The Cashman conundrumBy
Fact: Since 2005, when Brian Cashman supposedly “took control” of the Yankees, the team has gotten, record-wise, progressively worse.
Fact: The Yankees are witnessing a lot of money coming off the books in about two months. Jason Giambi‘s contract, minus an option, will be up. Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte will be free agents. Bobby Abreu will no longer be a ward of the Yankees. The list goes on, but the savings are quite alluring.
So where is this leading? Why, to a discussion, albeit a brief one, on Brian Cashman of course.
With this confluence of circumstances all arriving at the same time on September’s doorstep, the anti-Cashman voices will continue to make their cases. I’ll admit it; right now, these folks have some compelling arguments. The Yankees aren’t very good this year; they’re going to miss the playoffs for the first time since the first years of the Clinton Administration; and the kids — as Melky, Phil and Ian have shown — weren’t really all right.
There are, of course, other reasons for the Yanks’ disappointing season. They’ve been hamstrung by injuries. No one expected Phil Hughes to throw just 22 innings and then come down with an injury. Chien-Ming Wang‘s Lisfranc disaster has resulted in more Sidney Ponson outings than I ever hoped to see. Jorge Posada‘s shoulder problem has been more disastrous than anyone expected, and Hideki Matsui‘s aching knee cost the Yankees these years as well. Now with Joba — nearly the Yankee ace in July — has been MIA for a few weeks, that the Yanks are even as close as they are is a minor miracle.
So as the Yanks head into a stretch drive and a postseason with lots of alluring free agents and lots of money coming off the books, questions abound about the team. Do they keep following the youth movement? Probably. But, as Jayson Stark reported this week, the Yanks plan a full court press on Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and, if they don’t land Sabathia, Ben Sheets. They’re going to spend the money they have available to them.
When all is said and done, it comes back to Cashman. Is his autonomy on the wane? Should he even still be around? I’ve long said yes, and I’ll hold to that position. But the masses are growing restless, and the Yankees will again heading into November have the weight of the world on their shoulders as they look to rebuild and retool for a brand new stadium.