • mike

            If we want to play the game on paper we can get the Stratomatic out and the Yanks would be in the playoffs already.

            Unfortuantely, when a trade is made, there are consequences both to your team concerning the player you get and those you get.

            Would you make the trade again knowing what you know now?

            • steve (different one)

              Would you make the trade again knowing what you know now?

              if i could make trades with knowledge of the future, i would be the greatest GM in the history of the world.

              this is just simply a ridiculous way of looking at it.

              • mike

                steve – I love you – but do you have a boss? How do you get paid for what you do? You present what you have accomplished when you for a raise, and maybe offer a future plan, and your boss says OK.

                when that plan doesnt work out, or needs to be changed and costs more money – your job is at risk.

                Your boss will ask you what happened, you will tell him what/why, and many times you will have a defensible position, because you are not an imbicile and you thought it through.

                He will ask would you do it again, or what would you have changed knowing what you know now.

                If you answer “thats a rediculous way to look at something” you will be watching Oprah tomorrow on your couch

      • christopher

        dont forget tradng a hghly tradable commodty n sheffled for a guy who has thrown what 25 pitches n the mnors and the yankees defently could use a rghty bat no matter what a prick he was. do they do physicals before sgnng guys? couldnt they have gotten anythng better – maybe a young bat to put in the system.

        then tradng johnson back to AZ. Granted ther wasnt much of a market, but the couldnt do better than a medocre mddle relever and a 5th infelder?

        • Ivan

          That is totally unfair. That was the best deal he could of gotten for Sheffield especially Sheffield comming off aninjury plague year, his questionabl attitude and his age and asking for money. Yes Humberto sanchez was damage goods but they took a risk and they felt long term will help. Randy Johnson had very little value and he got a young Power arm and good defensive SS.

        • A.D.

          Sheff had a good first half last year, then nothing, Sanchez will probably still help this team more then Shef would have going forward

  • Jamal G.

    I completely understand the points you made about the growing pains causing a return to the ways before Brian Cashman focused on growing the farm system. However, with quotes from Hal (and even Hank) Steinbrenner and Cashman I feel that the Yankees have a plan in lace. I also feel they have basically expected the growing pains but felt that the organization was deep enough to withstand performance issues. Case in point this season. Coupled with the performance issues have been the health issues and yet the Yankees are three losses behind the A.L. Wild Card leading Boston Red Sox. I think that speaks volumes to the idea that Cashman and the Yankees’ front office personnel have not only prepared for a lack of instant performance from the youth movement but fully expected it.

    I say we’re in good hands. Even though the mainstream media (and more than a few knee-jerk, ignorant fans) may have you believe otherwise, the Yankees best chance of continued success is with the plan Brian Cashman and his people have laid out and followed to this day.

    • steve (different one)

      However, with quotes from Hal (and even Hank) Steinbrenner and Cashman I feel that the Yankees have a plan in lace.

      actually, the wrote the plan on more of a chiffon. j/k.

      i agree.

      it is looking more and more like the Yankees, starting 2-3 years ago, have set their sights on the 2009 season as the year they will launch the next version of the team.

      new stadium.

      quality free agent class.

      tons of money coming off the books.

      reduced revenue sharing bill.

      they have held onto their prospects and hoped their offense would propel them to the playoffs each of the last few years, and it has.

      it may be frustrating b/c they could have sped up the process by trading for Santana, but i think the guy have targeted is Sabathia, not Santana.

      by signing Sabathia instead of trading for Santana, they could keep all 3 of Hughes, Kennedy, and Wang, and perhaps trade one of them for a young OFer who will be a fixture for the next 5-10 years.

      it was gambling on 2008, but looking at it cynically, the Yankees were guaranteed record attendance this year no matter what the on-field product looked like. and it’s not like they were putting out a BAD team. they weren’t. this team was projected to win 95 games. and after all the injuries, they still might win 90-92 games.

      i am psyched to read Hal say he is committed to pursuing superstar free-agents AND bring along young players. this is the correct approach.

    • mike

      Jamal – but tell me where we will be in 2 years? Im as big a supporter of the “youth movement” if for no other reason that it feels better if the guy comes thru the system, but in 2 years we will need 4 starters (if Wang stays healthy), a closer, 1B (maybe Posada?), SS and an entire outfield – thats if Arod stays competent at 3rd, and Melky/Ajax is OK in center, and Montero takes over as catcher.

      There are a bunch of “if’s” there, and we have all seen what happens with young players – not all hit, and very few are stars.

      Personally I think the Sox will be in the same place, as their offensive guys coming up ( or the last 5 I have seen) are all “average” hitters with little pop, so when Manny and Papi are done they will be on a hunt for hitters as well.

      But, they have demonstrated an ability to develop younger pitchers and get them to the majors (the only exception was hansen, who they rushed and now regret it), and their rotation looks pretty solid for the next 5 years. And they did defelop a young hitter with pop, but traded him for a horse.

      Is it because they would rather have a character risk ( Bucholtz) than an arm risk ( Brackman/Melancon/Cox?)? Do they have a deeper system, or just a more mature system a few years ahead of the Yanks? I don’t know – but im afraid that if even a few of these guys do not work out for the Yanks, they will be stuck in a pretty bad spot.

      • Jon

        Stop embarrassing yourself.

        • mike

          ?? help bring light into my darkness…i dont want to embarass myself anymore

      • Ivan

        But that is why they called risk mike. Like the old saying goes, the biggest risk is not taking one. Cashman and Co know young players especially pitchers have risk no question and understand the situation/circumstances. Those are chances that they are willing to take. Buster Onley wrote his blog a week ago how the yankees spending ways and lack developing has caught up to them since the end of 01. Cashman is trying to change that and with there going to be risk.

        • mike

          I hear you, but are we counting on a Tex/Sabathia offseason? Thats my personal quandry, because if we do not, there seems to be a real gap in our system and available players (or those who would be free agents) in the market for the next few years, even if all goes well with the minors

          • Jamal G.

            Mike, every organization has more than a few gaps they have to fill over the course of a couple years with no immediate replacement in the Minor Leagues. Making that point on the Yankees is not indicative of bad personnel management. Nobody, and I mean nobody has every base covered for their potential 25-man roster in 2010.

            As for your buzz-cut boy Ted Lilly, he gave up six hits and four Earned Runs without even completing three innings today.

            • mike

              You are right Jamal – every team has gaps, and very few have the luxury of an Arod and Mo ( perrenial MVP and CY Young talents) under contract for the next few years.

              But the Yanks have been hit with a combination of bad luck and poor managment, but poor managment leads to greater bad luck!

              For instance, and I don’t even want to say it because he is horrible – why didnt the yanks sign Livan as a back-up #4 or 5 starter? I know he is a horror-show, but when they spend almost as much for a Hawkins, and the plan is to have 2 rookies, a 39 year old off of a 5era season and a guy named in the Mitchell report as your staff, I think that would be a better move. You could always spin off Livan if all went well with the kids, but hawkins is dead weight. That would be an instance of better planning to bridge a dicey situation.

              And while Lilly got shelled, I heard Weaver had a terrific shot out of the rough on the 17th hole lol

              • Jamal G.

                There you go with that hindsight thing again. If you think the Yankees should have signed Livan Hernandez to anything but a Minor League deal you have to be mistaken. In 204.1-IP last year he gave up 34-HRs, 247-Hits, 45/23-K/BB ratio, and a *ERA+ of 95, 95! Who the hell would ever sign that type of crap (in the National League no less) to pitch in the A.L. East?

                • mike

                  Livan is never the solution to a problem, but as a #5 to go 6 innings a night and not kill your bullpen when he pitches is something alot of teams could use right now….

                  Were you comfortable coming into the season with this rotation? we all hoped it would go well ( Moose would be the culprit if anyone) but if you were running a company, would youhave bet your job on the rotation as I mentioned above, or would you have another arrow in your quiver?

                  This is my point about Cashman, and why managment is often a no-win situation, because you are ultimately judged on results. He bet Rasner/Karstens/Igawa would be enough to get through a failure of one of the starters until something opened up ( via trade or a minor-leaguer stepping up), then Joba would slide into the spot anyway, so Rasner/Karstens/igawa would be the “long-guy” or spot starter. He was wrong, even though a hurt rib and pulled lat is not his or anyone else’s fault.

                  How should we judge Cash – by his plan or by the results? Who was better – Grant or Lee? Who had a better plan on paper? Who got the brakes? Who had the resources? It doesn’t matter – Grant won. Lee was out of a job.

                • Dread Pirate Roberts

                  Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

                • tommiesmithjohncarlos

                  WAIT TILL I GET GOING! Now where was I…

                • Chip

                  I’m all with Jamal on this one. You want a 5th starter who gives you 6 innings and doesn’t kill the bullpen then look no further than Sir Sidney! Honestly, guys like him are nothing special and don’t belong in this rotation, they’re fillers. We came into this season with Wang, Hughes, Pettite, Mussina, Kennedy, Horne, Rasner, Karstens with Joba on the horizon. You really think we should have signed another shitty pitcher?

                • mike

                  Yes but we got Sir Sidney because of the Grace of Texas and Tequilla, not because of any planning.

                  And to answer your question

                  We came into this season with Wang, Hughes, Pettite, Mussina, Kennedy, Horne, Rasner, Karstens with Joba on the horizon.

                  The answer is Yes, because we have the need for Ponson despite those named above, and there is absolutely no other move to make if any of the current guys have an ingrown hair – how can we justify rolling Rasner out there again?

              • Jamal G.

                Lastly, I feel this season has proved the damn good personnel management of the Yankees. How many teams can you expect to be just three losses shy of a playoff spot when they lost 60% of their Opening Day rotation (including their ace), their best and third best offensive producers from a season ago (Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada) to significant DL stints, and significant slumps from 44% of their Opening Day lineup (Derek Jeter, Jason iambi, Robinson Cano, and Melky Cabrera)?

                • mike

                  When you build a rotation with 2 rookies with a total of 15 starts between them, a 36 year-old HGH user and a 39 year old who should have retired ( at the time)…..count on a 37 year-old guy to man the field more than he has done since 2002….you should be right where they are.

                  I thought, to be honest, Ensberg/Bettemit/Molina would be fine, and I thought Gardiner/AG ( or his type as a pinch-runner / late game defense ) was the best bench they had in years – i was wrong.

                  I also thought Ollie would be a nice 7th inning guy, and Veras would get shelled – i was wrong there too.

                  Im not saying its easy, but for $200 million every year, 4.5 million fans and starting with a championship roster of guys entering their prime when he took over, i think some criticism is warranted.

              • Brad K


                You are right on the money. There doesn’t appear to be a plan “B”. Youth is great when and if it pans out. In either case most of what Cashman hoped would put him in a good position in 2009 hasn’t worked out this year. Now they run the risk of finding out next year that Hughes and Kennedy may not be made for NY or the MLB at all. Only time will tell but it will be interesting to see what all of Cashman’s crew here at RAB will be saying when the reality of what has happened sets in.

                You just can’t win the argument here at RAB. This site is essentially a mouth piece for Cashman.

                • steve (different one)

                  You just can’t win the argument here at RAB. This site is essentially a mouth piece for Cashman.

                  or maybe the site just happens to be run by and frequented by a smarter class of fan?

                  i’m sure you could take your arguments to LoHud or WasWatching and be treated like a conquering hero.

                  but yeah, mike is “right on the money” by arguing that counting on Giambi, Pettitte, and Moose are somehow evidence of Cashman’s failures.

                  so when Cashman’s moves don’t work out, he’s stupid, but when they are hugely successful, he’s what, lucky?

                • mike

                  Its not a 0-sum game Steve – you can be right sometimes and wrong sometimes. Some things Cash bet on went well, some things went really well and surpassed all expectations, and some things crashed and burned.

                  I dont know why there is even an issue with such a position, and why its impossible to discuss potential alternatives which may or may not have made the Yankees more competitive without making personal attacks, or slamming other sites.

                  You know your stuff ( im not patronizing) but look at some other perspectives too

            • A.D.

              Jamal’s right no originization is going to be grooming an AS at every position no matter how far you look into the future and its redic to think so.

              Youth gives you options, you can trade it, move positions around, and let it develop, as with any team theyre not going to be 100% home grown, some of the pitching may be traded off, and the yanks will sign free agents, it’s about a quality mix not all or nothing.

              TJ has a 95% success rate in todays day and age, making those pitchers far less of health risk, and that was the way the Yanks could get a top closing prospect, and a guy who was suppose to be the #1 overall pick in the draft. Teams that succeed don’t have luxery of top 5 picks.

              The red sox system has a bunch of slap hitter, are you going to win a WS behind Jed Lowrie & Ellsbury & Youk, I doubt it, Lars Anderson is suppost to be a power threat, he’s in A ball, there’s a way to go. Otherwise they have some good starting prospects, but so do we, whose are better, time will tell

      • Count Zero

        I think you’re getting panicky here.

        Assuming that the plan works out to at least some degree, two years from now our starting rotation would be Sabathia, Wang, Joba, Hughes and ?. So by my calculation we need 1 starter. There are several candidates in the system including IPK who I am not ready to throw in the towel on just yet. I don’t know of any MLB team who knows for sure that they will have 5 quality starters two years from now.

        A 1B? This has got to be one of the easiest holes to fill in MLB. Basically, you need a guy who hits. If you want a “star” at 1B, there’s a guy named Teixeira on the market this off-season.

        A SS? I agree. Unfortunately, some guy named DJ is probably going to keep playing there until he keels over…so even if the AG were to suddenly get pop, there would be no place to put him.

        C? Well you have me there. One can only hope that a wealth of MiLB pitching can be parlayed into a decent C somewhere in the next two years. Montero won’t be starting in MLB before 2011 even if he’s the next Johnny Bench.

        I don’t think the Sox’ ability to develop young pitchers is quite as clear cut as you’re making it out to be either. They have had mixed success. We could pretty much say the same if we look at Wang and Joba and some guys named Hughes and Kennedy who are still very much in play.

        • mike


          There are alot of “hopes” in the plan, and its razor thin;

          What if Sabathia does not come to NY? That is my biggest issue with the staff, moreso than counting on the kids – i look at them as gravy, as we have seen how delicate young pitching (really any pitching) has become.

          I do not think Tex is the “answer” at 1B – he will be better than average, IMO, but cost us a ton of $$ for a long time – and then Posada becomes a DH ( and blocking the DH hole ) with dwindling production for the next few years – I am scared of shoulder surgery, and we cannot have Mackey Sasser behind the plate.

          DJ, in two years, will have the range of a fire-hydrant, and combined with dwindling Arod range will make Wang’s ERA go thru the roof – nevermind offensive slowing-down. There will be time for a change- but 1B is manned by Posada/Tex… what?

          Sox pitching is pretty good – for all I hate to say it – Lester , Pap & Bucholtz have all more-than-succeeded, and Masterson and Delcameron have pitched very well too. Their development and success at ML level dwarfs the Yanks youth pitching

        • Chip

          I’d have to say that I almost completely agree with you. First base is pretty much always a position you can just throw somebody into. And we don’t need both first and catcher as Posada will be manning on of those positions. He’s honestly not a horrible catcher, he’s just not as good as Molina. Keep in mind we also have Cervelli out there somewhere who could be decent.

          If you really look at it, we could have McCutchen, the Mexican Gangster, Jason Jones and Kennedy who could be looking at the 5 spot for the next 2 years. Also, you never know if we sign a Ben Sheets or someone of that caliber. I’m perfectly fine with a starting rotation where Hughes (aka the guy who is supposed to be a future ace) is the number 4 starting pitcher. The Joba and Hughes tandem could really be something in a couple years.

          As for SS, yeah there’s no way Jeter is getting moved anytime soon unless he wants to. Problem is that there’s nowhere outside of the outfield to really put him (maybe 1B but he doesn’t really have the bat to play there) so he’s probably on short for the time being. If Cano never does come around you can move him to second but I don’t see second or third opening up anytime soon. Hopefully by the time he moves, either a good FA shortstop is available or Angelini can be close

      • RustyJohn

        I’ll hop in for shits and giggles- first, you assume that over the next two years there is nothing that is going to be done to address these concerns- as if Cashman wakes up one day in 2010 and says, “Fuck! I need a brand new team! Everyone’s contracts expired or they retired!”

        But, let us address this issue one at a time- first, how will we need four starters in two years? Let us assume that there is not a free agent signing this year, that leaves Wang and Joba in the rotation with Hughes, IPK, Horne, et al to fill the remaining three spots. However, there will likely be a FA signing or two so that leaves one spot. Next year either Mussina or Pettite will likely come back. This does not address the guys on the DL like Brackman.

        A closer- I think there are about four guys in the system that can address this issue years down the road- bullpen and future bullpen arms are not an issue with this organization- with Britton and Bruney coming back they will have so many arms they won’t know what to do with them.

        First base- again, a bunch of names in free agency this year.

        I think you are misinterpreting what has been occuring over the past couple of years- it isn’t Cashman’s intention to build the entire team from the farm system. The problem has been there was ZERO talent in the farm system (exception with Cano, Wang) and it was so thin there was no chance of either building from within or trading for talent. Right now they are thin on position players but have several good arms which can be traded for position players. Rome wasn’t built in a day but I think your concerns that in two years that the Yankees will be up the proverbial creek without a sufficient means of transportation are misplaced.

        In two years, if they do nothing, they will have so much money off the books with Pavano, Giambi, Damon, Matsui, Abreu, Pettite, and Mussina gone that they could afford to take a speck of Joe D’s semen off of Marilyn Monroe’s wedding dress and clone him.

        • steve (different one)

          In two years, if they do nothing, they will have so much money off the books with Pavano, Giambi, Damon, Matsui, Abreu, Pettite, and Mussina gone that they could afford to take a speck of Joe D’s semen off of Marilyn Monroe’s wedding dress and clone him.

          holy crap, amazing.

  • Rich

    It’s not Cashman who needs to have a backbone to withstand the transitionary process, it’s Hal and Hank, and based on Hal’s comments after meeting with Cash and Girardi, it’s clear that he fully understands and supports the course that Cash has recommended:

    “The young pitchers at the beginning of year,” he said, “it was upsetting at times. It wasn’t what we thought. It didn’t go exactly the way we thought it would go. But, you know, that’s the way it is. We’re highly confident in Kennedy and Hughes and that they’re going to come back strong when they do come back.” (emphasis mine)

    I really don’t sense the panic among the fanbase that you suggest there is. I think people are frustrated, but that’s to be expected given the Yankees’ record of success since 1996 (really since 1994).

    There are several explanations that provide context for why Hughes and Kennedy had a difficult time adjusting to the MLs in April. The Yankees suffered several key injuries (A-Rod and Posada) which negatively impacted the offense’s ability to provide run support. Also, Cano and Giambi were in massive slumps.

    Let’s also not forget that Hughes’s rib injury had to have been fairly significant (and therefore painful) given how long it has taken him to recover. So I don’t think it’s unreasonable to totally dismiss his underperformance, and I’m confident that he will be as effective as he was against Cleveland in the ALDS once he gets acclimated.

    I also think that if Joba had been in the rotation in April and pitched as well has he has, it would have taken some of the pressure off of Hughes and Kennedy because it would have provided what I would call peer support.

    btw, I was adamantly opposed to trading for RJ at the time because he had pre-existing knee and back injuries that are bold red flags for any pitcher, especially one over 40. I hated giving up Navarro because there was no other near ML ready catching prospect in the mL system and Posada was entering his mid-30s. I agree that Vazquez should have been given more time here. The trade, however, was probably one of the last move’s that George ordered.

    In that regard, it has been acknowledged by Cash that he wanted to sign Beltran instead of using the money on RJ, and he wanted to sign Vlad instead of Sheffield. Imagine how much easier this transitionary process would have been with those two bats in the lineup.

    Finally, another reason the transition has been difficult is because the Yankees drafted so poorly for over ten years until Cash was put in charge of the draft. Consequently, there was no inventory to rely on and as a result, Cash had to patch and fill with the Pavanos and Weavers of the MLB world.

    Anyway, no smart baseball executive makes decisions based on the whims of the fanbase. His job is to lead, not to follow.

    • steve (different one)

      excellent post.

    • Chip

      Thank you, I couldn’t have said it any better!

  • Jamal G.

    You know how you know your franchise has forever sucked? When Richie Sexson in three and a half seasons was able to amass the ninth most Home Runs in your club’s history.

    Anyways, Richie Sexson has been released. Minor League deal for the win!

    • mike

      If he signs, its an absolute no-brainer.

    • E-ROC

      When Girardi decides to go with a much more righty lineup against a lefty, I will be able to breathe easier knowing Richie Sexson will be in the lineup.

    • whozat

      I’d actually be willing to offer Sexson a major league deal for the pro-rated minimum. He’s a 1B that crushes lefties. Turns out that’d help us a bit :-)

      I thought he was defensively OK, but RLYW has him listed at -5 defensive runs, which is actually worse than Jason. Of course the same defensive rating system has Abreu at minus 15 runs defensively. And I saw Bobby rated at 3 runs above average somewhere else about 6 weeks ago. Not sure how he could have gotten THAT bad in that stretch…so maybe there’s some odd weighting going on.

      Anyhow. Sexson costs nothing and would take away ABs from Betemit’s righthanded bat. I’d give him a shot, unless Xavier Nady can be had for a couple magic beans.

      • Jamal G.

        Range wise Bobby Abreu has been ranked dead last amongst A.L. RF’ers for almost the entire season.

        • whozat

          Ok. But I saw a defensive metric, I think from the fielding bible, where he was rated at +3 runs above average about 6 weeks ago.

      • Hybrid Moments

        Who the hell cares about Betemit? Hes awful. His OBP skills have disappeared, he can’t play the field, and he is a strikeout machine.

        • steve (different one)

          Hybrid, i am starting to sense that you don’t like Wilson Betemit.

          • Hybrid Moments

            I was all for Betemit for Proctor. I am really mystified when it comes to where his ability to walk went.

    • RustyJohn

      You are all smoking crack if you want Richie Sexson on your team. I’ve had the displeasure of watching him every day for two years- he is done. When a team, even as stupid a team as the Mariners, releases a guy to play Jose Vidro or Miguel Cairo at first, that should tell you how much he sucks.

      • whozat

        If we were talking about grabbing him to replace Giambi, you’d be right. However…we’re talking about picking him up to replace Shelley Duncan/Morgan Ensberg’s role — a righty who can hit lefties and play solid D at first base in a STRICT platoon.
        Sexson has crushed lefties this season. WE’d be taking ABs away from the righty half of Wilson Betemit.

        What’s the risk?

        • RustyJohn

          From a financial standpoint, none- I would assume you’d have to DFA or demote Betemit or one of our 40 catchers for the roster spot- the D isn’t too solid and the bat is pretty bad- he has some sort of open stance now that has taken away all his power, despite the homer this week. In essence, you have a 6 ft 7 singles hitter.

  • leftylarry

    I think Cashman is and has always been terrible.
    He doesn’t understand the difference between a special difference making player and a limited prospect.
    I’m all for developing and using the minor league system becuase I hate the luxury tax and think Yanks will get a better bang for the buck in the long run with a great minor league system but you need to understand the idifference between players who have good but limited upside and SPECIAL players and when you have a chance to get a SPECIAL difference maker, you get him, with-in the context of your salary structure of course.
    I first knew Cashman was a buffon when he didn’t want to give up Ricky Leedee to get Jim Edmunds.
    Leedee had already spent 5 years in the minors where he was hitting less than Edmunds was in the majors and they were only a few years apart.Yet Cash couldn’t see the difference, couldn’t see that at 25 Leedee should have already done it or it wasn’t happening, while Edmunds was a Superstar caliber player woh could hit run and field.
    best tihng that ever happen top Cashman was having the excuse that George Steinbrenner was a meddler and a win it all now type guy.
    Without that Cash’s horrible trades and constat poor decisions would have exposed him long ago.

    • Joseph P.

      Dude. It was Soriano for Edmonds. At a time when we still had Bernie under contract through ’05.

      • steve (different one)

        yeah, but who needs facts?

        obviously Cashman was so attached to Ledee that he flipped him for Justice 4 months later.

        • Count Zero


      • Rich

        I think it was Soriano and Mendoza, which is why Torre was opposed to the deal.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos

          “Leedee” and “Edmunds”… ugh.

          Seriously, STFU.

          • Rich

            WTF are you talking about? I never mentioned Ledee. Seriously dude, are you high?

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos

              Not you, Rich. I’m laughing at the idiocy of leftylarry up there.

              I mean, how am i supposed to take someone seriously who not only is a Yankee fan/baseball fan who doesn’t know how to spell Ricky Ledee’s last name, but doesn’t know how to spell Jim Edmonds’ name either?

              I mean, it’s Jim Edmonds! He’s a media darling who was on SportsCenter on a nightly basis… and it’s a pretty common and easy last name too… It’s not like Mike Krzyzewski or T.J. Houshmandzadeh, it’s just Edmonds.

              I mean, nevermind the fact that he had his facts all wrong and was indignant about Cashman not making a trade that was never proposed in the first place…If you were reading a political blog and somebody kept saying “Dick Chaynay”, wouldn’t you think he was an idiot who should stop talking?

  • Alex K.

    Awesome post and I agree 100%. Very well articulated.

  • Reggie C.

    Hughes and IPK have taken HUGE steps backwards. The kinks they were supposed to work out remain mainly b/c injury has stolen valuable development time from both of them.

    Hughes comes back in late July and throws — 50 innings? 60 innings? ITS A LOST SEASON FOR THAT GUY! He’ll run into innings cap next season b/c he’s so darn precious and needs to be coddled. Its all BS at this point.

    I for one am hoping that Hughes comes back and pitches well , but that we ship him OUT OF TOWN for the best OF hitting prospect possible. Maybe we can land someone like Cameron Maybin or Colby Rasmus. St. Louis is gonna be in the mkt for a young pitcher.

    Its time we got this team better in a hurry. Let Abreu walk. Plug in a Maybin type. Sign CC Sabathia & re-sign Pettite. I can live with a rotation of CC, Wang, Joba, Pettite, & IPK/Horne/McCutchen.

    • Ivan

      Hughes and IPK have taken steps backwards but I wouldn’t say huge steps. Why trade hughes for Maybin (who has been overrated) when you have A-Jax. I am not trading Hughes for Colby Rasmus (and I doubt St. Louis would that deal either) besides the Cards have Garcia as their top pitching prospect who’s pretty good.

      Then you want him topitch well so you can trade him. Gee why?

      • Jamal G.

        I wholeheartedly disagree with him but I would not say Cameron Maybin is overrated, that guy has scary potential and tools.

        • Ivan

          Yea so does Dexter Fowler, A-Jax, Jennings McCutchen and those guys are ranked slightly below the first tier prospects but yet Maybin was always first tier. His tools are great but he ain’t a top ten guy. Nevertheless a terrific prospect.

      • Reggie C.

        I know the approach i’ve taken is uncoventional but i really believe it makes this team better. There are very good Of prospects knocking on the ML door that can be got by trading Hughes.

        A-Jax is our future CF and should be groomed as such. Getting Maybin or Rasmus or whoever would put the breaks on rushing A-jax .. who’s gotta keep working on consistency and contact. But it looks good so far with that kid.

        Leaving only ONE spot open on the rotation for the best pitchers in our minors is a way of stabilizing this rotation’s performance. This is the approach that should be taken imo…

        • whozat

          You’re talking about trying to trade for one of the best prospects in the game. In order to do that, you have to trade young, proven players. Like…if Cano was having another solid year, you could probably trade him for Maybin. Maybe.

          • Reggie C.

            That’s why the ideal trading partner in my scenario would probably have to be a contending team. Somebody like the St Louis Cardinals who’s just seen the Cubbies improve. there are OFs out there that can be got for Phil Hughes. I think the marlins would be less inclined to make that move. But that’s why Melky is still getting his ABs…

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos

              Maybin was just the centerpiece in the deal that brought in Miguel Cabrera AND Dontrelle Willis… and now you think he can be had for Phil Hughes.

              Get real.

    • Joseph P.

      “He’ll run into innings cap next season b/c he’s so darn precious and needs to be coddled. Its all BS at this point. ”

      Tell that to J.P. Ricciardi, who just lost Dustin McGowan for the season, one year after he made an enormous jump in innings pitched.

      • Jamal G.

        But Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax did it!!!11!!

    • A.D.

      Hughes will extend the innings in winter ball, he’ll prob still have a some type of cap next year but not that bad

  • steve (different one)

    I can live with a rotation of CC, Wang, Joba, Pettite, & IPK/Horne/McCutchen.

    really? you can live with that?

    thank God.

    hilarious the sense of entitlement amongst Yankee fans.

    i don’t know: a stud #1 lefty, a borderline #1/2 sinkerballer, a young stud with potential #1 upside, a borderline hall of fame lefty who is a #2/3 at this point, and then whatever else to fill the #5 spot.

    you drive a hard bargain.

    • Reggie C.

      Okay. I would change that line to “I would love to go to war with…”

      Landing CC is no sure thing , but in order for this strategy to work , obviously the Yanks would have to get CC first. Hughes isn’t going anywhere if we can’t sign CC.

    • steve (different one)

      Reggie, ignore the line about “sense of entitlement”, i didn’t get what you meant at first.

      i misunderstood, and there is no edit button. i see what you are saying now.

      my bad.

  • christopher

    agree wth not tradng the young stud ptchers (although thnk kennedy s nothng more than a 5th starter), but the past sytnsasty wsas bult on growng form wthn and usng ther cash to flll n the holes through free agency.

    another note – the brewers wll most likely lose Sheets and Sabatha. How does a Hughes fo Felder sound to the brewers especally f t\hank opened of the wallet and sgns one if not both of the brw crews top 2

    • steve (different one)

      this is the right idea, but the wrong player.

      no thanks on Fielder.

      i want guys who can field their position.

      • Ivan

        To be fair, who gives a fuck about defense if you can hit. Fielder sure may suck at first base but if he’s mashing like he’s capable of doing, trust me your not gonna care for defense. Manny Ramirez is not going to the HOF for his D. The only thing I worry about Fielder is his weight because his father ate himself out the league.

        • Jamal G.

          I understand the argument between offense and defense (especially at First Base) but I am not trading a commodity in a young, cost controlled Phil Hughes for a luxury in a slugging, potential $10-Million arbitration eligible Prince Fielder.

          • Ivan

            I am not advocating trading Hughes for Fielder atall but I am just saying that defense is overrated if your bat is that good. Ted Williams was a bad outfielder but when your a career .344 hitter and an OBP of .482, he got away with it.

            • Jamal G.

              Oh, ok. Yeah, couldn’t agree more, especially for a First Basemen.

              • steve (different one)

                i generally agree about 1B, but Fielder is REALLY bad.

                as in much worse than even Giambi.

                and do you think he will get better or worse?

                i am not saying i wouldn’t want Fielder if he were available. i would still want him, even if he DH’s.

                i was just saying that if the plan were to target a young position player to cash in some of our pitching prospects, i’d want to target someone a little more athletic.

                i admit i don’t know who that player is.

    • Reggie C.

      Brewers not letting Fielder go since they just traded away LaPorta. But that’s the way we gotta start thinking.

      • whozat

        Nope. Gamel is what made them feel ok trading LaPorta. Fielder may not get traded this offseason, but they won’t sign him long-term.

        • Jamal G.

          I don’t know about that. If the Brewers GM, Doug Melvin, feels that Prince Fielder might win an arbitration hearing in the off-season and be rewarded $10-Million, a la Ryan Howard, they might put him out there and see who bites.

          • Ivan

            Especially that Fielder’s agent is Scott Boras.

        • Ivan

          But don’t scouts feel that Laporta was a better prospect than Gamel.

          • dan


          • My Pet Goat

            That’s why it took LaPorta to get CC. Also I forget, was Ted Williams morbidly obese?

            Here’s what I think… the Yankees should trade Kennedy to the Mets for Santana and Beltran cause we whiffed on them and I’d like another crack… Then we should sign C.C. and Texiera, and then we should trade Rasner AND Karstens to Baltimore for Weiters. Ship out Hawkins for Lincecum and Ponson for Hanley Rameriez. And fire Cashman. That cue-ball sux!

            • Chip

              Wow, it’s all suddenly so clear to me now! You should be a GM!! :D

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      No, Christopher, the past “stynasty” was built on growing “form” within and “usng ther cash” to fill in the holes, it was built on growing from within, patching holes in free agency, and trading several of our prospects for integral, central components like David Cone, Tino Martinez, Chuck Knoblauch, Roger Clemens, Scott Brosius, Paul O’Neill, etc. etc.

      I love how people always forget that part.

      • mike

        Agreed -TSJC – do you think the Yanks scouted themselves better then ( we also made deals for Irabu, Neagle and others using our minor-leaguers), because it was very infrequently that the guys they traded away came back to bite us, and the guys they kept mostly matured into productive players.

        In some cases the Yanks ability to pay was certainly a help (Cone, Justice, Irabu, Knobby), but in most cases it was good old-fashioned trades between teams where the Yanks came out ahead.

        I personally feel that Cash is suffering from pride of authorship with respect to the minors these days, where in the past- when his legacy was not tied into a youth movement – he was more apt to push for a trade

  • Number 27

    pete abe just posted the lineups for tonight. bottom four = cabrera, molina, christian, mussina. YIKES.

    • Count Zero

      I hope Moose is planning to pitch a shutout…

  • Ricochet

    I’ve been trying to get this POV across for some time now. As I’ve said here and elsewhere I love the fact that the Yankees have rebuild the farm and are willing to put the money and effort to keep producing talent but to take advantage of a good farm is to use it to the fullest and that means keep some talent and trading the rest.

    I have family in friends throughout the pro sports world especially in baseball so I do know how it works first hand so I think I have a better understanding then most and that’s why I never got caught up in the getting younger for the sake of getting younger.

    There is no completely right or wrong way to build a team and the young trend is fine when you don’t have them money or the constant pressure of NY and that why IMO a club like the Yankees should be a well balanced with Vets, guys near or just entering there prime and some youth.

    That said Hughes and IPK can be fine, Yeah so they’ve struggled early in there career a lot of the good pitchers weren’t the best from the get go.

    A thing to remember if they are mentioning the player has potential then it means he’s not there yet or that he may never get there.

    I think it’s foolish to pass on proven elite talent that’s still 30 or younger for prospects. I wanted the Santana deal, one of the best pitchers if not the best and he’s a lefty as well and all it cost was prospects that have potential and could end up being complete busts, average players or stars but not many guys even with potential end up being the stars that there ability might say could be.

    The point is when you can get elite talent for prospects you do it. I understand not trading a Phil Hughes or any other prospect with good potential for just a good player but for the elite players it’s not worth the risk that the prospects will pan out to the fullest.

    Another thing to remember is there is a big difference between potential and one’s stock. For example Jose Tabata’s potential is much better than that of Austin Jackson but his current stock isn’t, so that means at the moment he’s worth less in a trade.

    I can’t stress that I do love that the Yankees are bringing up more prospect once again I just think the farm would be better used if they were dealing some of the talent to help the club out elsewhere. Even the best are going to have bad seasons here and there but how do you pass up on proven talent like Santana or Sabathia?

    • mike

      Nice post – the only thing I can’t stand is the double standard for teams, and how we as Yankee fans have to apologize for wanting more.

      If I was an A’s fan – 4 games out of the wild card with flawed teams in front of me – and they traded their ace for a guy who is pitching out of the pen for a contender I would send back my tickets.

      The Brewers will get kudos for making a bold move, but the Yanks (or most fans on this site) would have went on a hunger strike if we traded 3 top 20 prospects in our system for Sabathia.

      We are (mostly) all Yankee fans, and I for one want to see a World Series Cahmpionship each year. I realize thats impossible, but when I’m paying $10 for a beer, $20 to park and $120 a ticket I expect alot back. If I am an A’s fan where the upper deck is covered by a tarp, I guess I’ll take a competitive team with an occasional shot at greatness.

      Acting decisevely is a hallmark of greatness – and when Cash helped orchestrate Clemens, Justice and A rod he was at his best – using the minors and money to get missing pieces – where did this guy go, where he acts as if we are the Cardinals or Twins, hoarding our minor-league talent when serious studs ( Harden, Santana, Sabathia, Haren etc) go off the board?

      • Travis G.

        it seems you’re in the minority here, mike.

        and i truly feel RAB has the smartest group of readers in the Yankee blogosphere.

        as for Milwaukee getting CC: who cares what the ‘experts’ think? it’s different for Milwaukee, who hasn’t been to a WS in a quarter of a century and haven’t won the WS ever! they see a once-in-a-blue moon shot at a real title run.

        the Yanks dont have to deal their top prospect bc we always field a good team and we can merely buy CC in the off-season, again without giving up our top prospect. Milwaukee doesn’t have those luxuries.

        if ‘acting decisively’ (which is completely subjective btw) is so great, wouldn’t that make billy beane great? the same guy you killed just a few sentences prior?

        • mike

          Travis – i agree this is where the brains are, and I have learned every time I have become involved with this blog – even when Steve and I are pissing on eachother!

          With the Brewers, I think that they might be around for a while with their minor leaguers, but also because their measure of success is an 88 win season and a battle in a weak division for a chance at the playoffs. At that, while losing Sheets and CC will be tough, they have some young arms, a monster lineup and a top-heavy minor league system to keep them moving for a few years.

          The Yanks, if betting on signing CC, are taking a big gamble. It was not too long ago when Zambrano and others were free agents-to-be, but teams came up with monies to keep them around and off the market. if money is CC’s bottom line, then the Yanks have as great a chance as the next guy – unless the Anaheim comes to the table and CC can go home…..

          I think Billy Beane is a fair GM ( according to my subjective standards) who parlayed a great young group of players ( most of which he had nothing to do with acquiring) into a competitive team for almost 15 years. I think in the past he has not been as decisive as his rep would indicate, as he kept guys (Chavez, Tejada etc) which he could have traded mid-season for a greater return and kept the ball rolling, but apparently he has a keen knack for knowing when to give up on guys!

          Its true – decisive is subjective and can be costly ( Omar ), but it often gives you the few extra wins at the end of the year – like 2000 (cash’s last great push, in my opinion) – the offense was horrible, so he picked up Polonia, Hill and put a claim on Canseco ( for which he was criucified), and made deals for Neagle and Justice as early as possible to wring more out of their talents. That season worked out OK!

          • Cult of Basebaal

            uh, yeah, cause the chicago cubs and the milwaukee brewers are totally the same market size.

            sabathia might sign somewhere other than new york, but he’s not signing in milwaukee.

            • mike

              My point is if he signs anywhere but the Yankees its another big-time pitcher off the board, making the Yanks rely on their existing, aging staff and their unproven minor-leaguers even moreso for the next year.

            • RustyJohn

              There is something to keep CC in Milwaukee- two words- “Weiner races”.

      • Cult of Basebaal

        bill bavasi traded for eric bedard.
        that was pretty decisive.

        • mike

          Cult – check my post above, because its something I often wonder about – how well the Yanks scout their own team as opposed to their successes in the past.

          My belief is Cash may be suffering from pride of authorship with his “build from the minors” plan, and that desire for a legacy to show he is just not a check-writer is hamstringing his team.

          Bavasi did a poor job of scouting his team – if he was correct and Bedard was the final piece, it was the right move. Because he was incorrect with the projections of the other 24 or 39 players besides Bedard, he is now unemployed

          • Cult of Basebaal

            or maybe he’s just looking at the bigger picture. maybe cashman looks at this team and thinks “we’re not just one ace pitcher away”. maybe he thinks trading away kids right now for the answer to the wrong question would set this team back far further than failing to make the playoffs in 2008.

            • mike


              You are likely right, but I believe he is wrong – especially this year, when the AL’s traditional power-houses are down a bit ( Cle, Bos, Det) and the team in front of them (Tampa) may not have the horses.

              If he traded for sabathia and didnt sign him – i agree he would be foolish – but bringing in sabathia is a step for this year and beyond.

              Hey, its the second or 3rd time that he has made that call ( of which we are aware – im sure there have been more) because im positive that every deal being made for a high-priced talemnt involves the Yanks at least kicking the tires.

              His belief in keeping the youngsters, even when the last 2 Cy Young award winners in their prime were available, is more clear than ever – I just hope it works out, because its a pretty big gamble to take with a greying offensive team.

              • cult of basebaal

                the thing that will prevent this team from making the post-season this year isn’t on the mound … it’s at the plate.

                what’s the point of trading for an ace, if your lineup is going to average 2 runs a game?

                you seem comfortable in mortgaging the future to not address the problem of the present and near future … this team needs young hitters and the best position prospects the yankees have are still probably 2 years away.

                evaluating cashman’s moves and non-moves needs to be done in the greater long-term context of where the yankees are and where we will likely be in 2008, 2009, 2010 and beyond.

              • RustyJohn

                It would be one thing if Sabathia was signed past this season, then I wouls say he is smoking crack if he didn’t give up Hughes, et al. This is especialy true now with Wang on the DL and the pitching staff where it is at. At the beginning of the season I can understand his refusal to get Santan on a long-term deal- even if one or both of IPK or Hughes didn’t pan out the rotation would have been Wang, Joba, Mussina, and Pettite.

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  • Max

    mike, i think this post by paul depodesta will help you understand why ur views seem to conflict so much with those on this blog. What Cashman can control is the decisions he makes, not whether they work out. All Cashman can do is make the best decision possible with the (best) information he has present, and odds are, over time, if he continues to make the right decisions then the wins and championships will come. Reasoned decisions are not based on outcome/ results based analysis.

  • Mike Pop

    i agree // great article by the way// i think we will make the playoffs this year plus having the danks/floyd syndrom for next year

  • Mike Pop

    maybe if he dealt for CC // CC would realize he wont like it in new york because of all the pressure/ i have no feeling that that was why we didnt make this deal becuz that would jus be dumb but maybe its for the best becuz if CC didnt like it here becuz of the media and waht not he wouldnt even consider resigning/// i for one want CC Tex / even burnett or sheets/ maybe a burrell// if our young guys come up we might be able to deal a guy like sheets or burnett/ lol my dream =]

  • Steve S

    I wanted to say thanks for putting up the post to the guys here and Im glad it sparked such a good conversation.

    I will qualify one thing. I like Brian Cashman, I think its hard to criticize a GM who has managed to get his team to the playoffs every year of his tenure. And I think its unfair to compare him to Theo Epstein and say thats how it should be done. Ill take Cash’s first five years on the job over anybodys. Theo has taken some risks over the past five seasons and a lot of them have worked out. Cash is taking some risks right now and hopefully they pay dividends.

    All that being said I do think Cashman has to be evaluated on both, the results and the thought process at the time. You can always make an argument for something (except Zambrano for Kazmir). But there is such a thing as bad luck and Cashman has run into it (as much as that can be said for making the playoffs every year). I dont think its time for a change. But I am concerned that he may have put these kids in a difficult spot. But as much as we criticize right now JOba looks like he is developing quite nicely. For anyone to have thought two of these kids, rather than all three would pay dividends right away was crazy. And I dont think Cashman believed that. He has guts though in being willing to take the lumps and the inconsistencies.

    I also wanted to point out that following the minor leagues and the development of young talent is a lot of fun, as I abolsutely live and die by Mike A’s DOTF. But even the best baseball evaluators cant always predict how these guys will turn out and at what pace. So I think we need to temper our enthusiasm for these guys and also realize that its not a sense of entitlement, its being a fan and wanting to win a World Series and go to those parades and buy those cheesy DVDs and bad t-shirts that they wear in the clubhouse.

  • Rob_in_CT

    “I just hope Brian Cashman has the backbone and the longevity to carry this plan to fruition.”

    Bingo. I second that. The plan is sound.

    As for the old “Cashman sucks!’ “No he doesn’t!” debate… The Vasquez trade was a good idea, and they *did* give up on him too easily. Weaver was more questionable, though lots and lots of people thought it was a good idea at the time. Pavano – again, questionable, but a reasonable projection would’ve had him as a 3rd starter with some nagging injury issues.

    If you want to rip Cashman for a pitching acquisition, IMO, you have to go with Jared Wright. Terrible idea, everyone knew it at the time, and the results were entirely predictable. He gets a big fat F for that one.