Let’s play the Brian Cashman blame game!


Via MLBTR, I see that Ken Davidoff has written a piece categorizing the Yankees moves since Brian Cashman became GM. This is something we’ve talked about, oh, 18 gazillion times in the past, but it’s worth a revisit as the season winds down. I’m not sure exactly how Davidoff came about this information, but he’s got a bit more access than we do. So let’s see how it breaks down.

Cashman All The Way: Bobby Abreu, Alfredo Aceves, Armando Benitez, Wilson Betemit, Kevin Brown, Brian Bruney, Shawn Chacon, Tony Clark, Roger Clemens (both times) Johnny Damon, Kyle Farnsworth, Glenallen Hill, Kei Igawa, David Justice, Al Leiter, Cory Lidle, Hideki Matsui (re-signing in November 2005), Damaso Marte, Tino Martinez (his return), Jose Molina, Mike Mussina (re-signing in November 2006), Xavier Nady, Denny Neagle, Carl Pavano, Andy Pettitte (his return), Sidney Ponson (both times), Darrell Rasner, Mariano Rivera (re-signing in November 2007), Alex Rodriguez (the 2004 trade), Ivan Rodriguez, Javier Vazquez, Robin Ventura, Jose Vizcaino, Bernie Williams (re-signing in December 2005), Jeff Weaver

His Player, Not His Price: Jason Giambi, Sterling Hitchcock (re-signing in December 2001), Steve Karsay, Jorge Posada (re-signing in November 2007), Rondell White, Bernie Williams (re-signing in November 1998)

He Might As Well Have Been at the Atlantis With His Family: Aaron Boone, Jose Contreras, Dwight Gooden (return in 2000), Chris Hammond, Orlando Hernandez, Randy Johnson, Travis Lee, Jim Leyritz (re-signing in November 1999), Jon Lieber, Esteban Loaiza, Kenny Lofton, Raul Mondesi, Alex Rodriguez (re-signing in November 2007), Gary Sheffield, Ruben Sierra (return in June 2003), Darryl Strawberry (his re-signing in November 1998), David Wells (return in December 2001), Jaret Wright

The only real surprise on that list is Kei Igawa. I thought for sure that wasn’t a Cashman move, but rather an organizational move in response to losing the Matsuzaka bid. Funny how Cash had nothing to do with bringing in Jose Contreras, nor with trading him.

What do you guys think of the list? I think, if it’s true, it helps his case for a new contract. What it’s missing, though, is the moves he put the kibbosh on. Most of those, unlike the Santana deal, we’ll never know about.

Categories : Front Office
  • frits

    Someone had to do it –

    WIN: Bobby Abreu, Alfredo Aceves, Brian Bruney, Shawn Chacon, Tony Clark, Roger Clemens (first time), Johnny Damon, David Justice, Hideki Matsui (re-signing in November 2005), Tino Martinez (his return), Jose Molina, Mike Mussina (re-signing in November 2006), Xavier Nady, Andy Pettitte (his return), Mariano Rivera (re-signing in November 2007), Alex Rodriguez (the 2004 trade),

    FAIL: Armando Benitez, Wilson Betemit, Kevin Brown, Roger Clemens (second time), Kyle Farnsworth, Glenallen Hill, Kei Igawa, Cory Lidle, Damaso Marte (purely on 08 results), Denny Neagle, Carl Pavano, Sidney Ponson (both times), Darrell Rasner, Ivan Rodriguez (same as Marte),

    • E-ROC

      Wilson Betemit, Cory Lidle, Damaso Marte failed? Please explain.

      • frits

        You’re prob. right on Betemit and Lidle. I’m low on Betemit, but considering what we gave up for him (RIP, Scott’s elbow), it wasn’t a bad move.

        Marte is a fail in my mind on 08 results thus far, even though he’s been on the upswing lately. There’s certainly a legit case for him being a win, although the biggest win from that trade is certainly Nady.

        • E-ROC

          I think Girardi Torre-rize Marte as soon as he got’em. Once Marte recovered from the abuse, he’s been solid. The Yanks might pick up his option or let him walk. Either the results of the trade haven’t been made apparent, at least in my opinion.

          • steve (different one)

            how was Benitez a fail?

            he was traded for nothing prospects, then flipped for Jeff Nelson a few weeks later.

            so he got something for nothing.

            also, you might want to go back and look up what Glenallen Hill did as a Yankee. Hill was no where close to a fail.

            • jsbrendog

              no he wasn’t lol and thank god for steroids!

    • Mike A.

      I’m sorry, but how is Rasner a failure? You know what they gave up for him? The $25,000 waiver claim price, that’s it. I have no issues with Ras being the 6th or 7 starter.

      Win for me.

    • Ed

      I don’t think you can call Darrell Rasner a fail. He cost nothing to get and was never expected to be anything more than a 6th starter.

      Armando Benitez is also hard to call a fail. We gave up 3 nobodies to get him, 1 of which we got back through waivers less than a year later. We didn’t keep him long enough to amount to much before swapping him for another similar reliever.

  • frits

    also weaver = fail

  • E-ROC

    Cashman wanted Kevin Brown?

    Seems fair. If everything is true in that article, Cashman should be brought back next year. Too bad that list doesn’t show who Brian Cashman really wanted like Vlad Guerrero instead of Sheffield.

    • Joseph P.

      I think it was more he wanted to get rid of Jeff Weaver than he wanted to get Kevin Brown. Once again, just personal speculation.

      • Ed

        The story that I’ve always heard was when Pettitte left, it was Cashman’s idea to acquire Brown to replace him. Torre said to Cashman that Weaver had to go, hence the trade.

        I still don’t understand how the Yankees ended up including cash in that deal. Weaver was signed to a fair contract and Brown had one of the largest contracts for a pitcher ever. So the Yanks end up sending cash?

        That trade looked bad at the time, and certainly wasn’t looking any better when Brown picked a fight with a wall…

        • Joseph P.

          I thought it was a win. They got rid of Weaver and got a pitcher coming off a great year. And all told, Brown wasn’t that bad in ’04. Well, until the aforementioned wall incident.

          • Ed

            In ’04, Brown looked ok due to an ability to dominate Tampa Bay. He had a 1.88 ERA vs Tampa that year and a 4.70 ERA vs everyone else. His first 3 starts of the year were against Tampa, each time giving up 1 run over 7 innings. From start #4 of the season on, he had a 4.62 ERA.

            Brown did have a great ’03, but the several years prior to that were marked by repeated back injuries, which as we know ended up recurring and ending his career.

  • yanks26ngoin

    Corey Lidle should not be mentioned on the win or fail sections of his moves. We were never able to really tell if he would be a win or fail. May he Rest In Peace.

    Considering the moves, if their true, that were Cashmans decisions, I would give him whatever he wants. Thats a pretty impressive resume of guys that were his doing, because most of the guys did/are producing.

    • jsbrendog

      not only can we not guage the cory lidle thing because of his unfortunate accident but the guy cash gave up for abreu AND lidle ended up coming BACK later for NOTHING. sorry, but even if it was the worst trade ever thats a win because if you give up nothing (at the time knowing it is absolutely nothing but a salary dump) and it fails, so F-in what?

      • frits

        true. move lidle to WIN.

  • radnom

    “What it’s missing, though, is the moves he put the kibbosh on. Most of those, unlike the Santana deal, we’ll never know about.”

    Also missing is who he might have signed if not for front office interference. (Vlad instead of Sheffield is one we sort of know about).

    Even with those missing pieces, this list certainly makes it clear where they good baseball moves came from.

    • steve (different one)

      very true.

      did Randy Johnson prevent Cashman from signing Beltran?

      if so, that is a HUGE piece of information.

  • radnom

    Oh and where is Tony Womack in this list? If I remember the speculation correctly, he would be under the Atlantis category, correct?

    • UWS

      Also, where’s Scott Proctor?

      • Mike A.

        He’s got to be a win, he came with Bubba Crosby in the Robin Ventura deal.

        • UWS

          I know, and I agree totally, but he’s conspicuously absent from The List.

          • steve (different one)

            that whole series of trades is one win after another:

            it starts with Justice. Win.
            Justice traded for Ventura. Win.
            Ventura traded for Proctor. Win.
            Proctor traded for Betemit. Win.

            this is all based on the timing of the trades. in other words, the yankees got a great year/WS title from Justice in 2000. then they got a great year from Ventura in 2002. then they got a great year from Proctor in 2006. then they traded Proctor before he fell apart (you might call it “selling high”).

    • Joseph P.

      I heard a funny story about Womack. Apparently, the team execs and baseball people were meeting in Tampa that off-season. Cashman mentioned that Cairo’s agent wanted $2 mil. Damon Oppenheimer then blurted out something along the lines of, “screw that! we could get Tony Womack for that much.”

      • UWS


      • jsbrendog

        hahahahaha oh opie

  • Felixfella

    I honestly thought the Igawa move was spearheaded by Aferman who also was responsible for the Matsui Signing.

  • Felixfella

    And Aaron Small=Win.

  • steve (different one)

    also, this list should have Jeter under “his player, not his price”.

    it is well documented that Cashman had a 7 year, $119M deal all worked out with Jeter the winter before he signed his 10 year $189M deal but George wouldn’t sign off on it.

    • Ed

      The story I always heard on the smaller Jeter contract was they were close to a deal, then A-Rod signed his contract. That raised the bar, causing Jeter to ask for more money.

      • steve (different one)

        no, it was a full year earlier.

        here is a link to the article:;type=news

      • steve (different one)

        i apologize if this winds up double posted, my first post got lost.

        the deal is that Cashman had worked out the smaller contract the winter BEFORE A-Rod signed. here is a link to an ESPN article from january 2000:;type=news

      • steve (different one)

        i keep trying to post a link but it won’t go through.

        type “Jeter Cashman contract” into Yahoo! and go to the 7th article down. the one from ESPN from January of 2000.

        it was a full year before the A-Rod deal.

  • The Ghost of Dan Pasqua

    Tino Martinez
    Paul O’Neill
    David Cone
    Jimmy Key
    David Wells
    John Wetteland
    Jeff Nelson
    Mike Stanton
    Graeme Lloyd
    Tim Raines
    last but not least – preventing Mariano Rivera from being traded.

    Gene Michael was a way better GM than Cashman will ever be.

    • steve (different one)

      most of these moves were made by Bob Watson.

      Watson was GM from October 23, 1995 to February 2, 1998.

      that means Stanton, Lloyd, Raines, Nelson, Tino, and Wells were Watson moves.

      last but not least – preventing Mariano Rivera from being traded.

      you do know that Michael left Mariano exposed in the expansion draft, right? and that he once offered him to Detroit for David Wells?

      Michael was great, but he got a little lucky with Mariano.

      • The Ghost of Dan Pasqua

        thanks – actually I do know re: Watson. and I meant to type
        Bernie Williams – not Mo. Williams apparently would have been traded for Darren Lewis had Michael not stepped in.

        • steve (different one)

          fair enough.

          Williams does belong as a Michael credit. so does Jeter and Pettitte. he did a great job in that respect.

          he was also able to do a lot of this b/c Steinbrenner was suspended from baseball at the time. things might look different if he weren’t.

          is it any coincidence that Cashman has just started building back a solid farm system AFTER George surrendered control?

          what people seem to forget is that Cashman is a Michael protege. that is exactly what he is trying to do right now. he still has Michael in his inner circle of advisors. Cashman wants to emulate that model and what people aren’t allowing for is the same time that Michael got for the seeds he planted to flourish.

          Michael didn’t build a WS team overnight. it took 5 years to start paying off.

      • Ed

        Mariano was left exposed in the expansion draft because he was coming off Tommy John surgery. He wasn’t very appealing at the time.

        • Hitman

          Not to mention he was throwing 88 mph before the surgery.

  • Mike Pop

    Just let this asshole walk already

  • Mike Pop

    Joba Phil Cano Dellin Z Mac Garcia Austen Jackson Tabata Shelley Duncan Monter0 Romine——-Win

  • Mike Pop

    Kevin Brown game 7 of the 2004 Alcs –Fail

  • The Ghost of Dan Pasqua

    I don’t think your buddy Shelley Duncan will be wearing a WS ring anytime
    soon Mike. Jackson’s first name is “Austin”.


    • Mike Pop

      LOL shelley is a win when he hit 2 hrs in one game thats all i need to see

  • Mike Pop

    Would anyone like Maggs Ordonez if we got him for mainly salary relief and 2 b prospects or so

    • steve (different one)

      here is the rest of his contract:

      09:$18M, 10:$15M club option ($3M buyout), 11:$15M club option (no buyout)

      options guaranteed at $18M for 2010 & $15M for 2011 if Ordonez has:
      135 starts or 540 PAs in 2009, or
      270 starts or 1,080 PAs in 2008-09

      i think i would do that.

      • Mike Pop

        Who could we give up tho ?

  • steve (different one)

    from the original list:

    Ruben Sierra (return in June 2003)

    this is interesting. since they traded Marcus Thames for Sierra. and it would be nice to have Thames now.

  • Mike Pop

    Miranda tonight !!!

  • BG

    Its a little unfair to compare Gene Michael to Brian Cashman. They were working under much different circumstances. Even when you try to parse which guys Tampa was responsible for and which guys Cashman is responsible for, you miss that its much easier to build a championship team than to try to maintain a dynasty for long without ever rebuilding. Consider the Kevin Brown acquisition. If your mandate from above is you need to build a team that can win a championship today, and there are no available premeir free agent starting pitchers to sign, the minors are barren at least partly from trades to maintain a championship calibur club and low drafting slots, and jeff weaver is your most tradable piece at the major league level, you are left with taking on someone else’s salary problem and gambling on getting on the health and performance of Kevin Brown. You can’t view these moves in a vacuum. What were the better options that he dismissed in favor of the Brown deal? I don’t remember any. I remember at the time thinking it was remarkable that he could get a pitcher of Brown’s pedigree without giving up more than Weaver and cash. Also what might he have done with the resources that Tampa used in their moves. Its hard to say.

    • steve (different one)

      it was also a very different economic environment.

      there is no way the Cone trade could happen in 2008. none.

      the Yankees got a #1 starter, from a team in their own division, for nothing.

      it just wouldn’t happen today.

  • 1996 Yankee Alumni Society

    Good points – and/or opinions – have been offered here. I think the one thing we can all agree on (off subject) is:

    Jonathan Papelbon is an annoying SOB

  • Chip

    Speaking of when Cash didn’t make trades. Remember the Andy Pettite trade he nixed? That’s a huge difference in the 1996-2002 Yankees right there if Pettite is gone

    • steve (different one)

      so true. credit goes to Torre too. George basically ordered Cashman to trade Pettitte to the Phillies. Cashman didn’t want to, but he didn’t really have the clout to overrule George at the time. i believe Torre stepped in and talked Steinbrenner down.

  • CR

    Who’s idea was Latroy Hawkins? Awful signing…

  • CR

    And how about Cashman trading away Gary Sheffield & Randy Johnson. Both have been unproductive & expensive since being traded, and some decent prospects are now in the system.

  • ortforshort

    You can’t separate what Cashman did from what the rest of the organization did, the moves are dependent on one another. Cashmanemphasized building the farm system when he gained more power, but you didn’t need to be Einstein to come up with that idea. He also constructed a poorly balanced team with too many similar skilled players – a lot of above average hitting lefties better suited to being DH’s. His lack of acumen as a baseball man also misled him into believing a couple of youngsters who throw in the low nineties could step in and be productive starters, without even giving himself a backup plan. Cashman also doesn’t seem to have the cajones to go for the big score – which will be a real problem this winter when they must go after the likes of Sabathia and Teixeira. If Cashman stays, I can see the Yankees coming out of the winter without those two, but with some moderately priced, moderately talented alternatives instead. Also, I can see him coming up with another patchwork squad because he doesn’t have a baseball man’s feel for what will dynamics can work out on the field.

    • rafael

      Okay, I’ll bite…

      You’re joking, right??

  • DonnieBaseballHallOfFameDotCom

    Overall Cashman has made some good moves and some bad. Like every GM.

    My major problems with Cash is his failure to build a bench in the last 4 years. The Sox do it as good as anybody in the game and we do it worse than anybody with any money.

    Also I would have to fire Cash for the Igawa and Weaver deals alone.

    One bum rap I feel like he has gotten is Randy Johnson. I think that deal was good in getting him, and in trading him away. Without Randy on the team we would have had two years without the playoffs.

  • ortforshort

    I’m not joking. What I don’t understand is why everyone is willing to give this guy a pass, no matter how poorly constructed the team is and how poorly planned this season was. Not only that, I’m not joking about this coming winter either. Look at his signings in the past. I don’t see any Guerreros or Beltrans in there. He hasn’t shown that he can pull the trigger on a big bucks, big talent signing. Cashman didn’t play the game and doesn’t have much of a feel for it. He’s a glorified accountant.

    • The Fallen Phoenix

      I think you’re missing the entire point, especially since Cashman WANTED Vlad and Beltran.

      • steve (different one)

        yeah, citing Guerrero is pretty dumb. Cashman was close to a deal with Vlad and George overruled him to get Sheffield.

        this is all WELL documented. google Buster Olney’s “addendum” to the Last Night of the Dynasty on ESPN.

        and Cashman did play baseball. he played 2B for Catholic University and was pretty good (for that level of play).

        you don’t seem to know any facts. that’s not a good strategy when you are arguing.

  • ortforshort

    The results or lack of them speak for themselves. You figure out why the guy has five lefty DH’s and let the season die because he had no backup plan after relying on using two young pitchers with mediocre fastballs. As far as the Guerrero thing, you’re right I didn’t know Cashman was overruled, same with Beltran, I presume. I stand corrected. Hopefully he’s got enough persuasiveness in the organization to get Sabathia and Teixeira deals done. We all want them, now let’s see if he can get them.