Mailbag: Cashman, Outfield, Catchers, Overbay


Six questions this week, but some of them have short answers. Use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us any questions or links or anything else during the week.

(Gregory Shamus/Getty)

(Gregory Shamus/Getty)

Shai asks: If the Yankees do poorly this season, I can see the media/fans calling for Brian Cashman‘s head. Do you think that Hal Steinbrenner would fire him if under intense public pressure?

Cashman and Hal reportedly have a great working relationship, but who really knows how things are behind the scenes. I would be surprised if Cashman — or Joe Girardi, for that matter — was essentially made the scapegoat and fired at some point this year. I don’t think Hal really cares about the public pressure and frankly no owner should when it comes to on-field matters. How many times have we wanted people fired over the years? If the owner acknowledged public pressure there would be a new manager every other week. Cashman could be fired if the team plays poorly, it could definitely happen, but it would surprise me.

Brad asks: Will Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells platoon upon Curtis Granderson‘s return?

My standard answer to the “what happens to everyone when so and so gets healthy” question is let’s wait to see everyone involved actually be healthy at the same time before we worry about it. I think that is especially true with the Derek Jeter/Eduardo Nunez and Kevin Youkilis/Alex Rodriguez situations. Worry about who plays when and where when the time comes.

Now, for the sake of argument, let’s assume Granderson returns as expected in early-May and everyone else in the outfield picture is healthy as well. The obvious move to free up a roster spot would be optioning Brennan Boesch down to Triple-A, replacing one lefty bat with another. That’s the easy part. After that, I think it depends entirely on who is playing well at the time.

Obviously Granderson will step right back into the lineup, but if Ichiro continues to not hit while Wells continues to produce, I do think Ichiro will wind up on the bench more often than not. If the roles are reverse when Grandy is ready, then I think Wells would sit. I don’t really see Brett Gardner being in danger of losing playing time. I think Girardi is just going to ride the hot hand, which is fine by me.

Mike asks: What is going to happen with the impending minor league catcher backlog? Eventually Gary Sanchez will be promoted to AA but that will take away time from J.R. Murphy who can’t move to AAA due to Austin Romine needing to play everyday. Who is most likely to be trade bait?



I don’t think there is much of a backlog, really. I think both Murphy and Sanchez will get promoted at midseason, and then Romine and Murphy will simply share catcher/DH duties for the second half in Triple-A. The Yankees have done that plenty of times before with their catchers, specifically Romine and Jesus Montero. I think Murphy and Sanchez even did it at one point as well.

I wouldn’t worry too much about playing time, all of these guys are high priority players in that sense. They’ll figure out a way to make sure they all get regular at-bats and enough time behind the plate. I suppose it’s not out of the question that Romine replaces Chris Stewart as the backup catcher later in the season (as part of the chain of promotions), but that would surprise me. The Yankees are enamored with Stewart for whatever reason. Anyway, as these things tend to do, it’ll work itself out. Don’t worry. Too many catchers is a good thing.

Mikey asks: Even though it’s early in the season, do you think the Yankees would be hesitant to make an upgrade over Lyle Overbay?

No, I don’t. I also don’t think it’s a huge priority right now. Mark Teixeira could be cleared to swing a bat today and begin playing Extended Spring Training games within two weeks. Overbay has been pretty awful with the bat but he has played well on defense. So yeah, I do think the Yankees would be willing to acquire a temporary first base upgrade, but I also don’t think they’re actively shopping for help at the position. If someone hits waivers or something, then they might pounce.

Anonymous asks: Not that the Yankees would trade him, but does Andy Pettitte have ten-and-five rights? Did his year off in 2011 reset the five-year clock?

The rulebook says ten-and-five no-trade provisions kick in “provided the player has spent the last five years with his current team,” so I guess that means the year off does reset the five-year portion of the criteria. It doesn’t say anything about the five years being continuous though, so I guess it’s open to interpretation. Pettitte and his agents would argue he has ten-and-five rights while the team would argue against them. Like you said though, the Yankees aren’t trading Pettitte. If they suck this year, he’ll go down with the ship.

Jacob asks: Given the Robinson Cano situation, when was the last time the Yankees traded away a homegrown star that was clearly their best player because they were out of the playoff race?

Forget homegrown and out of the playoff race, when was the last time the Yankees traded away their best player period? The only example I can come up with is Rickey Henderson in 1989. He piled up 3.5 bWAR in 65 games before being traded that June while the team leader ended up being Steve Sax with 4.4 bWAR (in 158 games). There was some animosity between Rickey and George Steinbrenner at the time, which led to the trade.

Other than that, I can’t think of an instance where the Yankees traded their best player. Gary Sheffield and Roberto Kelly weren’t the team’s best player at the time of their trades, and neither was Bobby Murcer back in 1974. Maybe I’m forgetting someone obvious, but I think the point stands: the Yankees aren’t in the business of trading their best players. They’re in the business of acquiring other teams’ best players. I fully expect them to work out some kind of monster extension with Cano this summer and make the whole thing moot.

Categories : Mailbag
  • Robinson Tilapia

    I sincerely doubt Brian Cashman leaves the New York Yankees until he decides it’s time to leave the New York Yankees, and that won’t be dependent upon who wanted to give Ichiro and extra year, who didn’t, or who chose the color to paint the walls on the executive washroom, or who didn’t.

    Optioning Boesch and having him ride the shuttle definitely seems inevitable, as does Ben Francisco’s DFA.

    I have an irrational love for JR Murphy that probably stems from him getting less love than any other catching prospect in the org.

    • Pseudoyanks

      I actually wonder if Cashman will want to leave on his own after the contract is up. It’s not just Ichiro…it’s also MFIKY and a few others… It’s not being able to do some of the things he wanted to do. It’s going to a different team that might be a more appealing place to be. Not saying it’s going to happen just that it wouldn’t surprise me if it did.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        This is the same discussion that was going on yesterday, but I think people are hugely exaggerating the amount of intervention in personnel matters by people not named Brian Cashman. Hugely.

        Cashman leaves when he and the organization decide that it’s simply time for different leadership, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the scenario proposed by Mike and Joe in which Cashman takes Levine’s spot as team president occurs, and that it happens sooner than you think. I definitely think we’re in the twilight of his tenure as GM, but only because I think stagnation in upper leadership is never a good thing.

        With Girardi, I don’t think he leaves at all in the next couple of seasons barring something completely unforseen. If anything, I think both of them get a strong amount of credit for doing the best they can with the limits imposed by ownership.

        • jjyank

          Yeah, when Cashman leaves the position as GM, I think he just moves into Levine’s position or perhaps he takes a made up Theo Epstein position. I think he’s gonna stay with the team in some capacity.

        • jsbrendog

          i feel like at this point in cashman’s tenure he and girardi are tied together. i see them going out together, cashman moving into a different role and girardi either going somewhere else, taking time off, or perhaps also transitioning into a diff part of the yankees hierarchy

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Interesting. I’ve never really thought of it that way. I could more easily see Joe managing somewhere else than I could see Cashman trying to find a place to eat (and whores) in downtown Kansas City.

            • jsbrendog

              yeah, i guess what i mean by tied together is i doubt cashman gms over another manager, whatever that may entail

      • jsbrendog

        i kind of see it the other way…where cashman might feel like this is his opportunity to see if he can do it with a budget and can construct a team in the same/similar way that the other gms have.

        i mean, if he puts them in the WS with a team with a not top 2 or 3 budget and on a strict limit then i feel like it will vindicate him from a lot of his critics.

        now i don’t think that would be a reason he woudl do it, for opinion or others. I feel like he is the kind of competitive guy who would want to challenge himself cause he believes he can.

        plus i doubt he leaves the GM office unless it is to take a more senior position with the yanks front office.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I also think we’re being pretty baseless when we assume that what really would drive Brian Cashman would be to rebuild some franchise. Not all minds think that way. What really could drive Brian Cashman could be to work for the New York Yankees, or to not have to worry about such things.

          That and whores.

          • jjyank

            True, and correct me if I’m wrong, but Cashman has been with the team his entire professional career, right? I think he started out as an intern and has been with them ever since. That might mean something to him.

          • jsbrendog

            it’s opinion. it can be baseless. i see cashman as a guy who drives himself. and i could see this being the case. no one will ever know really, but i don’t think it is outlandish.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Of course it’s opinion. None of us know jack shit about this (BUT TEH REGULAZ NEVEH DISAGREE.)

              Where my mind goes right now, though, is that different people are driven in different ways.

              • Jim Is Bored

                Yup, no one is allowed to have different opinions.

              • jsbrendog


                • Havok9120


                  • jsbrendog

                    you realize that was a joke right? cause i know RT did haha

                    • Robinson Tilapia

                      I think we’re both just blown away by the accuracy of that accent.

                    • jsbrendog

                      i give because i love

                    • Havok9120

                      I gathered that it was, yes.

                      RT’s explanation is pretty accurate.

                • trr

                  A-Rod, please : this site is for the fans!

                  • jsbrendog

                    whateva, it’s my hot body. i do what i want

                    • trr

                      rock on, js!

      • trr

        This is just my opinion, but even if the Yanks dramatically underperform this year, I don’t see Cashman leaving either on his own or at management’s behest. Of course, that doesn’t mean he’s GM for life. At some point, it’ll be adios…

        Conversely, I do think the Yanks may not offer Girardi a new contract, especially if they feel there’s a more suitable (and perhaps less expensive?)candidate for the job.

        Personally, I am a strong supporter of Cashman. On balance, his record really speaks for himself. I’ve had my own issues with Girardi over the years, but would still support giving him a new contract unless something really untoward happens this year.

  • Pat D

    Dave Winfield! Dave Winfield! Dave Friggin’ Winfield!

    Obviously he wasn’t the team’s best player anymore in 1990, but…he wasn’t that far off.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Pat, come over here a second.


      OK, let’s get back to the site now.

      • http://www.thewallbreakers.com Scully

        well I mean, Henderson wasn’t homegrown either. I guess in the George III (at least until his was suspended) era we had a habit of trading out homegrown players long before they proved to be great for guys that were already past their primes or never had one in the 1st place.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I’d forgotten Mike had mentioned Henderson when I wrote that. I wish the return had been better there, but Greg Cadaret was a tiny step below Chuck Cary in the “guys I thanked God to see on the mound” when things went to shit.

          Guidry and Mattingly remained Yankees til the end, although Righetti did walk as an FA.

          I’m guessing Righetti and Andy were the two the franchise let walk, off the top of my head.

          • Henry Krinkle

            I was mad at the time that they got so little, even though he seemed to be “jaking it” at the time because he wanted more money. I was hoping for Todd Burns, although he didn’t amount to much either. If you remember, Syd Thrift had done a decent job with the Pirates on the Tony Pena to St. Louis deal, so I was hoping he could do the same with Henderson.

        • Bob Buttons

          Geez, even in hindsight, Jay Buhner’s career numbers are worse than Ken Phelps’. That should tell you at the time it wasn’t that bad of a trade.

          • jsbrendog

            i mean, it was a terrible trade cause ken phelps had 2 turrble yrs on the yankees while buhner had years of well above average production on seattle. but even so, it worked out since the yanks had 4 rings during buhner’s career.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            He put up those numbers afterwards. Phelps put up those numbers before that, as a part-timer, and was off the team in a year.

            Buhnr could have actually led some of thos shit teams to a few extra wins.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              ….and would have been around for the championship teams but, like jsbrendog said, we didn’t exactly suffer long-term damage there.

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

      Nah, Winfield didn’t even play in 1989 due to injury.

      • jsbrendog

        or was it?! HIRE AN INVESTIGATOR!!!

  • mitch

    obviously he was traded for a bigger star, but Soriano was in the discussion for best player on the team when he was dealt.

    • Bob Buttons

      Back then we still got Jeter, Posada, Bernie, Pettitte, Moose, Giambi, et al.

      • mitch

        Yeah, he was in the discussion with those guys at the time.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          True. I think the point he’s trying to make is that this occurred during a time where he wasn’t clearly the best player on the team.

          I’ll also add that Soriano got traded due to the most extraordinary of circumstances and wasn’t going to be shopped for parts.

    • gc

      But as good as he was at the time, and he was pretty good (though I wouldn’t say the best on the team), what they got back was not only a clearly better player, but THE best player in the game. So as much as trading away great players isn’t really a Yankee type move, acquiring the best player in the game has Yankees written all over it.

  • steves

    FWIW (and for those around at the time) it could be argued that home grown Stan Bahnsen was one of the Yanks top talents at the time he was traded (for the forgettable Rich McKinney) and, although not really the best players at the time (but still in prime late prime and home grown) let’s not forget Moose Skowron for Stan Williams and Billy Martin’s banishment in the 1950′s. I would also argue Murcer was the best player on the 1974 Yanks (Munson had not yet fully ascended and Murcer was still better than White and Nettles).

    • The Real Me

      “let’s not forget Moose Skowron for Stan Williams and Billy Martin’s banishment in the 1950?s.”

      Not forget?!?!? Most of us weren’t alive to have ever really known this! (And I’m one of the older ones on this site). Thanks for the education. :-)

      • steves

        LOL. When I started watching the Yankees Mantle was younger than Cano is today! The years go too fast. As James Earl Jones (as Terrance Mann) said in Field of Dreams: “The one constant through all the years Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time…”

  • DInnings

    The Yanks traded their best player Dave Winfield to the California Angels for Mike Witt on May 11, 1990.

    Winfield missed all of 1989 due to injury.

    Before that injury he posted .322/.398/.530/.927 with 159 OPS+, 25 HR, and 107 RBI in 1988, the best season by a Yankee that year and Winfield’s best all-around season considering he had it at age 36 and the only stat in his slashline lower than his ’84 was his BA.

    Don Mattingly had a fine 1989 but it was not as good as Winfield’s 1988 and since Winfield was a Yankee until he was traded, barely given a chance to show he was the best Yankee in ’90 – he was traded after making only 67 plate appearances for the ’90 Yanks – we have to say Winfield was the last best Yankee to be traded.

    Had Winfield played a full year in 1989, it’s safe to say he would’ve had a season at least as good as Mattingly’s ’89 if not better despite his age and considering he never had a bad season as a Yankee.

    Mattingly > Winfield 1985-87 no doubt but they were even in ’84 despite Mattingly juuust beating out Winfield for the batting title, Winfield was better in 82-83 (Mattingly wasn’t an everyday player all year then) and ’88 and probably would’ve been equal or better in 89-90 had he played in ’89 and played with the Yanks all year in ’90 (since his total ’90 > Mattingly’s.)