Pitchers and catchers are still at home. Position players have a few weeks left in vacation. Yet, the Brian Cashman Job Watch is already on the go.
Today, Joel Sherman checks in with his latest: Brian Cashman may very be building a farm system for his successor. Using the Super Bowl Champs as an example, Sherman draws parallels between Cashman and Ernie Accorsi, the former New York Giants GM who built the current Giants team.
It is possible, and Cashman knows this, that he might be rebuilding a farm system for another man, that he will play Accorsi and hand off something ready to blossom to his successor. He insists he is fine with that prospect, recalling how fortunate he was to be gifted a championship roster from his predecessor Bob Watson, saying he owes it to that memory and to professionalism and to Yankees fans to guarantee his baton pass is as fruitful.
“You want to make sure it is sustainable for the next person,” Cashman said.
Cashman has just one year left on his contract. No one would be surprised if he returned again, that his love for the job and his long history with the Steinbrenner family produce another contract. But no one around the Yankees – or really around baseball – would be surprised either if VP of scouting Damon Oppenheimer, like Reese, graduates from heading a draft room to directing the big room. Oppenheimer’s outstanding recent drafts have provided much of the backbone to support Cashman’s vision of restoring youth and financial sanity to the Yankees roster.
A lot of Brian Cashman’s most vocal critics have long pointed to the Yanks’ farm system in the pre-Cashman days as a sign that Brian is an overrated GM. While this argument ignores the fact that Brian Cashman, as an Assistant GM before his days as a General Manager, was instrumental in building up the Yankees farm system, it also ignores what Cashman has been able to accomplish since 2005 when he seemingly wrested control away from King George and his Tampa minions in order to build up a franchise.
Since then, the Yanks have skyrocketed in prospect ratings from the low 20s to the upper echelons of the list. That is not to say that Cashman has been a perfect GM. I’ll happily defend Cash, but I know that the Yankees are a flawed team with an astronomical payroll. But it’s hard to understate the importance of their farm system.
They have top-notch arms in Joba, Phil and IPK ready to contribute at the Major League level now. They have position players who should develop just in time to contribute when they are most needed. And they have a new organizational philosophy that will keep them spending on the amateur draft and international free agents while maintaining a competitive Big League club through free agency.
Who knows what the future holds for Cashman? He may jet to Philadelphia as many have speculated. He may stick around. He could retire and come back after a few years away from the game. But no matter the outcome in 2008, he has left his mark on this team, and it’s for the better.
What do you get when you walk 37 guys and strike out 39 in 50 innings while pitching to an ERA worse than league average and getting sent down to AAA in August? Well, if you’re Brian Bruney, the answer is a raise amounting to nearly 100 percent. Bruney and the Yanks settled their salary dispute before arbitration, and the righty’s take will jump from $395,500 to $725,000 in 2008. He’s getting rewarded for not doing his job. In other news, Phil Hughes saw an alligator. It’s a slow news week. · (5) ·
He may be out of the Presidential race, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t make him for “adopting” the Red Sox in October. One in ever 70 packs will carry a card with Rudy ‘shopped in to the Sox’s October celebration.
“It was great to be able to tell them what I’ve been saying all along, that I’ve never used steroids or growth hormone. And I look forward to being here I guess in this room next week. So, thank you very much. Y’all have a good day,” Roger Clemens said after five hours of questions (and probably as many autograph requests). I’m sure Brian McNamee will say the opposite, and Congress will be none the wiser. Taxpayer time and money well spent. · (34) ·
Today’s a big day for politically minded residents of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and a number of other states outside of Yankee territory. I just wanted to take a brief second to urge you all to vote today. This election – whether it’s Clinton vs. McCain, Obama vs. Romney or any other combination of match-ups – will be a big one, and it all starts with the primaries. Polls in New York are open until 9 p.m.; polls in Connecticut and New Jersey until 8. To find your polling place and for more information, the City Room blog has a rundown. Vote. · (13) ·
Virginia Tech released information about the ticket plan for the March 18 exhibition game between the Yankees and VT baseball team. As expected, the event is closed to the general public with 3000 tickets set aside for those VT students enrolled on April 16, 2007, 1000 reserved for VT faculty and the rest for those affected by the shootings. The game may also be telecast in the mid-Atlantic region. · (0) ·
Back in November, we noted that Derek Jeter and the City of New York were fighting over taxes. Today, the Daily News tells us that Jeter and the City have reached a secret settlement. That’s the whole news though; no one knows what the terms of the deal are. So that’s that. · (7) ·
The last time Lower Manhattan witnessed a ticker tape parade, it was a different era. Bill Clinton was closing out his presidency, and in the buildup to a hotly-contested election, the Yankees had just beaten the Mets in a Subway Series. The parade through the Canyon of Heroes ran in the shadows of the city’s tallest buildings.
Now, here we are in 2008 and finally — finally — another parade. Yet again, we’re on the precipice of an election day — and if you live in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or any other Super Tuesday state, go vote. The towers are gone, but the spirit of the city will be out in full force later today when Eli Manning, David Tyree, Plaxico Burress, Justin Tuck, Amani Toomer, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and the rest of the Giants will
nail Tom Brady for a decisive ten-yard sack bask in the glow of an unlikely Super Bowl win.
Once the parade ends and after the Giants receive their praise from the lips of Mayor and potential presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, New York’s attention will turn to baseball. Forget the Rangers and the 14-34 Knicks. In nine days, pitchers and catchers officially report to Tampa. Most of them are already enjoying the Florida sun, and a lot of the Yankee youngsters have taken three bullpen sessions. But still we fixate on Feb. 14 when life starts the six-week march to its rebirth on Opening Day.
And that, my friends, is where you come in. With ten days to go before camp opens and a few more weeks before the games begin, the baseball news cycle is drawing to a close. A whole group of mediocre free agents and Barry Bonds remain unsigned, but after the Eric Bedard trade is mercifully completed tomorrow and Brian Roberts heads to Chicago this weekend, the wheeling and dealing will be through. That still leaves us with some time before we start obsessing over every move Joe Girardi makes and bemoaning Kyle Farnsworth’s very existence.
So here’s my challenge: Throw out some ideas of what you would like to see as season preview material here on RAB. We could do the ever-clichéd position-by-position analysis, but we already know the Yankees’ areas of concern — young pitchers, bullpen, first base. We’ve been tossing around a few ideas but give us yours. It’s all about that give-and-take.
After a terrifying bout with a blot clot in his arm, Shelley Duncan says he’s ready to go for the 2008 campaign. This is great news for Duncan, good news for the team, and bad news for the forearms of his teammates. · (9) ·
Yes, there’s a chance that baseball’s biggest head will get a shot with the Bombers. The Yanks have expressed interest in the 30-year-old outfielder. He’d give the team a right-handed bench option.
Of course, this would be on a minor league deal, so as with Ensberg and Lane, there is no risk. If you look how the roster breaks down, the Yanks have a couple of options for bench spots:
10. TBA – bullpen
11. TBA – bullpen
12. TBA – bullpen
25. TBA – bench
And even Shelley’s spot isn’t guaranteed. So you have him, Ensberg, Lane, Nick Green, and Mench going up for two spots. Plus, it gives the team some decent insurance options should the injury bug bite during Spring Training.