Never mind the Yankees’ current standing in third place, or their recent struggles. Both Steinbrenner brothers are now said by people familiar with their thinking to be on board with Brian Cashman as their general manager, for now and long into the future. Even if the Yankees fail to play into October for the first full season since 1993, club insiders say that the Steinbrenners plan to offer Cashman a contract extension after this season.
At the start of the season, as we well know, Cashman’s long-term prospects in the New York seemed to hinge on this season. He had very publicly — and with an assist from Hal Steinbrenner — declined to give up prospects (and perhaps Chien-Ming Wang) in a trade for Johan Santana and was putting his chips in the development basket. Now, we sit in mid-August, and the Yanks are firmly ensconced in third place, a distant five games behind Boston in the Wild Card.
Yet, as Heyman notes, the Steinbrenners have reportedly latched onto the positives this year. The Yanks organization looks very strong with Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero leading the charge. Plus, Cashman gained major points for his seeming coup in acquiring Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte for nothing more than Jose Tabata and a bunch of mid-level prospects.
Meanwhile, if the Yanks are serious about a new approach involving smart investing in free agency and developing quality youngsters from within, it never made sense to hold Cashman’s feet to the fire based on just the 2008 season. The Yankees are going to have to ride out a plan that takes a few years to see through, and that means Brian Cashman should return. Hopefully, Heyman’s report contains the truth. Hopefully, Cashman doesn’t jump ship to Seattle. Hopefully, the Yanks’ new approach will work for years to come.