Rival GMs praising Cashman

To Babe on his 115th birthday
Open Thread: Simply the Best

Having the biggest budget in baseball makes life easier for a GM, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. The Yankees have had the highest payroll in baseball from 1999 through present, but didn’t win a World Series from 2001 through 2008 — the years when the Yankees really broke from the pack in terms of team salary. What happens, though, if the Yankees start to better allocate their vast resources?

In his column today, Bob Klapisch notes that the Yankees are setting themselves up to maximally use their resources for prolonged success.

In fact, there are enough baseball executives who think the Bombers are set to run off another mini-dynasty. They have the AL’s most talented roster, they have a $200 million payroll and, most importantly, they’re being run more efficiently than at any time in the last 20 years.

“I think Brian [Cashman] has learned a lot about running a team,” said one rival executive. “He’s made some mistakes, but if you go around and ask people what they think of the Yankees, the answer you’ll get is that they’re intelligently run.”

Yankees fans would surely be happy if the Yankees entered another dynasty period, but what about fans of other teams? Phil Birnbaum opines that while there’s evidence that it won’t damage the sport — he cites soccer’s Premier League, which features a small number of teams spending far more than their competitors — that there are certain fans who would turn away from the sport if the Yankees continue to make the playoffs, while the Royals and Pirates continue to toil in mediocrity.

Bonus from the Klapisch column: “[Girardi] cleared out the anti-ARod residue he’d inherited from Torre, Mike Mussina and Jason Giambi…” Hm. I can see Mussina being an anti-A-Rod guy, but Giambi? Sounds a bit odd, considering what we always heard about the guy.

To Babe on his 115th birthday
Open Thread: Simply the Best
  • bexarama

    I know Moose was all ornery and stuff, but I thought Mussina and A-Rod always got along. I know he defended him pretty robustly when The Yankee Years came out.

    IIRC, Giambi said that thing about A-Rod “not getting the big hit” or whatever that he later claimed was interpreted wrong.

    “Phil Birnbaum opines that… there are certain fans who would turn away from the sport if the Yankees continue to make the playoffs, while the Royals and Pirates continue to toil in mediocrity.”
    Eh, the Yankees have made the playoffs every year except one in the Wild Card era. The Royals and Pirates never have. Baseball’s been doing pretty well for itself.

    • ROBTEN

      Clubhouse narratives are a go-to genre for sportswriters because they allow the writer to appear as an “insider” and “part of the team,” while providing a story that can’t be called into question because in most cases it can’t be verified. In other words, it allows them to represent themselves as having access to the behind-the-scenes motivations that really shape the game and it is this “insider” knowledge that serves as the justification, in part, for reading their column.

      The comment about Mussina and Giambi being “anti-ARod” seems to me to be taking one or two statements from the past and using them to construct a convenient narrative that may be, but is not likely, true. Once Mussina implied that A-Rod made a poor decision in the field and there is the Giambi comment you reference. Is this enough to say that there was an “anti-Arod” faction?

      While there may, in fact, be other examples and it may, in fact, all be true, the deeper problem is that the story of an “anti-ARod” faction in the clubhouse makes it seem like “intangibles” and “chemistry” are what determine whether a team does well. The truth is that playing baseball is a job. Just as people don’t like everyone they work with, I am sure that there are players that don’t like each other. It makes for a nice story, but it doesn’t matter. As many others have said, teams that win(n) get along and have “chemistry”, teams that don’t win(n) don’t.

      Plus, the end of the column–“The Yankees can leave the teleprompter at home” when Girardi delivers the state of the team address–just gives extra life to what is a ridiculous political meme.

      • bexarama

        Excellently put. Though, I don’t think teams getting along and winning and not getting along and not winning are mutually exclusive. I think it helps you like your teammates more if you’re winning a lot, and it puts you on edge if you’re not winning a lot, but I’m sure there are plenty of teams that didn’t get along so well and won (the 1977 Yankees say hello) and plenty of crappy teams that really liked each other.

        Though, you forgot that they called him A-Fraud and Teh Cooler!!1!11!!!! His teams ALWAYS DID BETTER when he left! ALWAYS! Just look at the 2000 Mariners vs. that team in 2001! And it didn’t have anything to do with pitching or offensive upgrades pretty much everywhere else that replaced A-Rod, it was all that bum leaving!!!!

        (And was there anyone that Mussina didn’t say made poor decisions in the field behind him?)

        • ROBTEN

          I think it helps you like your teammates more if you’re winning a lot, and it puts you on edge if you’re not winning a lot, but I’m sure there are plenty of teams that didn’t get along so well and won (the 1977 Yankees say hello) and plenty of crappy teams that really liked each other.

          That’s exactly the point; it’s frustrating to read columns like this because “chemistry” has become such an easy way to explain success rather than having to deal with boring things like reality, facts, statistics, probability, etc….

          Perhaps more sportswriters should read this:


        • alightiningrodfan

          bexarama, get a grip. Do you really think that your argument is the least bit convincing? If I were the Mariners, I would do everything possible to get A-Rod back. Same with every other team he left. He has a ring. How many other folks he played with can say that.

          • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

            Hmm…not sure you picked up on the tone of his post.

            • bexarama

              her ;)

              ding ding ding.

              • alightiningrodfan

                Well, that is very possible.

                • whozat

                  Many, many, many comments on here are made with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

                  The general tone of the community here is anti-anything-that-can’t-be-backed-up-by-evidence-and-critical-thinking.

                  Unverifiable narrative, player evaluations (positive or negative) that ignore luck/park factors/age curve, (b)oversimplification, ignorance of the position-dependence of player value, !eleventy!11…comments with these things in them are often sarcastic :-)

        • smurfy

          You guys sound very world wise, but I think it’s bluster. Why didn’t the Yanks win ’02 – ’08? Not enough good pitching probably says a lot, but poor chemistry may have let them die on the vine.

          If Moose was unfair in his criticism, if Derek and Jason were sneering at A-Rod, if Melky and Robbie kept an unholy alliance, if there was an atmosphere of jealousy, I would expect there were occasions of more show than go.

          And why did Joe Torre take a hike? Maybe someone noticed the smell.

          Not me. Didn’t hear a thing.

      • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

        So much THIS. I <3 ROBTEN.

    • http://rfoliva Rfoliva

      Nice Blog, well considered adult comments.

      By the way, has anyone done the calcs on how many more fans come to a ballpark when the Yankees are in town as the visiting team. I have been exposed to a small sample in California when the Yankees played the Angels and the Dodgers and Padres in interleague play and all those games were sold out weeks and months in advance. Some fans may not like the Yankee spending but the sure seem to enjoy watching them play.

  • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

    If the Yankees run off a dynasty, baseball will live.

    Welcome back to the glory days, my friends.

    Fun fact: The Yankees have won not one, but multiple championships in every single decade fom the 20’s to the 2000’s except the 90’s. That’s insane.

    • AndrewYF

      You mean the 80s.

      • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

        He’s just mad the Russians bombed Pearl Harbor.

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)
          • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

            No, the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor in the 40s. It was the Russians in the 50s.


      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        Well, yeah. My bad.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      I like to call that era the “Coincidence of Don Mattingly”.

      • ROBTEN

        “The Don Mattingly Coincidence” would be a good name for a band.

  • Tom Zig

    there are certain fans who would turn away from the sport if the Yankees continue to make the playoffs, while the Royals and Pirates continue to toil in mediocrity.

    It’s not the Yankees fault Dayton Moore has Rick Ankiel and Soctty Pod in the same outfield.

    • Gil

      How well do you think a Royals/Pirates World Series would do ratings wise?

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        Actually, I think it wouldn’t do bad. If the Pirates don’t do bad they don’t have an awful fanbase.

        • For Lack of a More Creative Name.. Alex

          Yea, unlike the Rays, the Pirates actually have a market should they significantly improve.

        • DP

          Same with the Royals.

  • Cecala

    The Yankees are the best thing to happen to baseball. They are the team that other fans love to hate, and when another team wins the World Series, you always hear that they did it without a 200 million payroll…

  • KDB

    If Kansas City, and/or Pittsburgh only challenge, in their respective
    divisions, the fans will re-embrace them.
    Not so Tampa, sorry, Rays.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    I would like the Red Sox and Yankees to get back in the trading business with each other. That would be exciting.

    Here’s what I propose. Ca$hmoney and Theo get to protect one minor leaguer each, after that, Theo picks one minor leaguer from the Yankees and Ca$money picks one from the Red Sox. Straight up 1 for 1 trade. That would be kind of cool.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno


      Obviously, the Yankees would protect Montero and the Sox would protect whom? Kelly?

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        They would absolutely protect Kelly.

    • Stormrider6

      Eric Wordekemper for Casey Kelly. Do it.

    • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

      We should pick up poor little Junichi Tazawa so he doesn’t have to face Al anymore.

      • bexarama

        I love that he sort of had this look on his face that was like “Sigh. Glad that’s over” after A-Rod’s HR.

    • http://frosthendu.blogspot.com/2010/01/normal-0-false-false-false.html Steve H

      Assuming they protected Kelly, who would you take? Best player available or need specific?

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        I bet they wouldn’t protect Kelly, they would protect a position player, a legitimate position player.

      • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

        I’d assume it would be a hybrid of both. It just so happens that the Red Sox have good talent in the OF in Reddick, Westmoreland, Kalish, Lin. Some of them are ready to contribute to the big leagues, or are pretty close.

        The Yankees have some really raw guys with talent in Sosa, Almonte, DeLeon and probably a few more whose names are escaping me at the moment. What they don’t have are guys that project to hit their ceilings that are within four years of making it to the big leagues. The RS prospects would definitely help in that area.

        Slade’s the only Yankee I know of and he’s probably at the four year mark. So Westmoreland is the easy favorite in that group, as he’d become the top prospect or be very close behind Slade. Sure, he’s still young and in the low minors, but by most accounts, he’s good. Really good.

        The other option is Enrique Iglesias. His bat may not play in the big leagues but there is no doubt about his glove. Jeter’s likely going to sign a 3-4 year deal at the end of next year. Iglesias will be 21 next year when Jeter signs a new contract. He’d have the luxury of developing his bat in the minors and at the least, working his way in as an elite defensive utility guy or a heir to Jeter who could be mentored. It’s a longshot, but why not if you’re trading a one-for-one?

        • camilo Gerardo

          yay! homegrown stopgap, in iglesias, in theory

    • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      Fairly interesting idea but it likely ends with the Yankees picking Westmoreland or…Jose Iglesias! Shit, I said it. You’re dizzy now. The Red Sox likely grab Romine or ManBan.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        I bet they would take Jestin Romtero, aka Gary Sanchez.

        • JSquared

          Can’t wait to see him play…

        • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

          Possibly, but if they need catching help sooner than later (and I think they do), Romine could be as little as two years away. Sanchez is closer to 5-6 if he even gets there. Romine offers the best blend of promise and production on a one-for-one if they are going for need. (I’m assuming Montero is gone in this scenario.)

      • http://frosthendu.blogspot.com/2010/01/normal-0-false-false-false.html Steve H

        Heh. Iglesias is who I was thinking of above when I mentioned need specific. There’s a mystique and aura about that.

        • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

          I’m thinking about doing an aggressive marketing scheme in which I get an actual branding iron and burn it into people. They’ll remember the website then.

    • Salty Buggah

      We grab Westmoreland (though I’m still not sold on him) and they grab…Melvin Croussett!

      • http://frosthendu.blogspot.com/2010/01/normal-0-false-false-false.html Steve H

        No offense to Montero, but they’d protect Melvin.

    • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      BTW: Nice semi-threadjack, Andy.

    • alightiningrodfan

      I would like to see another rivalry with the Yankees besides the Red Sox. I know folks love it but after 30 years of watching this rivalry, I am ready for a new one.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        My rebuttal:


        Thank you for your posting your thoughts. JMO.

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          Take out the first “your” in that final sentence.

          • alightiningrodfan

            Rocky, tell us how you really feel…

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              Bursts into tears.

              It all started when I met JMK…

      • countryclub

        They’ve been fighting with the Angels for almost a decade.

  • Salty Buggah

    “…but if you go around and ask people what they think of the Yankees, the answer you’ll get is that they’re intelligently run.”

    Not if you ask Lombardi.

    About the Moose thing. While I can see Moose being against A-Rod, I don’t think its true. We never really heard much him being anti-Arod. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not true but still, in my opinion, it’s not.

    • vin

      or Bisciotti

  • http://frosthendu.blogspot.com/2010/01/normal-0-false-false-false.html Steve H

    If you want proof that money alone doesn’t make the Yankees successful, look no further than the Knicks or the Redskins.

    • JSquared

      They still have a salary cap, they can only make so many mistakes until they run out of moves… Unlike the Mets, who could still make moves, but will most likely be mistakes anyway.

  • Nick

    New York has come a long way if you look at their 2006 roster. They got younger,more athletic and better defensivley. They actually got pitchers that strikeout guys and arn’t past their prime. Some guys actually came through their system and were a key part to #27.

    • bexarama

      I mostly agree, but I would have REALLY liked 2006 CMW and Mussina on the 2009 Yankees. *drool*

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        There’s no pleasing some Yankees fans.

        They won the WS in 2009. What more do you want?

        • bexarama

          Trust me, I’m plenty pleased. Just sayin’

          • bexarama

            and I didn’t mean for my comment to come off as whiny.

  • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

    This is going to sound a bit crazy (and it’s possible I’ve had a bit too much Single Malt and it’s affected my already-poor sense of judgment and higher-level reasoning skills), but i would like to see the Yankees completely buck the draft system. Yes, they frequently go overslot and pay large bonuses to guys throughout the draft. But they’re generally within range of the other teams in terms of draft spending.

    I’d go with best player available at every slot regardless of signability. Spend $15 million on the draft and load up with 20 guys with top-tier talent. I believe it was former Yankee (and current Pirate) Russ Ohlendorf who noted the pure value the team makes off prospects. Don’t get me wrong, $15 million is a tremendous amount to spend, but say even five of hose guys really pan out. Having five very good young players be cost-controlled for six years enables great flexibility in roster constructing and trading. For the Yankees especially, that’s generally the cost of one good starter on their team. Now maybe none pan out (unlikely, but possible)—doesn’t the possible reward still outweigh the risk? It’s a one-time charge, something the Yankees can eat.

    If there truly is no cap on drafting, why not take absolute advantage of it and acquire as much as possible? I understand it’s logistically more difficult than that, as you must account for the players already in the system, where they start, are they fast-climbers, do they project move off position, etc., but if there is fundamental change to the draft/IFA upcoming, now would be the time to strike. It may also come at the expense of the major league budget or some other budget somewhere, but if the combined budget for the draft and IFA is somewhere around $15 mil., another $7 million could really add some difference makers.

    //picking up drink

    • ROBTEN

      I wondered about this myself and just found this interesting article from BP:


      According to the article, essentially the league–and certain owners–want to use anyway they can to keep salaries down and so have made it an inconvenience. It seems to imply that there is some level of collusion, not only among owners but (disappointingly) with the union as well, to keep bonuses down.

      The assumption is that paying big bonuses to draftees who have yet to prove anything creates a situation in which you are pressured to raise the salaries for all the other players (the owner’s concern) or effectively take money away from salaries for “proven” players (the union’s concern). So I would imagine that teams like the Yankees use their financial leverage to work the draft system just enough to get certain players that would otherwise not be available, without it effecting their ability to use that same leverage in the free-agent market by driving up salaries beyond what they define as “reasonable.”

      Of course, with the direction that teams are going in–locking up younger players earlier in their careers and being more reluctant to pay older players for past performance–it wouldn’t surprise me if some team decided to “blow up” the draft one year. But, you’d probably only get to do it once before they instituted a hard cap on draft slot.

    • camilo Gerardo

      Even if blowing up the draft meant we had to take it easy on the big league payroll, I’d still sign up for that. Joba and Phil have been ready for the big times anyways (supernova, too;) We don’t need Cliff Lee or Matty Cain. Let Dan Brewer or Damon Sublett be the saviors in Left Field; we don’t need Crawford or Werth.

      >=15millon on the draft? where do I sign? Respect Ohlie’s Gangster.

  • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

    “I think Brian [Cashman] has learned a lot about running a team,” said one rival executive. “He’s made some mistakes, but if you go around and ask people what they think of the Yankees, the answer you’ll get is that they’re intelligently run.”

    Mistakes? I think Nostra-Artist explains this well here: http://riveraveblues.com/2010/02/open-thread-an-rab-meme-dictionary-23397/#comment-767663

    • bexarama

      It’s not incorrect to say he made some mistakes. Every GM makes mistakes. What is wrong is the media portrayal, until this year, of Cashman as an idiot who made constantly awful moves but got away with it because of all the money he had, while Theo Epstein was a genius whose every move turned to gold (like what Sam I Am did there). A lot of analysts were seriously saying that the Red Sox had a better offseason than the Yankees last offseason, and that Smoltz and Penny would “easily” win more games than Sabathia and Burnett.

      Cashman’s not perfect, but I sure am glad he’s the GM of my favorite team.

      • Warren

        Those years also had a ‘Boss effect’ in the mix in decisions.
        No matter what an employee, Cashman, thoughts are management/owner can overrule the employee and make them do what they, the mgmt.owner, want.
        And as the employee, you get to take the blame of whatever was done, due to the mgmt/owner hiding behind the facade.

        Seeing Cashman has always been a person of integrity he would never say or hint that he was not at fault in “his” decisions during those years.

  • gfd

    Cashman has slowly gotten rid of all the headaches on the Yankees, that prevented them for 8 yrs from team chemistry. Sheffield, Abreu, Giambi, and finally now Damon. All of these were jealous of Jeter too!

    • Kiko Jones

      Yeah, Abreu and Giambi were scumbags! And screw Damon; what did he ever do for the Yankees?!

      /ungrateful, kneejerk reaction, Yankee fan’d

  • salty buggar

    Hope Damon has to sit out the season, maybe his head would go down!!

    • Slugger27

      u the same guy as “Salty Buggah”?

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  • throwstrikes

    Giambi and Mussina were 2 of the guys the media went to and who were willing to talk to them on but also off the record.

    The SI Lonliest Yankee article had both their fingerprints on it and both provided Verducci with info for the Yankee Years.

    Klapisch was in that clubhouse for years. He knows what he’s talking about.

  • http://newstadiuminsider.com Ross

    Giambi made some pretty damning A-Rod remarks for that Sports Illustrated story back in ’06… Remember?

  • http://rfoliva Rfoliva

    and by the way, how many American League East pennants did the Yankees win between 2001 and 2008? Yankee fans,including me, are spoiled. In any other sport the record during the 00″s would be considered a tremendous accomplishment.

    While bashing Cashman, consider that Roger Clemens and Andy Pettittee both took off during the 00’s and forced the Yankees to have to scramble to get pitchers. Even with that they were quite competitive.

  • yanksfan4life

    Thankfully,I myself have NEVER been a spoiled fan.Having been a fan since 1964 (and seeing them finish 10th,dead last,in ’66)I appreciate the team,whether they win a Series or not.The only time I really got pissed was in ’04,blowing that 3-0 lead.(Which wouldn’t have happened if Andy was still there).All you post-’95 fans(the spoiled ones),I went from 64 till 76 without them being IN a Series,then from 81 till 96,again,without them even getting IN a Series.So enjoy the recent success,and quit your damn whining if they don’t WIN a Series.It’s NOT your birth right.

  • nyyankeefanforever

    If the cheap greedy owners of the Royals and Pirates invested some of the luxury tax money they receive from the Yankees in better players and baseball men like Cashman, maybe they wouldn’t “continue to toil in mediocrity” Joe. Truth is, since the wild card era began the Yankees have made the playoffs every year but one, and MLB has fared quite well without them. Fans who love the game enough to become disgruntled will not “turn away” from the game — only from their own pathetically run teams, and direct their allegiances elsewhere. Why else would you see Yankee caps and shirts throughout the crowd in every AL stadium the Bombers play in. They aren’t ALL expatriate New Yorkers!

    For a musical comedy tribute to this very phenomenon, you should check out “Joe’s Job – The Ballad of Terry Francona” at


    Go Yankees! 28 in 2010!!!