From Steve Lombardi:
The only good thing Cashman has done in the last 12 months is take out the Steinbrenner Family Checkbook and spend more money than any other team in baseball was capable of spending in one off-season…to acquire the best talent on the free agent market…and plug the holes on his team that were the result of his own inability to produce or acquire quality players (outside of spending hundreds of millions to get it done).
This is typical fare from Lombardi, but it does give us an opportunity to review Cashman’s work in the context of this clearly bitter critique.
Firstly, Cashman gets plenty of blame when a major free agent signing does not work out, yet many have a difficult time giving him credit when he brings in the right players. The three major free agent acquisitions from this past offseason have largely met expectations, and have fit seamlessly into the Yankees clubhouse. All three have become leaders, and none have shown any sort of problem in dealing with the glare of playing in New York. If you want to rip Brian for bringing in players who cannot handle the big city, you need to tip your cap when he brings in players who excel in the New York environment.
Secondly, the idea that Cashman has been unable to “produce or acquire quality players” is ridiculous. He has made mistakes, but the 2009 Yankees are loaded with players that Brian brought in through the draft, trade, or waiver wire. Of the players who have a chance to make the postseason roster, these were brought in by Brian through those means: Cano, A-Rod, Cabrera, Swisher, Gardner, Molina, Pena, Cervelli, Hinske, Hairston, Guzman, Chamberlain, Hughes, Gaudin, Aceves, Coke, Bruney, and Robertson.
These Yankees have exceeded 100 wins because Cashman made the right moves on the free agent market, and then supplemented with shrewd trades and homegrown players. That is exactly what the GM of the Yankees should be doing. Money is where the Yankees have a comparative advantage, and they should be utilizing that edge as much as possible. At least for 2009, Brian Cashman has done a good job in making the most of the assets handed him.
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