Feb
01

The Future of the Front Office

By

Billy Eppler shuns your camera lens. (Barton Silverman/The New York Times)

It barely registered as more than a blip on the radar, but the Yankees made a rather significant move yesterday. The club added former Cubs GM Jim Hendry as a special assignment scout, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Pro scouting director Billy Eppler was promoted to assistant GM, a move with some pretty significant long-term implications. Rather than explain why all over again, I’ll point you to what I wrote last June

When I look at the Yankees front office, one thing really stands out to me: there’s no obvious, in-house candidate to replace [GM Brian Cashman]. I’m guessing that’s by design, because why would Cashman want competition from the inside? He’s made himself that much more valuable to the franchise by making sure no one emerges as a potential replacement. From a business perspective, it’s brilliant. Assistant GM Jean Afterman reportedly specializes in contracts and negotiations, not necessarily baseball operations. Scouting directors Billy Eppler (pro) and Damon Oppenheimer (amateur) don’t have any kind of GM’ing experience, even at the assistant level. The closest thing the Yankees have had to a potential in-house GM alternative during Cashman’s tenure (at least recently) was Kevin Towers, who served as a special advisor in 2010 before taking the Diamondbacks GM job over the winter.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because when you look around the league, this is something pretty unique to the Yankees. Just to use the Red Sox as an example (since apparently they’re the measuring stick for everything the Yankees do), their official site lists something like eight assistants (with various titles) to GM Theo Epstein, including one former GM in Allard Baird (Royals). If Epstein leaves for whatever reason, AGM Ben Cherington could step in and the team wouldn’t miss a beat. In fact, he and current Padres GM Jed Hoyer served as co-GMs when Epstein briefly left the club in December of 2005, and the duo actually brokered the Hanley Ramirez-Josh Beckett trade in Epstein’s short absence. I just don’t see how that kind of seamless transition would occur with the Yankees.

Eppler has run the pro scouting department since Cashman created it in 2005, and prior to that he worked as a scout for the Yankees, Padres, and Rockies. He pitched at UConn once upon a time, but a shoulder injury ended his playing career before he had a chance to go pro. Joe Torre (and Tom Verducci) referred to him as a “stats guru” in The Yankee Years, but Eppler says that’s not the case.

“Is Billy a stats guy? No, and I joke with him about it,” said Bill Schmidt — the Rockies’ VP of Scouting — to Tyler Kepner in 2009. “But does he use it as a tool? We all do. Billy is a well-rounded scout, and any well-rounded scout is going to look at stats.”

Eppler’s promotion to assistant GM appears to be step one of creating the seamless transition that I talked about in June. He’s been in the mix for both the Padres’ and Angels’ GM positions in recent years, and reportedly was the runner-up to Jerry Dipoto for the job in Anaheim earlier this offseason. I’m sure other clubs have expressed interest in him in other capacities as well, we just don’t know about it. Cashman and former Yankees GM Gene Michael (currently an advisor to Cashman) have touted Eppler as a future GM in the past, and right now it’s clear that it’s only a matter of time before some team hires him for that role. Yesterday’s promotion is an indication that that team may end up being the Yankees.

Cashman is about to enter his 14th year as GM of the Yankees, and tenures of that length are pretty unheard of when it comes to baseball executives. He signed his fourth straight three-year contract back in November, so he’ll be around for a 15th and 16th season as well. What happens after that? We really don’t know. Cashman is still relatively young (45 in July), so he has plenty of GM years left ahead of him, at least in theory. The Steinbrenners love him and the team continues to win, so that side of it doesn’t figure to be an issue. Maybe another three-year contract is in the cards, but I get the sense that the next three years will be spent grooming Eppler to take over following the 2014 season.

Now, I don’t think Cashman will be fired or shown the door at that time, though it’s certainly possible, of course. It does come with the territory. I think it’s more likely that he’ll be promoted, however, perhaps to some kind of chairperson/team president capacity with Eppler stepping in as GM. It’s pretty much the same thing the Indians did a year or two ago, when long-time GM Mark Shapiro became team president and long-time assistant GM Chris Antonetti replaced him. That was the plan for years, and the Yankees could be setting themselves up for a similar kind of transition. Nice and easy, we’ll barely even notice.

I don’t have any kind of hard evidence to back this up obviously, it’s just a thought more than anything. Cashman’s been doing this GM thing for a long time now, and a promotion to a higher position is the natural order of things. Eppler is a valuable asset that other teams clearly have interest in, and that interest only figures to increase over the next few years. Rather than lose him to another club (which could still happen), they Yankees have put him in a position to potentially succeed Cashman and become the next GM. For the first time in Cashman’s tenure, there’s something resembling a line of succession in place.

Categories : Front Office
  • YanksFan

    Great article. A few thoughts come to my mind:

    Is is just a formal sucession plan? We fans may not know anything but the NYY may have had him in mind for it.

    Is this really for the NYY benefit or possibly for Eppler’s? He is highly thought of and finished second to someone w/ GM experience. Could this be to help him gain valuable experience to help his resume?

    The Yanks have found numerous scrap heap pickups and Eppler has to get kudos for it. I would love a Cash-Eppler team for years to come. Boy genius is president in Chicago but people still think he’s the GM.

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

      I don’t think the Yankees would have bothered to do it if they didn’t benefit somehow.

  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    to protect Eppler from going to another team, can they talk to him and set it up where he won’t leave, because they guarantee him the job after 2014?

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

      I would think so.

      • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

        Let’s hope he’s open to that then.

  • Owen Two

    The Yankees didn’t have a pro scouting department until 2005? That seems like something they would have had for years – but I could be wrong.

    • Gonzo

      Duquette scoffs at your notion.

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

      Nope. Cashman created the department when he signed his new deal after 2005 and supposedly got autonomy.

  • Ted Nelson

    The title is really not as important as the role/responsibilities. I would be more interested to hear how Eppler’s responsibilities change now. Does Kuntz actually take over Eppler’s job, or just get some more managerial responsibilities while still reporting to and running important decisions through Eppler?

    If Cashman and Eppler still have largely the same responsibilities last season, next season, and in 2015… I don’t really care about their titles and salaries. I’m more interested in who do I blame/credit for what decisions.

    • thenamestsam

      But we never really know who to blame or credit for what decisions right? We would all love to know what the actual decision making process in the organization looks like, but all we ever have are titles. As an example, if Pineda fails in pinstripes, Cashman will get blamed. But the actual failure may have been Eppler for a bad scouting report, or whoever runs their statistical department for a bad projection on Pineda, and ultimately those guys probably only deserve a portion of the blame also because it probably wasn’t Eppler who did the actual scouting on Pineda etc.

      If I had to guess Eppler probably gets marginally more responsibility, but it’s hard to see how much more he could get. Ultimately, he was probably involved in every important decision already, so he couldn’t get that much more involved. Maybe he starts dipping his hands into the amateur side a bit more? But how often have you heard Eppler get blamed for something around here anyway. In the end, fair or not, Cashman will still get basically all the blame and all the credit.

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah, I agree that we never really know. That’s sort of what I was saying at first in terms of title vs. responsibility.

        As a fan, I’ll just let the buck stop with the guy who pulled the trigger since that’s all I can usually do. I was more referring to the future with blame. If Cashman is President and Eppler is GM, but Cashman is still the shot caller that’s what I’m concerned with I guess. If it’s even known who calls the shots by the public. Not that it really matters who I blame/credit or don’t blame/credit.

        I agree that Eppler probably isn’t getting a huge promotion. When this came up last June, I brought up the point that title isn’t necessarily meaningful. Mike was arguing that Eppler and Opp weren’t as good of replacement candidates because Assistant GM wasn’t in their title. My point then and now was that it’s about responsibilities and not title. Especially within the same org. If they’re going to a new org. maybe title matters if there’s no relationship for them to look into your experience. If Cashman had walked this off-season, though, it’s not like the Yankees didn’t know what Eppler and Opp did and didn’t do for the Yankees.

        One thing that this move may do is signal Eppler is more of a replacement candidate than Opp… but it might not even do that.

      • Bryan

        While the underlings may be at fault for a bad recommendation, the axe always falls on the final decision maker.

        Think of a hedge fund.

        • thenamestsam

          I don’t think that is true as a matter of rule. Certainly, the final decision maker is always going to take at least a share of the blame I bet the underlings at most hedge funds get fired a lot more often for trades gone bad than the managers do. Generally hedge fund managers (and GMs) get fired for a history of bad moves, because while any individual move may be only partially their fault, if they’re continually receiving bad recommendations that fault lies with them as well for failing to put the right structure in place.

  • Plank

    Shouldn’t the team president be a lawyer/political lobbyist type? What qualifications does Cashman have for the job?

    • Ted Nelson

      The team president should be whoever ownership feels is best for the job. I would think a decade and a half as an extremely successful SVP is more relevant experience to being the President of an MLB team than a law degree. Baseball operations is pretty relevant to running a baseball team. So is a finance background.

      • Plank

        The team president should be whoever ownership feels is best for the job.

        I disagree.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          Well, as far as we all know here, you’re not part of the team ownership. Unless we’re all wrong ….

          • Plank

            I was just messing with TedNelson. I just highlighted the first sentence and said “I disagree.”

        • Ted Nelson

          So your argument is that in looking for a President ownership should hire someone they think is not the best candidate, instead of someone they think is the best candidate?

          Please enlighten me on why hiring inferior candidates is preferable and why a law degree or political experience is any way a prerequisite for the job of Yankees’ President.

          • Plank

            I disagree.

            • jsbrendog

              i agree. with your disagreement

    • dean

      He’d likely be made something like President of baseball operations like Theo…..and they’d leave the lawyering and signing of Rafael Sorianos to Randy Levine.

    • Steve (different one)

      Other teams have promoted a GM to this role and named a new GM pretty frequently in the last few years. Scheurholz, Shapiro, Epstein, Beinfest, etc.

      It seems to me like it is a “promotion” in that you still the same type of work, but it’s the GM who puts in the crazy hours. The role as it is currently used by teams is definitely one an ex GM is qualified for.

  • JoeMoes

    Team president is more management I’d say and you presiding over everything what does a lawyer or political figure have to do with it?

    • Plank

      The current team president worked for the city of NY for a long time and used his connections to get a very favorable stadium deal. He got Guliani to give the team 5 million a year for like a decade until the city helped them build a stadium.

      That is what the Yankees president does. Someone suggested making him President of baseball ops or some position like that. That makes sense, but the job of Yankees President as it now stands doesn’t seem like something that Cashman is suited for.

      • jsbrendog

        he won’t have to worry about building a new stadium. name one other thing levine has done other than not shut up and get rafael soriano? cashman can do that

        • Plank

          I was going to respond, but you don’t have a single capital letter in your post. Periods help with readability, too.

          • jsbrendog

            the grammer really helps talk about baseball. good point. and there is punctuation after every sentence except the last one. i have faith in you being able to tell the comment has ended instead of staring at it until a period appears.

            • Plank

              It’s not every day I get to communicate with e.e. cummings.

      • Ted Nelson

        Why isn’t Cashman suited to do that? He’s been a Yankees’ SVP for a decade and a half. You don’t think he’s met the Mayor, or could give the Mayor a call? Tons of teams get stadiums with huge taxpayer subsidies. Why is a law degree more relevant to this job than professional experience?

        The guys who did the Jets’ side of their stadium has no law degree or political experience. He’s an MBA.

        • Plank

          Does he have experience making land deals? Does he have experience working with cities and zoning boards and city councils and making billion dollar deals?

          Does Cashman?

          • Plank

            Why didn’t they send Rex Ryan to negotiate the land and stadium deal?

            • Ted Nelson

              Because the President’s sole responsibility is building as many new stadiums as possible… 5 or 10 per year would be great.

              Cashman isn’t Rex Ryan. Ryan is a coach. Cashman has been a SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT since 1998… what’s the logical promotion from SVP? If Ryan spends the next 14 years in the Jets’ front office, sure make him President.

              • Plank

                Because the President’s sole responsibility is building as many new stadiums as possible… 5 or 10 per year would be great.

                Ah, Classic Ted.

                Cashman is the person who gets the players to put on the field. That’s what Rex Ryan does. Cashman has described his job as allocating money. I don’t see how that would apply to being the executive of a billion dollar corporation. For the past decade the Yankees president has been starting a TV network, navigated a change of ownership, lobbied city councils, city hall, mass transit, and Albany to get the stadium paid for. He got Guliani to give the Yankees 5 million dollars a year in perpetuity until the city paid for a stadium. That’s not what Cashman does.

                That’s why I keep bringing that up. Obviously they don’t need a new stadium, but I would presume a similar skill set would be needed in the future from the president.

                Just because he is good in his current job doesn’t mean he would be good at an unrelated job.

                • Ted Nelson

                  You don’t see how allocating money would apply to being an executive at a billion dollar corporation? Are you fucking kidding me?

                  A. Cashman is an executive at a billion dollar corporation already.
                  B. What do you think executives at corporations do? They manage people and… wait for it… allocate money.

                  Do you honestly believe that Levine did all of those things by himself? That he’s not a manager with people working for him that have their own specializations? Do you believe his background in law and the public sector gave him expertise in media and television?
                  Do you believe that people are incapable of learning new skills?

                  It’s not an unrelated job. Baseball operations are the hallmark of the Yankees’ organization. President is a natural step up from SVP.
                  A. I believe Mike was implying he be President of BASEBALL OPERATIONS… Not the new Randy Levine.
                  B. Not having done a specific job before doesn’t mean you can’t grow into that role. You’ve already made my case for me by saying his job is to allocate money. His job is also to manage people. Therefore, he has experience doing what he’ll need to do if promoted to a larger role. Whether that’s President of Baseball Ops or a larger role on the business side of the organization.
                  C. Titles do not have to imply stagnant roles, and rarely do. The job can be tailored to the strengths and weaknesses of the person handling it, and once you’re high enough you can re-organize those around you to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. If Cashman were put into a “CEO” role with the Yankees… he’d probably hire a CFO, a COO, a CMO or President of Marketing, etc.

                  • Plank

                    Someone suggested making him President of baseball ops or some position like that. That makes sense, but the job of Yankees President as it now stands doesn’t seem like something that Cashman is suited for.

                    - Plank 2:39pm

                    That’s the first think you I wrote. You replied to that comment. It’s come full circle.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      No, it hasn’t.

                      You notice that not one other person has agreed with you on this? That doesn’t prove you’re wrong… but it might make you start to question your logic. People have shown you the error in every point you’ve made… yet you keep going. Ah… typical Plank.

                      I said that I think President of Baseball Operations is a logical promotion and probably what Mike was talking about (before I read his comment below)… I also said that I believe a role as SVP of Baseball Ops gives Cashman the necessary experience to take a larger role on the business side. Did you bother to read what I wrote? I’ll recap for you… managing people and allocating money. What Cashman does now, what he’ll do in the future. Management isn’t all about already having the knowledge. A lot of it has to do with being able to get the knowledge… and a whole lot of it has to do with motivating and maximizing the talents of people who do have the knowledge.

                      Maybe take a step back and consider that other people have business experiences that differ from yours and might be able to offer some insight. Your points have been pretty ridiculous so far.

                    • Plank

                      If his job was limited to that, then he would be fine for it. That’s a small part of what the Yankees president does. They could split the job and have him be President of baseball operations. That’s what I said that you vehemently disagreed with. Now you are yelling at me saying he should have the narrower President of baseball ops title and saying I’m wrong. Amazing.

                      The president of the Yankees though as it stands is a much different job than that.

                      Again, I don’t think Cashman could navigate the start of a TV network, building of a new stadium, etc. Nothing in his past indicates he suited to that type of work.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Again… what the hell do you know about the internal workings of the Yankees on the business side?

                      What the hell do you know about Cashman’s ability to rub elbows with politicians and TV execs? I know James Dolan… and the guy is a grade A jackass. A total moron. It doesn’t take much to impress the guy.

                      Again… you are insisting that someone has to have done something before to do it in the future? What in Levine’s resume indicated he was suited to run the Yankees? To start a TV network?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      And you’re still going on about the stadium when people have pointed out dozens of times the Yankees have a brand new stadium. I have also pointed out that you can hire consultants… in fact, even with expertise… people hire tons of consultants to build stadiums. Managing those people is the job. Project management. Which… is the skill set Cashman has.

                    • Plank

                      I know James Dolan… and the guy is a grade A jackass. A total moron. It doesn’t take much to impress the guy.

                      What did he say when you told him your SAT scores?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      I love it when you’re so defeated you turn to personal insults… makes my day.

                    • Plank

                      As I said, building the stadium was something he worked on for the last 10 years. I keep bringing it up because that was a major part of his job and we are discussing his job (or are we discussing the fictional position that both you and I think he would be good for.)

                    • Ted Nelson

                      And now that it’s built… should he be replaced will building a new stadium be a major part of the next Presidents job? You’re not a thinker, are you?

                      President of Baseball Operations is not a fictional position, you idiot.

                    • Plank

                      If it’s a real position, who is the current president of baseball operations for the Yankees?

                      (I can’t believe I’m continuing.)

                    • Ted Nelson

                      That the Yankees don’t use the position in their management does not make it a fictional position.

                      I can’t believe you keep going on about semantics rather than trying to explain why a law degree and experience in politics is more relevant to being the Yankees’ President than a decade and a half as a top executive at the Yankees org.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      I have a lot of fun being so much smarter than a cocky prick like you… but I should go do something productive.

                    • Plank

                      Insults. What a shocker.

                    • Plank

                      Obviously it’s a position other teams have, but the Yankees don’t have it. When discussing the job of the president of the Yankees, I would think we would be discussing, you know, the job of the president of the Yankees.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Again… I have made is really, really clear that we are discussing that position.

                      As a side note, I mentioned that I believed Mike was discussing the POBO role. I appear to have been wrong. See how easy it is to admit when you’re wrong.

                      Why are you still bringing that up hours later if you want to discuss the issues?

                    • Plank

                      That’s the first time I’ve ever heard you admit you were wrong. Is that…growth?

                      What issues do you want to discuss? My first post (that you vehemently disagreed with) was me saying Cashman would make a good President of Baseball Ops.

                    • thenamestsam

                      Ted Nelson saying “See how easy it is to admit when you’re wrong” almost made my head explode.

          • Ted Nelson

            He has a finance background. As do a whole lot of executives.

            Is the only job of an MLB team’s President to build new stadiums? What do they do the 30-50 years between building stadiums that they get paid so much for? Run the organization maybe?

            Are the Yankees building a new stadium any time soon? Should they be building new stadiums every 5 years?

            Are the Yankees incapable of hiring an outside consultant to handle it? Hiring someone under Cashman with technical knowledge he doesn’t possess? Or should the President have degrees in law, engineering, a background in demolition, corporate finance, and public finance?

            • Plank

              Cashman has a bachelors degree in History.

              I’m not minimizing Cashman. He’s a great GM. He just doesn’t have the background to run a billion dollar corporation.

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

                When you get that far along in your career, your education becomes less and less important. It’s all about experience.

                Education gets you in the door out of school, not allow you to do a job in your 50′s when every industry in the world has changed since graduation day.

                • Plank

                  True, but I don’t think he has the career experience either. He chooses the players withing the confines he’s given-and he’s good at it. I don’t think he’s the guy to create and define those confines.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    Who are you to even know what goes on behind closed doors within the Yankees org.? Let alone to decide what skills Cashman does and doesn’t have?

                    • Plank

                      You’re deciding he has those skills. I’m not going to ask who you are to decide that. I’m capable of understanding this a Yankees blog and people give their opinions on the articles.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      No, I’m deciding he has experience to get a shot at the job. I didn’t say I know he’ll be good at it.

                      I think Jesus Montero has the experience to get a starting job on the Mariners… that doesn’t mean I know he’ll excel.

                      See the difference? You are saying he cannot do the job. Other people are saying based on his experience he is a candidate for the job. No one is saying he’s a good MLB team President. You’re fighting windmills Don Quijote.

                    • Plank

                      Are you talking about the actual job of Yankees president or the theoretical job of Yankees president that you think they should create for Cashman?

                    • Plank

                      I should also add that I already said Cashman would be good for that made up position before you started arguing with me.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      When are you just going to admit you have no idea what you are talking about?

                      I am actually close with multiple people involved in building the new Giants’ Stadium and have been around large construction projects my whole life. What is your experience in construction?

                      My mother was a television executive for two decades. What is your experience in TV?

                      You’re going on and on about knowing what skill set it takes to work in these fields… what’s your experience in these fields?

                      Management skills are transferable. This is not rocket science. You have already pointed out that Levine has been Yankees’ President at a time with the organization did things nothing in his background suggested he could do.

                    • Plank

                      You have already pointed out that Levine has been Yankees’ President at a time with the organization did things nothing in his background suggested he could do.

                      Quote, please.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      You have said he is the genius responsible for YES Network… what TV experience did he have?

                      Honestly, I don’t know what Levine’s resume is exactly. The point is that A. you don’t seem to either, yet you act like he was god’s gift to the President position of the NYY and B. managers can manage people who have expertise they don’t. In fact, that’s ridiculously common.

                    • Plank

                      That’s not a quote. Or what I said. Or thought. Nice try though.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      When are you going to just admit defeat? This is ridiculous. I am running circles around you and stepping on your face in the mud.

                      You said that the President needs experience in the key functions of his job. You then said one of the major accomplishments during Levine’s Presidency has been YES. With me so far? Now… this would mean Levine needs to have experience in TV.

                      Again… I am not the only person to ask you why law and politics are what you see as the preferred degrees for MLB team Presidency… and actual executive business experience at an MLB team is not… I have asked a bunch of times and gotten personal insults and semantics rather than a coherent response.

                    • Plank

                      My goal is truly to discuss things not to “run circles around you and step on your face in the mud.”

                      You still haven’t provided a quote.

                      You are the one resorting to personal insults. How many times have you called me an idiot?

                      It’s ridiculous.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      My goal is not to be smarter than you… it’s just reality. I can’t avoid it. My goal is not to be right and for you to be wrong… again, it’s just how it is.

                      Instead of admitting you have in fact said one of the major accomplishments during Levine’s Presidency is YES and that Cashman cannot be President because he doesn’t have experience in law and politics (what is signing free agents if not dealing with lawyers and playing politics?)… you prefer to ask for a quote… but you want to discuss issues. Are you denying that you said those things? Or you just want me to waste my time copying and pasting things to prove you’re wrong?

                    • Plank

                      I’m gonna need a quote, TedNelson.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      You want to discuss the issues, right?

                      Or you just refuse to admit you’re wrong?

                      I am going to stop wasting my time. Several people concur that you are wrong. You are on an island arguing about crap you have no idea about. I need to stop wasting my time with this.

                    • Plank

                      What do you want to discuss? The quote that doesn’t exist? It’s hard to put words in my mouth when I never said them.

              • Ted Nelson

                Steve Jobs and Bill Gates both dropped out of college.

                Richard Branson couldn’t read until he was like a teenager.

                Somehow all three men managed to build and run ridiculously successful billion dollar operations. There is no one background that qualifies you to be a good Chief Executive. You can have all the degrees in the world, decades in the industry, and still be a crap executive. As Mike say, though, Cashman’s got lots of relevant experience in a job one rung below President.

                • Plank

                  Yes, Brian Cashman clearly deserves to be in the discussion with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    Are you really this stubborn that you can’t admit you’re wrong?

                    Are you really going to strawman me yet again? My argument was not that Cashman is a CEO on par with Jobs or Gates. My argument is not that he’s the CEO of anything. My argument is that educational background is not the deciding factor on someone’s ability to run a billion dollar enterprise.

                    Rather than admitting your point was clearly wrong, you’d rather make things up? Are you and DM good buds?

                    • Plank

                      Education isn’t the only thing that matters. As Mike pointed out, it isn’t even a major consideration at this level of employment, but it’s certainly a factor.

                      Those three people are notable for the fact that they don’t have college degrees. They are outliers. They are so far from the status quo that it’s remarkable. The vast majority of executives are highly educated.

                      I don’t know what DM is.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Are you fucking kidding me? You are the one bringing up education. No one else.

                      Do I really have to go over this again. I didn’t say Cashman is Steve Jobs. I said there is no one profile that predicts success.

                      What is the profile of a MLB team President? You have said they need to be a lawyer from the political arena. How many MLB team Presidents have that profile?

                      Cashman has been SVP for a decade and a half… Yet you maintain he has no relevant experience to the position exactly one rung above his? If you were the Head Scientist at an oil major or tech company… you’d have no chance of moving up to an executive position on the business side? Do you have any business experience whatsoever? How old are you?

                    • Plank

                      You brought up the education of the Jets representative of Giants stadium. Are you nobody? You mentioned he had an MBA. That seems like a relevant degree. BA in History doesn’t.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      You brought up the law degree. Are you me?

                      Are you still on the History degree when both Mike and I have thoroughly rebuked it?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Rather than arguing semantics when your point gets totally crushed… why not try admitting you are wrong?

                    • Plank

                      Again, I brought up his history degree once to show that it wasn’t relevant after you mentioned the Jets guy had an MBA as though it was relevant.

                      You then accused me of continuing to bring up education so I mentioned it again and why I mentioned it. This is the third time I’ve mentioned it, also because you brought it up again.

                      I still think the president of the Yankees should have a law degree (or a finance degree.) Cashman doesn’t have those things.

                      Again, are we talking about the actual job of Yankees president or the fictional job of Yankees president that doesn’t really exist?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      No. I brought up the MBA to point out that he’s not a lawyer. How dense are you, Plank?

                      What purpose does a law degree serve the President of the Yankees?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      And you have already argued to me that Mike is right experience is more important at that point in someone’s career than education 20 years ago (which he is right)… now you’re backtracking?

                    • Plank

                      A person’s undergrad degree doesn’t matter that much 25 years out. That’s what I agreed with Mike about.

                      Having a legal, finance, or lobbying background is certainly a positive for a team president to possess. Cashman doesn’t have any of those.

                      I’m not backtracking at all.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Huh? Lobbying experience is more relevant to run an organization that actually having spend 14 years running the main division of that organization? How does that work out in your head? What are the Yankees lobbying for that they can’t hire consultants to lobby for?

                      Undergrad isn’t relevant… but Cashman’s History degree is? But his decade and a half running the main division of the organization in question isn’t? What?

                      What is your professional background? You seem to have very little idea about management.

  • TomH

    I think it’s more likely that he’ll be promoted, however, perhaps to some kind of chairperson/team president capacity….

    What do such officials actually DO? Would it be as interesting to Cash as his present job presumably is?

  • dean

    Theo isn’t the GM by title in Chicago….Jed Hoyer is. He’s the President of baseball Ops……..the Yanks could do something similar with Cashman if they chose.

  • http://none Favrest

    Great move bringing in Jim Hendry. He deserved a position right away after the great job he did with the Cubs. While we’re at it, what’s Omar Mineya up to?

    • Mister Delaware

      Minaya is, by all accounts, a great scout. Being a failure as a GM doesn’t mean a guy brings nothing to the table.

      • http://none Favrest

        Mineya’s judgement with young players destroyed what was once the Montreal Expos. As far as Hendry goes, the Cubs have one good young player. Starlin Castro. I just don’t see it in either of them.

        • Mister Delaware

          Minaya wasn’t operating under normal conditions when he made the Colon trade. You know that.

        • thenamestsam

          Saying that their organizations had bad scouting while they were the GMs still has very little to do with whether they personally are good scouts. The GM of the team is not going to be doing the scouting for the team. The reason they didn’t have good young players is probably multi-dimensional. For one, the cubs have been one of the teams that sticks to slot every year in the draft. That makes it hard to get good talent even if you identify it. They’ve had some good procpects (Vitters) who failed to develop (again nothing to do with Hendry’s scouting), and then they’ve probably also failed to some extent in the scouting department, but using that as evidence that Hendry is a bad scout is tenuous at best.

    • thenamestsam

      While he was pretty clearly an awful GM, supposedly he’s an excellent scout. They’re not bringing him in to do the work of a GM, so whether he’s good or not at that job shouldn’t really impact the decision. Hendry didn’t become a GM by accident. He became a GM presumably because he was good at the jobs he held lower in organizations. The Yankees hired him for one of those lower positions. That’s why it’s a good move.

    • Steve (different one)

      Ignorant comment. It is very possible to have many valuable skills and not be a great GM. He wasn’t hired to be the GM.

      • Bryan

        It’s unlikely GMs play any meaningful role in the amateur scouting department. They likely set a budget, and possible direction like team needs and let the scouting people do the work.

        If anything, you can blame Hendry for hiring inept scouting people, and inept minor league coaches for failing to develop anyone meaningful.

        • Ted Nelson

          As much as who you hire, it’s how you manage them. If they’re inept and you’re on top of it… should become apparent.

        • MidlandTX

          It’s his fault he had an inept owner.

  • http://musicaldaddy.blogspot.com Chuck M

    Mike – great work! Wonderful article and a great read.

  • dean

    They could bring in Mineya in to negotiate vesting options for all new free agent contracts.

    • pat

      Are you just commenting from different names now?

  • Kevin M.

    Eppler was a big proponent of Joba as a reliever vs. starter. Thus he fails a basic baseball IQ test and that’s all I really need to know. I’m sure he’s done some good things for the Yankes but I want him no where near our GM job.

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

      If you’re going to judge execs by one data points, there won’t be any GMs.

      • Bryan

        It may be one instance, but it’s a pretty big one is it not? Joba could’ve been our Clemens. Cashman and Eppler’s failure to get anyone decent into the bullpen necessitated Joba’s flip flopping between rotation and bullpen, and the weird innings limits he was subjected to.

        A lot of what ifs with Joba as a starter, and a lot of blame (some of course goes to Joba himself) has to go to Cashman, and incidentally Eppler.

        • Ted Nelson

          His chances of being Clemens were not particularly good.

        • Kevin Winters

          You can make the argument the lack of arms in the rotation and pen forced them to rush the big 3.

    • thenamestsam

      Is this true? Can you provide some evidence for this? The only thing I found is an interview where he said Joba was likely to be in the bullpen to stay. And he was right. He didn’t say that he was a proponent of the move. He didn’t even imply that. In fact what he said sounded much more like he was hesitant about the move: “With Joba though, I do believe he could be a starter. You know, I think just in the environment that we’re in, and you know, you’re trying to break with with the twelve best. And that’s not to say the other clubs aren’t trying to do that. I think if we were in a different setting, different situation, you might see Joba Chamberlain in the rotation.” That sounds more like a guy who has accepted that the situation has dictated something that might not be ideal than a guy who was a big proponent of anything.

      • Kevin Winters

        Eppler came out and was adamant about him being a reliever and not starting in the future which caused Cashman to come out the next day and say that Billy was giving his opinion and no final decision had been made on Joba’s role.

        • thenamestsam

          I already quoted things showing that what you’re saying is incorrect. He wasn’t adamant at all. He said Joba could be a starter but that given the current situation he thought it was unlikely to ever happen. He did not offer one explicit opinion on whether this was a correct or incorrect move, and if you read between the lines of the above comment he doesn’t seem very enthusiastic about it. All he offered was an opinion on the likelihood of it happening. His opinion turned out to be 100% correct. How can you criticize him for that?

          • Kevin Winters

            Right he wasn’t adamant at all
            —————–

            Billy Eppler-” Yeah —in the here and now, I don’t feel I don’t foresee any situation. I mean, obviously that’s for Brian and Joe, but but I don’t think they (emphasis his) foresee a situation where he would go into the rotation. He is going to be a reliever. And obviously we’ve seen what he’s been able to do and role, and he’s been able to be very dominant in that role —I don’t foresee situation where he would be be starting at all.”

            Evan Roberts-“ Right, but does the question get re-asked next year? In 2011? Like his job as a starter? Like would you think that question will be asked again and maybe he’ll compete for rotation spot next year?”

            Billy Eppler-” I wouldn’t —I wouldn’t consider that likely, no.”

            • thenamestsam

              This has been exactly my point. Nowhere there does he offer any opinion or even come close to offering an opinion about what the right course of action for Joba’s future is. He even goes further and explicitly points out that it’s not because of his opinion that he feels he’s unlikely to start by saying specifically that Joe and Brian don’t foresee a situation. If you can read that quote and conclude that he has a strong opinion that Joba shouldn’t be a starter you have a very vivid imagination.

              • Kevin Winters

                No vivid imagination Eppler was/is a Joba to the pen guy. My feeling on that is not going to change.

    • Mister Delaware

      If Eppler has access to Joba’s medicals and studies on starters versus relievers with similar issues, he may very well have passed this “basic baseball IQ test”.

      • Kevin M.

        Show me the data that says starting is more taxing on the arm than relieving is and causes more injuries. It doesn’t exist.

        And Cashman admitted Eppler was pro Joba to the pen and said they had a difference of opinion on the subject.

        • RetroRob

          Mike had the right answer above. In talent evaluations, no one is right all the time.

          Second, Eppler might have been right.

          • thenamestsam

            Third, there is no evidence that Eppler felt that way.

            • RetroRob

              …oh, yeah, and that, too!

          • Mister Delaware

            This part sort of gets ignored. We all wish Joba were starting, but there’s a chance he’s John Patterson if he never gets converted.

          • Kevin Winters

            Second, Eppler might have been right.

            ————————-

            Yes he was so right that Joba had a healthy yr as a reliever oh wait

            • thenamestsam

              That doesn’t prove AT ALL that he wasn’t more likely to get hurt as a starter.

              • Kevin Winters

                So he still got hurt as a reliever. The whole switch to the pen was because they thought he would explode if he started.

                • thenamestsam

                  Do you really not see how this doesn’t prove anything? Say (hypothetically) there was a 100% chance that he would get hurt this year as a starter and a 1% chance that he would get hurt as a reliever. Then it would obviously be a good decision to make him a reliever. The fact that he got hurt as a reliever has no bearing on whether or not it was a good decision. Only the chances that it would happen determine whether it was a good decision.

                  • Kevin Winters

                    Idc he still got hurt pitching in relief.

                    • thenamestsam

                      Strong and thoughtful counterpoint.

                    • RetroRob

                      He also got hurt starting and lost three mph and command while starting, which is why he went to the pen.

                      Injury related to Joba’s motion has always been a concern since he was signed.

                    • Kevin Winters

                      Thank you thenamestsam

                    • Kevin Winters

                      His injury as a starter was a freak accident.

                    • RetroRob

                      Unknown.

                      That’s the point. The Yankees have access to everything you don’t.

                    • Kevin Winters

                      And with all that information they still botched how they handled him

        • thenamestsam

          Can you show some quotes to back up these assertions, because this is not at all what happened according to what I’m seeing. Cashman simply said that he disagreed that a decision about future seasons had been made, not that Eppler was more pro-Joba to the pen.

          Looking back on what happened it basically seems like Eppler told the honest truth, which was that the Joba to the rotation ship had essentially sailed at that point. Cashman then defused the controversy by kicking the ball further down the road, saying basically ‘Oh, we’re happy he has an opinion, but we haven’t made any decisions for 2011, etc.’ Nowhere in there is there any suggestion that Eppler is pro-Joba in the bullpen.

        • Mister Delaware

          Show me the data that says starting is more taxing on the arm than relieving is and causes more injuries. It doesn’t exist.

          There is no data that shows certain injuries/conditions are better protected in the bullpen or you’re unaware of that sort of data existing? Like are you really saying its impossible that a study exists saying “shoulders affected with (insert condition) tend to hold up better long term with more frequent, shorter duration usage versus less frequent, longer duration usage”.

        • Landry

          Show me the data that proves you’re smarter than the professionals.

          • Kevin Winters

            Yes because they know everything and never make mistakes.

            • Landry

              That’s not data.

              • Kevin Winters

                You’re statement is the classic they know more than you comment so I decided to respond the way I did.

    • Kevin Winters

      I agree completely let him go somewhere else and be a GM.

  • RetroRob

    All businesses (and, yes, the Yankees are a business) have succession planning. It’s business 101, and it’s not just the top positions. It should go down every level of the management chain. You assess the talent on your team, you develop your successor, and if no one on the team is deemed to be the long-term answer, then you look externally to recruit the right talent. A properly run business will not promote managers to their next positions unless those managers have developed their replacements.

    The Yankees under George Steinbrenner did not operate like most organizations, and even if they had succession planning, the plan would get thrown out the window by George. He was involved in everything, for better or worse. Cashman’s expanded role in 2005 was a signal things were changing, probably driven by GMS’s developing health issues. Steinbrenner was putting into place his own succession planning, with Cashman being a key piece.

    Cashman has been developing his successor for years, with apparently Eppler and D.O. being the prime candidates. He may have decided Eppler was the guy a couple years back, but he just wasn’t ready to advance him yet, perhaps because Eppler himself needed to groom his replacement. Or maybe it was a battle to the end between Epp and DO and the Yankees didn’t want to name one or the other knowing it will increase the odds the other one will leave. Odds of Oppenheimer remaining with the Yankees took a big hit yesterday, unless they have some other great prize in store for him. Of course, if Eppler ends up getting a GM job elsewhere, then D.O. may still end up replacing Cashman. Just as it is on the field, depth is a great thing in business.

    So while I find Eppler’s appointment interesting, what I really found interesting is what this means for Cashman. He did this because he’s having discussions with Hal about his next job, which means Hal basically told him he has to name his replacement.

    Yesterday’s move were all about the future of Cashman.

    • thenamestsam

      Nice comment.

  • ken

    what would happen if the cubs say to the red sox we can’t come to terms on a deal you can have epstein back?

    • RetroRob

      Nothing. Epstein already had a contract with the Cubs. He can’t be returned.

      The compensation will be selected by Selig.

  • JohnC

    Wonder how Damon Oppenheimer feels about this and how it affects his future

    • thenamestsam

      I’d bet he’s out of the organization within the next year or so. He has clearly advanced to the point where he is considered a potential GM candidate, and you’d imagine he wants to take that next step. I can’t imagine him wanting to become the AGM to Eppler given that they’ve been at the same level for so long, so he probably realizes he’ll most likely need to leave the organization at some point to get the job he wants. In that kind of situation the departure tends to come sooner rather than later. I bet he moves on next offseason to take an AGM job somewhere else.

  • Adam Parker

    I am not sure I can imagine the Yankees having a GM w/o “Cash” in his name.

    • Gonzo

      Is that a vote for Ke$ha?

    • Steve (different one)

      We will just have to start trying to spead the use of a new slang word for money, the “Epp”. If we start now, it will be common knowledge in 3 years and we’ll still have a GM with a cool name.

      We need to enlist a few rappers to help make this word mainstream.

  • Professor Longnose

    Would you characterize this offseason for the Red Sox as missing a beat?

    • dean

      The offseason isn’t over yet….but on paper they are a worse team than they were a year ago.

    • JohnnyC

      I think it points out how quickly Larry Lucchino can fill a power vacuum. With Theo out, Lucchino gets to ride shotgun again. Look for the Red Sox to build the first underground sports facility.

  • OldYanksFan

    Random thoughts:
    I think this was mostly to keep Eppler in the organization.
    If the Yankees continue to be high on Damon Oppenheimer, he might ‘move up’ some more in the immediate oncoming years. Both have been pursued by other teams, so the Yanks got to treat ‘em right to hold onto them.

    Cashman writes his own ticket now. Unless something goes radically wrong, he’s the Yankees GM as long as he wants to be. Frankly, I think he keeps getting better, and has given the Yankees back their future, but improving the Farm so greatly in just the last 5 years.

    • Plank

      Cashman writes his own ticket now. Unless something goes radically wrong, he’s the Yankees GM as long as he wants to be.

      A lot can happen in a few years. Look at what happened in Boston. That turned ugly fast.

      • thenamestsam

        While I agree with you that anything can happen, the difference is that the relationship between Theo and his superiors always seemed strained, so while the popular opinion of him was extremely high, he probably never had as much security as we perceived him to have. Despite his occasionally overly frank comments, Cashman seems to have a positive relationship with those above him, and his job seems like it may be even more secure than public perception would have it.

        • OldYanksFan

          Theo wasn’t fired… he left.

          • thenamestsam

            True, although it seems by all accounts like he was no longer really wanted there. I think the negativity in the relationship led to his departure even if it didn’t lead to an explicit firing.

    • RetroRob

      My guess is he is on his last contract at Yankees GM. I don’t have a powerful feeling about that, but I think it’s likely.

      Cash is in the prime of his career. Think of age 45-55 on the business management side as age 27-32 on the field. He’s been doing the same job for about 15 years and he has made some comments about the job of a GM being a grind. I’m guessing he wants greater input and control of the Yankees operation that extends beyond the field.

      We as fans view the GM job as just about the most important one on a team. It’s critical, but in today world of baseball, there is so much more, especially for a team like the Yankees.

  • http://none Favrest

    It is not an ignorant comment. GMs have many skills. Name one thing he did well?

  • Rich in NJ

    If Cashman leaves, I think they should look to the outside, preferably to Andrew Friedman. If they underachieve and the recent high-risk move doesn’t work out, they should consider him even earlier.

  • http://none Favrest

    The dude from the Padres organization did a great job trading for and developing young arms and well, Adrian Gonzalez. They didn’t have the money to keep them. Certainly a job well done on many accounts.

    Kevin Towers made great sense. He is a valuable man.

    This Hendry move comes without a good reason. It certainly isn’t the farm system he developed that produced one good player in several years.

    • Ted Nelson

      That reason it’s an ignorant comment is that you are ignorant as to Hendry’s qualifications as a scout and his new role with the Yankees. We all are. No one here has claimed to know the man personally or be particularly familiar with his work as a scout.

      Ignorant isn’t stupid, it’s lacking knowledge. You do not seem to have the knowledge to assess Hendry as a candidate for a job we’re not even completely certain about.

    • thenamestsam

      He’s here to be a scout, not to build a farm system.

  • Rookie

    Great article, Mike. It all seems logical to me.

  • NJB

    With the recent revelations about Cashman’s adultery, this move comes into full focus and the reason is clear. The Yankees have known about this situation for some time as have all of the sportswriters. The Yankees will not like the bad PR. Cashman’s days with the organization are now clearly numbered. This is especially sad, ESPECIALLY for Cashman’s wife and two young children. Dirtbag alert!!!