Just typing the words of that title made me squirm a little bit. All things equal, I want Brian Cashman back as the General Manager of the New York Yankees. He’s a shrewd trade maker (see the Bobby Abreu and Nick Swisher deals) and he’s been good at finding useful parts on the cheap (see: the Yankee bullpens of the last few years; Marcus Thames, Andruw Jones, and Bartolo Colon) and has shown a willingness to hold on to the organization’s top prospects, even this past season when he could’ve gutted the system and simply skipped town.
Of course, this decision is not just up to me. It’s up to Hal Steinbrenner (who would probably like to have Cash back as well) and his crew, as well as Cashman himself. If one party–or both–decides it’s time to walk away, there are some replacement candidates out there. Fellow A.L. East GMs Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman are both going to be available, and Dodger GM Ned Colletti could be out there. We’ve also heard rumblings in the last week or so that Billy Beane is starting to grow discontented in Oakland. There are also internal options, like Mark Newman, Damon Oppenheimer, and Billy Eppler.
Each candidate has his pluses. The in-house troika is obviously familiar with the organization and its leadership and players. Epstein and Friedman know the A.L. East and have presided over winning organizations for the last few years. Colletti has worked in a big market, and Billy Beane has proven he can win with no money at all. We can let our minds wander and dream on what he could do with not just some money, but the most money.
But each one also has his drawbacks. Colletti has a reputation for not being the most forward thinking GM. Billy Beane likes his manager to be an extension of himself and while Joe Girardi has generally been on the same page with Cashman, I think some Beane/Girardi clashes would be possible. NewOppLer doesn’t have the GM experience and it might be difficult to throw one of them into a situation like the Yankee GM job. And while I won’t buy too much into this narrative, it’s possible that the Yankees wouldn’t want someone like Friedman, who’s worked essentially expectation free. Epstein is sort of like Cashman in that he’s both underrated and overrated at the same time. He’s obviously had a lot of cash to work with, but he’s still managed to make mostly the right moves.
Anyone after Brian Cashman should be considered plan B on down. He’s essentially the perfect fit for the job. He has a good rapport with the media most of the time, he has shown a willingness to be unsentimental when it comes to player decisions, and he usually pushes the right buttons and gets the right players for the team. Hopefully, any talk of a non-Cashman GM is purely academic and Brian is right back in his old spot for 2012 and beyond.
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