Cafardo: Yankees “on the verge” of making changes to scouting and player development departments

2013 Draft: Baseball America's Report Card
O'Brien homers three times in six AzFL games

Via Nick Cafardo: The Yankees appear to be “on the verge” of making changes to their scouting and player development departments. The team has been reviewing their farm system operations these last few weeks, starting with a staff meeting held by Hal Steinbrenner in August. “It’s something we’re going to be looking at. I have no problem dealing with reality,” said Brian Cashman when asked about the team’s lack of near MLB ready prospects last month.

There’s no word on what changes may be coming, but VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman and amateur scouting director Damon Oppenheimer are reportedly the most likely to get the axe. I would think Pat Roessler, the team’s director of player development since 2005, is on the chopping block as well. The barrage of unproductive high draft picks and stalled out top prospects has left the team in a dire situation at a time when payroll is coming down and free agent spending is going up around the league. The Yankees can’t sit around and act like this is acceptable any longer.

2013 Draft: Baseball America's Report Card
O'Brien homers three times in six AzFL games
  • Revan

    It has less to do with Newman and Oppenheimer but with a severe lack of patience in regards to the prospects.

    But at least they acknowledge they suck at this unlike many other fans…

    • Kenny

      If not Oppenheimer, Newman (and Roessler), who then is suffering from impatience?

  • Revan

    I think it has less to do with those two but rather the huge lack of patience in regards to developing.

    But at least they acknowledge they need dire improvement which is what half of this site does not believe..

    • jjyank

      We get it. You think we’re all a bunch of idiot Pollyannas. Good for you.

      • Farewell Mo

        Idiots, no.

        Polyannas who can never admit when the front office has shit the bed, absolutely.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          When you can actually say something specific that shows an understanding of the issue, I’ll back you up. The issue happens when folks like you don’t appear smart enough to understand what is happening when actual intelligent fans play out all sides of an issue rather than wave imaginary hammers.

          Until then, call me the Pollyana. I’ll call myself something else: just plain smarter than you.

          • Damon

            Tilapia – smartest authority on world issues to come out of Cuba. Lover of women, and certainly doesn’t live in his mom’s basement.

            • Michael Cutler


            • Pat D

              I guess that makes him the most interesting man on RAB.

              Try a little harder, ass.

    • Will (the other one)

      A tremendous insight. We really appreciate that you worded it two different ways for those of us with reading comprehension issues.

      • The Big City of Dreams

        Well maybe the first comment didn’t pop up after he posted it so he wrote it again. Not making an excuse but it has happened to me a few times.

        • Caballo Sin Nombre

          The reaction to his double posting illustrates that “huge lack of patience”. :)

          • The Big City of Dreams

            lol :)

          • Stratocaster

            Now that’s funny. I really laughed… out loud and everything.

    • Phil

      Patience? How long do you want to wait? Heathcott, Betances so many more of can’t miss prospects. The Yankees have the best collection of 4A players in baseball.

      I think these moves are 3 years too late.

      • Pat D

        This makes no sense.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Of course it does.

          Draw your own lines where you see fit, say the team isn’t living up to where you drew those lines, wipe keyboard off with Kleenex.

          • Pat D

            It still makes no sense.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        When were Betances or Heathcott ever “can’t miss”?

        • Pat D

          My biggest issue with that post was that neither guy is done yet, though obviously Betances has not much of a chance left, so why are they already “4A players?” Heathcott hasn’t even gotten to AAA yet.

          • Need Pitching & Hitting

            this too

          • OhioYanks


        • Robinson Tilapia

          They weren’t. Betances was an incredibly unpolished kid with lots of raw talent. Heathcott was supposed to have some character issues coming out of the draft, but the biggest issue has been avoiding injury. He’s still on the right track.

          Phil doesn’t know the players he’s forming his criticisms around.

          • OhioYanks

            But… but… but… Oppenheimer only drafts guys with great character and low baseball skills!!!! What are you doing to my meme?????????

      • Stratocaster

        That’s an awesome comment. I remember reading all of those articles about how Heathcott and Betances were sure fire hall-of-famers. Those were the days!

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Make really broad statement.
      Wait for others to challenge you in specifics.
      Call them non-believers for even challenging you.

      Hey, it works for congress.

    • JKK

      Look at the Cardinals and Bosox, both teams full of home grown talents with high end power pitching and prime aged core groups. Yankees have failed to produce this level of talent base since the days of mid-1990’s. Draft, Development, Evaluation have failed Yanks for many years. Let’s hire certain Cardinal player development teams to rebuild the entire system from group up and keep the good folks around and get rid of the people that have failed the Yanks over the past 18+ years.

  • KennyH123

    About time. Absolute no brainer dumping these guys. This is a results business and those guys are lucky to have lasted as long as they did.

    • OhioYanks

      Oppenheimer has arguably one of the best drafts in Yankees history in 2006. If your focus is all about results, you would probably agree that he bought himself some rope with that great draft. You can’t just say, hey Baseball America didn’t agree with your most recent draft so you’re out of here! (In fact, BA has the Yankees most recent draft as the 3rd best in MLB… so the results again might not be as cut and dry as you seem to think.)

      • radnom

        Oppenheimer has arguably one of the best drafts in Yankees history in 2006.

        Laughable statement. That is the danger of ranking drafts against “history” while the players involved still have prospect rankings. People (foolishly) believed this statement when Joba and IPK were top prospects.

        Are you honestly telling us that you think a draft where David Robertson was far and away the best player to come out of it is one of the best in team history?

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Depends on how you’re defining it.

          • Need Pitching & Hitting

            Looking back through their draft history, there’s a lot of awfully barren drafts.
            2006 looks like it’s going to end up not nearly as good as once thought, but it still may end up in the Yankees top 10 drafts.

            • Need Pitching & Hitting

              Counting only players the Yankees signed and who accumulated at least 2 bWAR, the 2006 class has accumulated 28.7 bWAR so far, which appears to be the 13th highest of all of the Yankees draft classes (again, counting only signed players with at least 2 bWAR)
              1) 1990 – 131.7 bWAR with Pettitte, Posada, Carl Everett, Shane Spencer, and Ricky Ledee
              2) 1981 – 98.2 bWAR with Fred McGriff, Bob Tewksbury, Eric Plunk, and Mike Pagliarulo
              3) 1992 – 78.5 bWAR with Jeter and Mike DeJean
              4) 1979 – 71.1 bWAR with Mattingly, Greg Gagne, and Pete Filson
              5) 1971 – 54 bWAR with Ron Guidry and Terry Whitfield
              6) 1968 – 45.9 bWAR with Thurman Munson
              7) 1984 – 40.2 bWAR with Al Leiter
              8) 2005 – 38.4 bWAR with Gardner and AJax
              9) 1996 – 31.2 bWAR with Eric Milton and Nick Johnson
              9t) 1982 – 31.2 bWAR with Jim Deshaies, Dan Pasqua, and Jim Corsi
              11) 1973 – 29.3 bWAR with Mike Heath, LaMaar Hoyt, and Garth Iorg
              12) 1986 – 29.1 bWAR with Hal Morris, Scott Kamieniecki, and Andy Stankiewicz
              13) 2006 – 28.7 bWAR with DRob, Kennedy, Joba, and Melancon

              It appears the 2006 class will likely end up in the top 10, with a shot at the top 5.

              • Robinson Tilapia

                Just awesome. Thank you.

              • OhioYanks

                Nice analysis. It hasn’t been a super top-heavy haul so far (which is largely what gets drafts up that list, I’d say), but it was a nice deep draft that infused a whole lot of talent into the system.

        • OhioYanks

          Your expectations aren’t realistic. As shown above, it will likely go down as one of the better drafts in franchise history in terms of MLB production and the guys taken have not even entered their theoretical prime seasons yet (heck, Betances has barely even debuted). While you can’t rate a draft while guys are still prospects, their prospect value can help the team swing trades so it is worth something.

  • JohnnyC

    While I’m not married to DO, Newman or Roessler remaining in the organization, I think it’s essentially a diversionary tactic to fire them. The Cardinals, now lauded as the best system in the universe, were ranked last as recently as 2006. What happened was John Mozeliak taking over as GM for Walt Jocketty in 2007. And Mozeliak had been Jocketty’s assistant. To cut to the chase, the problem wasn’t drafting or development — it was the mismanagement of resources. Since 2005, the Cardinals have had 40 Top 120 draft picks (4th most in MLB) and been very aggressive in turning over older, expensive veterans for prospects and younger players acquired in trades. The game changer was a new vision on top of the pyramid, the GM. In short, I’m not sure Cashman isn’t the one who should be leaving.

    • Peter

      I’m with you. Those guys aren’t getting it done, but Cashman hasn’t done anything productive in years at this point. He needs to go.

      • http://central crawdaddy

        Unfortunately, you’re not going to get your wish as Cashman is going to get first crack at rebuilding this organization.

        • The Big City of Dreams


          I’ve been critical of Cashman but if anyone thought he was in danger of getting removed they had another thing coming. He is going to get a chance to create a new team going forward.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            ….or, if he does not, it won’t be as a result of his getting blame for the farm system. It will be because he and the org agreed he’d play a different role in a restructuring.

            I still think we’re at the tail end of his time as GM, but that he’s with this organization for a very long time.

            • The Big City of Dreams

              it won’t be as a result of his getting blame for the farm system


              That will be part of the reason. Maybe he can take an Epstein role down the line.

      • OhioYanks

        How did the Yankees make the playoffs all but two seasons of his tenure if Cashman didn’t do anything productive? Serious question. What is productive? How have the Yankees won so much without it?

    • kenthadley

      And a new vision on top would predicate a firm ceiling in the Cano negotiations, and a willingness to walk away at the wrong price. That’s what happened with in the Pujols deal. I wonder if Cashman and YES have the stomach for that?

      • http://central crawdaddy

        Cashman had the stomach to walk away from Arod back in 2007. I think the proper question is whether ownership and their partners like YES have the stomach for it.

        • The Other Mister D

          This is always the question with this team – how much of the “direction” is decided by the GM, and how much is decided by the accountants, owners and network?

          • Robinson Tilapia

            How isn’t that the question with any sports organization?

      • The Big City of Dreams

        But the Cards were set up better than the Yankees are right now. A lot of ppl bring up them walking away from Pujols but forget how properly constructed that team was.

        • OhioYanks

          True. At the same time, the guys they had behind Pujols were older prospects who were not all that highly regarded by fans and media. They were better positioned (better health and some early MLB success under their belts), but the Yankees equivalent would be something like turning over, say, 2b, 3b, and RF to CoJo, Adams, and Segadin only to watch them blossom into All-Stars. Those guys got hurt or struggled in MLB this season, but if 2013 had gone a little differently it wouldn’t have been worlds different from the Cardinals letting Pujols walk and replacing him with Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter. Craig was never a top 100 prospect and was 24/25 in AAA. Carpenter was also never top 100 and 26 before getting a real role at a position he had like zero experience at… he posted 7 fWAR…

          I don’t think it would work if the Yankees did that, I’m just trying to demonstrate how crazy good/lucky the Cardinals execution was. The same Yankees fans with no faith in Yankee prospects who aren’t considered the best in baseball by the media are all over a team that won by promoting a bunch of prospects the media didn’t think were all that great. If they were Cardinals fans I bet they would have been flipping a total shit at the prospect of Craig or Carpenter getting major roles.

          • The Big City of Dreams

            Yes they have had some luck in this turn around.

    • http://central crawdaddy

      There have been a couple of articles written about the Cardinals back then in which a power struggle ensued.

      What happened is Jeff Luhnow, the current Astros GM won a power struggle over Walt Jocketty. At that time, Luhnow not only ran the farm system, but also the draft. The owner, Bill DeWitt sided with Luhnow and thus Jocketty was fired and Mozeliak, who had a close relationship with Luhnow was promoted to GM.

    • Will (the other one)

      I wonder if your last sentence hints at one of the biggest parts of the problem. The Yankee front office seems, at least from the outside, to be so byzantine that it’s hard to tell on any given day who’s responsible for what. What direct role do Oppenheimer and Newman play in personnel selection and development compared to, say, Cashman himself? Ownership, which has traditionally had its fingers in all sorts of org behavior? Lower-level personnel we’ll never, ever hear of?

      To say you’re “not sure” whether Cashman shouldn’t be held responsible just strikes me as the appropriate comment here. It seems that our front office functions so differently from the St. Louis model that it’s hard to draw a helpful parallel; I’m just not sure who else we could really point to that would even approximate what we have going.

      • OhioYanks

        For what other team do you have knowledge on exactly which FO employee was how responsible for what decision? I don’t think that has anything to do with the Yankees. It’s just the nature of organizations.

        • The Other Mister D

          Let us hope that the organization itself knows, so it has some idea who should be held responsible. The fog that shrouds the Yankees decision making process should make the fans a bit hesitant before calling for a specific head on a platter.

          • OhioYanks

            Agreed. It was kind of necessary to wait to take action until the off-season, but hopefully they’ve taken the past few weeks and months to figure out their strengths and weaknesses and craft a plan going forward.

            I haven’t done any comparative analysis of the Yankees FO to others, so I am serious when I ask people how they think the Yankees system is different from others. Do you really know exactly what the Cardinals Assistant GMs are telling the GM? I don’t see how it’s possible. From what I understand Eppler is in charge of pro scouting and Opp in charge of amateur scouting… don’t really see how that’s unclear.

    • OhioYanks

      I think that’s an oversimplification.

      They’ve done a great job of building a young staff through early picks recently and Wang is promising, but very few of their contributors were actually taken in the top 120 and many were taken before 2007
      Molina was drafted in 2000
      Wainwright came over in 2003
      Garcia was drafted in 2005
      Craig and Jay and Robinson were drafted in 2006
      Don’t know when power was transfered, but Freese came over in December 2007
      Adams and Carpenter were drafted in 2007, but they came in the 23rd and 13th rounds… nothing to do with stockpiling early picks and necessarily a big stroke of luck since they let every other team get 10-20+ shots at them before taking them… The Astros take those guys in rounds 22 and 12 and we might be having a very different discussion. That’s alomst 10 fWAR on the Cards’ 2013 team. Perhaps they make some other genius move if they never draft those guys, but there’s also a decent chance they are in a Wild Card play-in this season rather than division champs.
      The new regime traded 3 prospects to get Matt Holliday and re-sign him to a big deal, also traded for their closer

      Obviously Mozeliak looks like a very, very good GM. And who knows what decisions he was making before getting the head job? Maybe he was responsible for all the good ones. A lot of what has gone on was already in place when he took over, though. While there’s definitely an argument that you make your own luck, a huge amount of luck has gone into things like no one taking the guys they picked up in the teen and twenty rounds in the hundreds of picks before they got them or the Red Sox deal with Carlos Martinez being voided. This is just the nature of player personnel, but it’s possible that the Cardinals just had a string of amazing luck in terms of who was still on the board that can’t be sustained. Which isn’t to say the aren’t good drafters, just that even great drafters are going to have their results influenced by luck.

      Anyway, in terms of Cashman, who knows? Pointing out that maybe the best GM in baseball is better than Cashman doesn’t really help us unless the Yankees can hire away Mozeliak.

  • Terry

    About time. It is a bad farm system.

  • Darren

    On the one hand, I hate reactionary firings in sports when so much is due to pure luck and factors outside of anyone’s control.

    On the other hand, at SOME point you have to make a change, even if it’s just for the sake of change. Other than Cano, Robertson and Gardner, the Yankees haven’t developed anyone from the minors in literally a generation. To quote Billy Joel, “And that’s too long”

    • OhioYanks

      I don’t see why you are blaming the current staff for things their predocessors did. They shuffled the P development staff just a year ago, for example. If what happened 15 years ago really relevant to those guys? Opp has been in charge since 2006. Is there much use in looking at a draft from the early 2000s and blaming him for the results?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Why dismiss those three guys?

      You don’t make a change for the sake of making one. You make a change because you know the reason why you’re making that change.

      Firing because it feels good is the stuff of Donald Trump and Mr. McMahon.

  • Chris

    Front office and scouting personnel are one area where the Yankees can flex their financial muscle and not worry about having to pay penalty taxes. They should buy away as many key people from successful orgs like Tampa and St Louis who do a tremendous job with talent. You can’t go past $189M, you can’t overpay draft picks or even international free agents anymore… so buy the best talent identifiers and developers. It will take a few years for this to show its results but this combined with the Yankees ability to smartly augment that homegrown talent by signing and retaining key free agents is how dynasties can happen under the new rules.

    • AllyinCt

      I agree. These guys have indirectly been costing the Yankees a load of money, in that expensive free agents have to be signed to make up for a lack of home-grown talent. I’d like to see a blend of players where free agents are needed only sparingly to complement our own developed talent.

    • OhioYanks

      It’s a good idea in principal, but is probably easier said than done. It’s very hard to evaluate who or what is responsible for the success of an organization. It’s dozens of people working together and a bunch of interrelated activities. For example, if you hire away someone from the Rays’ amateur scouting department you might be really, really dissapointed with the results: Rays hadn’t had a single player they drafted since 2007 debut with them until Beckham this season. The Yankees just turned over their P development staff last year anyway, but if you beleive Tampa’s strength is in developing Ps you might also be dissapointed if you bring in a P guru only to find it was strong drafting 10 years ago plus pro scouting of other orgs that led to all their success. You also may find out that a tremendous amount of luck helped them or that they were exploiting a market inefficiency that other teams have since caught onto.

      Even if you correctly identify exactly who is responsible for what in the org and isolate their performance, if you bring them in with a promotion they might struggle in a new role that requires more management and teach what they were good at than doing what they were good at.

      If it were easy to spot and steal the FO talent of other teams, I have to think that in as unequal a financial landscape as MLB the richer teams would already be all over the poorer team’s talent. Maybe they are really stupid, but my assumption is that they are decently smart and it’s just really, really hard to both identify why another team was successful in acquiring and developing players and then go out and replicate it.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Exactly. This is spot-on.

        Your points are always spot-on the first time you make them.

        • OhioYanks

          Noted… it’s basically an addiction.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Step awaaaaaaay.

  • Matt DiBari


  • Steve

    It’s about time.

  • cooolbreeez

    I’d rather have three $8mm per players on three year deals than Cano at 7 years and $24mm. I think that would be a good place to start restructuring.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      Players that have signed 3 year deals at $7M-$9m AAV in the past few offseasons.
      after 2012: (first year performance)
      Cody Ross: 1.8 fWAR, 102 wRC+ in 94 games first year
      Jonathan Broxton: 4.11 ERA, -0.4 fWAR in 34 games
      Jeremy Guthrie: 4.04 ERA, 1.1 fWAR in 33 starts
      Brandon League: 5.30 ERA, -1.0 fWAR in 58 games
      after 2011: (performance first 2 years)
      Josh Willingham: 125 wRC+, 1.75 fWAR/year
      Heath Bell: 4.59 ERA, 0.2 fWAR/year
      after 2010: (performance for all 3 years)
      Juan Uribe: 84 wRC+, 1.87 fWAR/year

      First, it’s notable how few players actually sign this type of contract. Nobody really stands out as a tremendous value – though Willingham, Uribe, and Ross have been solid on a $/WAR basis. There have been a very very big busts in that range as well – notably the relievers.
      Second, the total fWAR of this group over all of the years in the contract so far was barely over 11 across 11 total seasons. For reference, Cano has produced 13.7 fWAR by himself in just the past 2 seasons. Even the 3 players who have produced reasonably decent values managed only a combined 10.9 fWAR across 6 seasons while earning $40M in that span.

      The point: Be careful what you ask for.

      • The Other Mister D

        How about 2 $14m players for 3-4 years? And the question with Cano (obviously) is how long can he continue to put up 5+ WAR seasons?

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          The contracts that meet that criteria over the past 3 offseasons ($13-$15M AAV, 3-4 years):
          Victorino – 3/39M, 119 wRC+, 5.6 fWAR (monster bargain so far)
          Swisher – 4/$56M, 116 wRC+, 2.4 fWAR (disappointing start)
          Edwin Jackson – 4/52, 4.98 ERA, 2.0 fWAR (disappointing start)
          Mark Buehrle – 4/58M, 3.95 ERA, 2.25 average fWAR(2 years in)
          Adam Dunn – 4/56M, 96 wRC+, -1.3 total fWAR over 3 years (disaster)

          Outside of Victorino, it doesn’t really look very good.
          As for Cano sustaining, that’ll almost definitely be an issue in the back of the contract, but most likely they’d be better off paying Cano, at least for the first few years of the deal.
          If he can sustain for 3-4 years, Tex, CC, and ARod’s contracts will expire, and carrying one potentially bad remaining contract really shouldn’t be much of an issue.
          If he goes bad earlier than that, it will be a major issue.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Excellent response, both times.

  • Dan

    Hopefully this ends any more “character drafts” and they take talant instead “good make up”

    • OhioYanks

      Have you been in a comma the last two years? Did you miss when they spent millions on questionable characters like Heathcott and Williams? Do you think the Yankees are in the minority of MLB teams in valuing an amateurs work ethic and mental make-up?

      • Robinson Tilapia

        An ellipsis.

        • Pat D

          A mulatto
          An albino
          A mosquito
          My libido

        • OhioYanks

          Typos aside, most Yankees fans seem to have slept through the past two drafts. They also seem fairly unaware that DBJ wasn’t taken until the 50s.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Wasn’t disagreeing. Just poking fun.

      • Betty Lizard

        OK, I’m stealing “have you been in a comma the last two years.”

        “Have you been in a comma the last two years,” he asked?

        “Hell, no,” she replied. “I did great in my brackets!”

  • FLYER7

    Is it the on the ground field instruction, coaches and minor league managers as much to blame as the people making the picks?

  • OhioYanks

    A lot of fans around here seem to advocate this “these guys should have been gone years ago” mentality. That’s a pretty disingeneous stance in my opinion. A prospect cycle is, what, 4-6 years? You get the occasional quick riser, but it takes a while to develop prospects. If you only give an amateur scouting and MiLB development staff a 2 or 3 year window you are ultimately going to be judging them largely on other people’s work. If you feel that you put the best people available in the roles, you need a decent sample on which to evaluate them. The volatility level of prospects is such that one or two bad drafts and a few prospects who don’t make it isn’t really sufficient evidence to change everything you are doing.

    The Yankees went into this season with what was seen as a very respectable farm system. They don’t have MLB ready guys good to go one season and suddenly it’s an indictment of the whole system?

    I think that this stance is mostly about blaming guys who have been in power maybe 6, 7 years for what they see as 20 years of incompetence. Your anger over the 20 year issue is clouding your judgement of the current crew.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they do need some turnover in their amateur scouting and MiLB development. They seem to be going about it wisely by spending a few months evaluating things before making changes. Figure out where the problems are and where the strengths are. The stance of many fans does not seem to be as enlightened.

  • EndlessJose

    They have to get better college players and international players. It can’t be some High school player who raw or a Dominican kid who 16 and years from coming up here.

    They need young talent quickly.

    • OhioYanks

      I’m not sure to what extent you can make the kind of talent you want appear. I think you have to play the market. There are plenty of examples of HS and 16 yr olds who quickly rise through the minors. Your extreme approach would lead to a team passing up chances at guys like Mike Trout or Jurickson Profar and instead taking what is likely inferior talent that matches your criteria. I would argue the better strategy is a more flexible one.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Actually, all of those matter, as does scouting other teams’ systems, the Rule 5 draft, scouting independent leagues, etc. Multiple points of entry.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    So heads are going to roll. Then what?

    It’s always nice red meat for the masses to hear someone’s getting fired.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      Hopefully they come to a better understanding on what they need to do in order to get more out of their system. I seriously think they are shocked that the farm hasn’t been the pipeline they envisioned.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Maybe Hal. Probably not Cashman. It’s tea leaf reading like anyone else’s, but I see Cash as frustrated and, yeah, Hal playing detached big boss who swoops in suddenly and doesn’t really get the intricacies of it all.

        There are plenty of places where I think they could better. New faces could take care of all of that, or it could be cosmetic and take care of none of it.

        I’d like to see shrewder decisions around keeping high picks while not taking yourself out of the FAMILY market.
        I’d like a bit more precision around injury diagnosis, although I admit I can’t say anything more specific about it than that.
        I’d like a continuation of the draft strategy of the past two seasons, while maximizing points of entry into every avenue by which players can enter the system. They are already good at several of those.

        If new blood does that, great. If old blood does that, then great as well.

        • The Big City of Dreams

          You made some good points especially when it comes to injuries. Not saying they can never make a mistake but there does seem to be some issue when it comes to injuries and the diagnosis.

          If they are getting rid of Opp and New I hope the new individuals come from outside the organization. That’s not to say ppl inside can’t do the job but sometimes a different perspective is needed.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Family market? Lol. Obviously, that should read FA market.

  • Eselquetodolosabe

    imo – very well thought out and expressed. Too bad you chose the old “dog pile on the rabbit” routine, when responding to “revan”, that is so prevalent on this site.

    • Pat D

      If you post the same thing twice, you deserve it.

  • Thomas

    The Yankees need to have a better chain of command. For all the negatives that cashman has on here, the fact is that he didn’t want resign ARod when he opted out and he didn’t want to give up a very good draft pick by signing Rafael Soriano. The front office with Levine running counter to what the GM wants, needs to be addressed. It would be the same as the GM telling the manager which players to play.

  • Eselquetodolosabe

    Ok Pat D, though I was attempting a response for Will(the other one). Darn Internet thingy, confusing. He did present a possible dichotomy between hierarchy issues within NY’s front office…., and a departure, or possibly a “slow” transition to a “less” intrusive ownership group.

    • Pat D

      The point remains. If you’re going to post the same thing twice, in slightly different worded styles, for whatever the reason (likely a refresh glitch), people are going to let you know about it. That’s just the way it is.

      I also happen to like his handle name.

  • Mel Hall

    I think a lot has to do with where the Yankees have drafted over the years. The core team that brought the championships in the 90s and 2000s came from when the Yankees were bad and drafting higher up in the late 80s and early 90s. Tampa, Pittsburgh and KC have been drafting high for 10 years, they are just getting better now because they are getting the luxury tax money from the Yankees to help sign and keep their good young players for long term deals. That’s why it helps the Yankees to reset their luxury tax threshold.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      Luxury tax money doesn’t go directly to teams.
      It goes to pay player benefits and for the Industry Growth Fund (although presumably the money going for benefits means the teams have to pay less of the benefit bill themselves)

  • Thomas

    We have seen some decent talent coming out of minors but some have been traded for veterans. TClip, tabata, Jackson, Kennedy, are a few examples. Robertson, cano, nova, phelps, Gardner, and warren are examples. Joba and Hughes were decent also but not really all-stars in all these except cano.

  • Dick M

    Great article in the Times today on the Cardinals FO and their approach:

    The Times has a pay wall but I hope you can see it or find it elsewhere.

    Drafting and development are paramount now. Hopefully we are finally figuring this out. The question is are the guys in charge up to it or not.

    • OhioYanks

      3 out of 4 teams in the LCSs this season arguably relied more on free agency and trades to build their team than recent player development. Certainly developing talent is very, very valuable, but I think most fans are incorrect in their assertation that development is now suddenly the way to build a team. It was always important and the most successful teams in MLB right now largely didn’t do it all that well recently.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      So, when the Red Sox win, will signing vets to shrewd short-term deals on the back of finding a big-spending team to take on several large contracts be more paramount?

      When the next team with a big payroll wins a championship, will spending again be more paramount?

      Developing players through your system has ALWAYS mattered, even when it wasn’t Priority 1-A for a franchise for a period.

      It’s a very good read, though.

      • Dick M

        Paramount is a relative term. And I’m talking going forward, when draft and international spending is limited and teams lock up their best talent prior to them reaching free agency.

        The Red Sox draft and development system is out-performing ours by a wide margin. You really don’t want to go there.

  • Farewell Mo

    Cashman really should go along with Newman and Oppenheimer. When he took control all those years ago, he preached player development and developing the farm system. If anything, they’ve gotten worse not better in those areas.

    He’s been in this job too long and some new blood and fresh ideas are needed.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      To be fair they are better now than they were when he took over. Now that;s largely based on the fact that they literally had very little down there so they could only go up.

      But as of now they are not where they should be or where they envisioned.

      • Farewell Mo

        I don’t think he’s a bad GM, just pretty average considering the core he inherited and the huge advantages in resources he’s gotten to work with.

        • The Big City of Dreams

          Yea he’s not the worst ever. He does have the task of going to the PS ever yr and developing and doing it under the microscope of NY.

      • qwerty

        Agreed, since Cashman took over player development there has been more talent in the system. Unfortunately, Cashman looks at his best prospects as trade chips to acquire guys like Austin Kearns and Jonathan Albaladejo, just to name a couple.

        • The Big City of Dreams

          Well he does have a tendency to trade a number of his prospects. He has made it known how difficult it is to move players he is high on.

  • TJ

    The big issue with player development that I have is that they never seem to let the young players get a shot. They tend to run lots of hype on guys and then set too many restrictions. I say let them in there and lets see what they have. Joba and Hughes were horribly mismanaged and probably should have been left alone as starters and both never should have been in the pen. Probably the switching back and forth is what led to both of their problems. Then we hear about the killer Bs and hype hype hype and never see any of them. It seems they hold them back far too much and let others hang around far too long. So a change is certainly needed. They have consistently not developed some good young talent while other teams have (see the red sox). Outside of Cano, there have been no impact players to replace the aging and retired stars. Gardner perhaps.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      The issue with the Bs is injuries and inconsistency. I don’t think they have held them back. There was an incredible amount of hype around them though.

      They probably did hang onto Hughes and Joba too long though.

      • qwerty

        Cashman was waiting for the right deal to come along.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      That first sentence could have been written at almost any point in the past 35 years.

  • Twac00

    One of the differences between the Cardinals and the Yankees is that the Cardinals give guys like Craig and Carpenter a legitimate shot. Not every top prospect works out and a bunch of good players come from players who weren’t highly touted when they were coming up. If the Yankees had let their CoJo’s and Adams’ of the last few years we may not be talking about this.

    I think part of the problem is that the Yankees are too reliant on veterans. It seems like they’d rather sign a veteran who’s at the end of his career than give an unknown prospect a shot, at least recently. A guy like Mustelier could have easily produced as well as Wells or Ichiro.

    • OhioYanks

      I disagree. You can’t make a bad player good just by letting him play and the Yankees did give both Adams and CoJo (until he got hurt) some chances.

      Mustelier could probably be about as bad as Wells was last season, but I doubt he could be as good as Ichiro. There was a swing of almost 2 fWAR between Ichiro and Wells, by the way.

  • Tom

    Are some of these folks the cause of the issue? Hard to say definitively.

    Will the replacements be better than them? Who knows.

    But at some point you have to take action. You would need decades of information to definitively identify each person’s impact on the overall system like some folks seem to want to figure out prior to taking action. Similarly you would need replacements with ridiculously long track records to know with reasonable certainty they will be an improvement.

    But for whatever reason, the system has struggled, and at some point, even with imperfect information, you have to make a decision and potentially make a change. You can’t be paralyzed by fear of the unknown or a lack of certainty over the person that might replace them. There may be mis-steps or some degree of trial and error, but it doesn’t mean you don’t move forward because of that uncertainty.

    It was the same re-frame when folks were saying let Joe G walk. The response from some was “who exactly are you replacing him with” – that is/was the completely wrong question; the question is/was “Is Joe G the right manager moving forward” and that dictates whether you retain him. The fear of “we might get worse” is not reason to retain someone (if you think they are not part of the solution).

    It’s that attitude that has led to career journeyman like Nix and Stewart latching on to the Yankees for far too long and a general level of what I feel is complacency (which others may refer to as stability). Their replacements may have performed better, may have performed worse, but you don’t roll with those guys simply because they are known quantities.

    I think shaking up the pitching coordinator was a good step, but it’s not like you can wait 5 years to see if that was indeed the fix (it also doesn’t address the position player aspect of the farm)

    • Tom

      re-frame?… Christ Stewart is clearly on the mind.
      Maybe “refrain”?

      • Robinson Tilapia

        If we were talking family therapy terminology, “reframe” would have worked as well. I actually glossed right over it thinking it sounded right.

        Nix’s role was magnified the second time around due to injuries. He’s going to play fungible 25th man on MLB teams moving forward.

        I also think Joe’s role is simpler than, say, Damon Oppenheimer. You can carve Joe right out of the picture with less concern as to what else he touches. Good refrain/reframe but, the higher you go up the ladder, the more complicated who, or what, the issue is gets.

        I couldn’t pick Damon Oppenheimer or Billy Eppler or whatnot out of a lineup. I honestly don’t care whether they say or go. Somewhere up there in this thread, I listed what I’d specifically want to see changed. It’s more important to me that those changes get made than what personnel is making that change. That’s all.

    • OhioYanks

      You have created a strawman that doesn’t represent anyone’s actual opinion. You really think that maybe a dozen people on here all think the Yankees should not take action because they don’t know who they will bring in? You really believe that?

      The actual argument is that they need to assess their strengths and weaknesses (as they reportedly are). They have to know the source of any problems rather than just going around and randomly firing people.

      They absolutely do need to assess their people relative to replacements, just like you do with players. No one is perfect. You have to evaluate them against the next best alterative. If they are better than the alternative, why the hell are you firing them?

      Same thing goes for someone like Nix. The guy is above replacement level and has signed up twice to get no MLB guarantee from the Yankees. Who else do you propose they get to be willing to have zero guarantee of actually making the team?

      What is your alternative here, guy? Change the development staff every year until the year you bring up 5 productive prospects?

      • Tom

        “They have to know the source of any problems rather than just going around and randomly firing people.”

        Yes, I’m advocating randomly firing people. How about we start with the equipment manager? Travel secretary? At least you aren’t resorting to mischaracterizing my position while bitching about me doing the same thing.

        If they can’t figure out the problem by now, do you really believe another two weeks or months (or years?) is going to lead to an “Ah Hah!” that was the problem moment? I guess if they wait long enough the probability increases.

        “What is your alternative here, guy? Change the development staff every year until the year you bring up 5 productive prospects?”

        Yes, bringing a new guy every year, hell every 3 months based on the monthly decline or improvement of prospects That is CLEARLY the alternative to just staying the course. Obviously, this is what I’m advocating. And I am the one creating strawmen and mischaracterizing people’s opinions?

        The one final alternative is new people at the top. If they haven’t been continuously looking at the problem and looking at strengths and weaknesses like any well run organization/business does, then maybe in addition to the actual doers (scouts/analytics/development folk) maybe there is a general leadership/management issue at the top.

        How much time do you suggest and what specific information would you suggest they gather that they shouldn’t already have. Is there vital new information coming in that will alter the perception of the problem? Or is it more that now it is an actual priority to look at it? (which in my view is a telling indictment of how important this has been until recently )


        And Nix is crap, ~1 WAR total over two years (and an absurd ~160 games) is indicative of a team that is far too comfortable with certain players. When you say if not Nix, who?, You are proving my very point. Make a trade. Make it a priority last offseason (and this isn’t hindsight – it was pretty damn obvious – I think Mike A even had it spelled out in terms of significant needs last offseason) When you pass out an MiLB contract for a backup at 2 injury question mark positions, you are taking a flier, not making a plan. That’s fine for the bullpen or generic ‘depth’ in the organization. An average of ~0.5 WAR over 81 games…yeah how in the world can you find that in the offseason?

        At least you have stopped the nonsense with Stewart. Or do I need to provide alternatives for him too?

        How about Hughes? I don’t have a specific starter in mind to fill his spot, should I not advocate letting him walk without having a replacement name? Is that how roster construction works now?

        • OhioYanks

          I will try to explain the Nix thing again: he was not on the 40 man going into camp either of the two seasons he’s been with the team. They signed him to a minor league deal and then passed him off the 40 man. He was not a critical part of their plans. They didn’t have enough faith in him even to put him on their roster. People got hurt and he got on the roster. Please let me know who you would like them to sign to a minor league deal as AAA depth that is significantly better than Jayson Nix.

          Stewart is a solid backup. One of the best defensive Cs in the game according to every single expert I have read or heard anything from in terms of both watching him play and crunching the stats. One study reported on here had his pitch framing WAR at 2 sometime in the middle of the year. Your decision to ignore that because it’s not totally proven is exactly what you are arguing against with FO and players.

          If Hughes is bad but the alternative is worse, yes you fucking stick with Hughes. It’s not at all a tough concept to grasp.


          I was trying to explain to you what other people are saying since you don’t seem to understand. I wasn’t trying to represent your points. What I was actually saying is that other people are probably not saying something that’s much different from what you advocate, they are just going about it in a way that is more analytical. What I was actually saying is that if you disagree with what they are saying you’d have to basically believe the things I wrote. If you don’t, then you probably actually largely agree with their points.

  • Cuso

    This is like slowly ripping a band-aid off….or stabbing a deer to death with a spoon.

    Just friggin do it and stop leaking stories of “imminent” changes to S&D.

  • FLYER7

    Cant believe people really buy Sox as homegrown…Ortiz? No Napoli? No Drew? No Victorino? No Gomes? No Either catcher, Salty or Ross? No…Lackey or Peavy? No…bullpen, Uehara or the other closers previously before injured, Hanrahan or Bailey? No Breslow? No…so who was? Pedroia, Bogaerts, Middlebrooks, Ellsbury, Nava, Lester and Buckholtz…

    • Robinson Tilapia

      There’s this as well.

      There’s more recent homegrown guys in the lineup. The vast chasms of difference between the franchises are exaggerated, though.

      Also, Craig Hansen.

      • Pat D

        And Daniel Bard. And Ryan Lavarnway. And Michael Bowden. And Casey Kelly.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Cashman, somehow, failed.

  • MSammy

    I don’t think patience or a lack thereof is a factor.

    Kids just don’t play well enough to merit promotion and it seems that in many cases they get moved up because of time as much as because of numbers/contribution.

    Yankees never draft high, generally, so they are not going to gifted great talent. They have work for talent by scouting it correctly and then develop it. I can’t tell you the drill down on why they fail to promote young players to the big leagues, but I have to believe it comes from a failure of both areas mentioned.

    Are they bringing in the right talent? Can they coach them up after they bring them into the fold? This is baseball, not rocket science. I mean everyone knew about Bryce Harper, but Allen Craig was drafted in the 8th round. There still are good players to be had at the end of the first round and beyond. Another telling sign is there are very good major league players out there who were drafted by New York and then went on to other teams and found their success. Zach McAllister and Jose Quintana come to mind. Both players had sub 4 ERAs in the AL.

    The Yankees need to become the model franchise when it comes to scouting and player development. Unfortunately, necessity is the mother of invention. Since the Yankees haven’t had to rely on youth in just about ever, it’s understandable that it’s never been prioritized as a baseball strategy. Only in this recent season, has the lack of ML ready talent really bit them.

    I think now that NY is forced to rely on player development more, you’ll see the organization move towards moving more resources in that direction. I would expect to see them not just firing a guy and hope that it fixes things, but reshape their player scouting and development system structurally. If they don’t, then they are going to fall behind the baseball Joneses. They are no longer in a salary league all of their own.