Brian Cashman will almost surely sign a new contract with the Yankees in the next week or so. Its amazing to think that Cashman is just 44 years old. He’s been general manager since 1998, and we can all recite the team’s accomplishments during that time. He might be haggling with the organization over some small amount of money (what’s a few million dollars between friends?), but as the off season begins, he’s once again at the helm.
After watching the fiasco with the Red Sox over the past 30 days, I think we are all reminded how lucky we are to have Brian Cashman. The Red Sox were a successful team under Theo Epstein. Terry Francona is an excellent manager. I have a hard time imagining that the Red Sox can do better, short of pulling Andrew Friedman from the Rays. The Red Sox purge of 2011 is reminiscent of some of the old time George Steinbrenner episodes – lots of dirty flying about in the press and important and successful people fired after good, if not World Championship, seasons.
I can’t imagine what drama would have happened had the division series existed in the early days of George Steinbrenner. The Yankees lost to a clearly inferior team, after putting their best foot forward and scoring more runs. But still, their pitching staff was in shambles, and key, highly paid, players did not perform anywhere near expectations. There was a time that this would justify, at the very least, some kind of vile character assassination from Yankee higher-ups, and in some circumstances could have resulted in a purge of their own. And I think that the actions of John Henry (and other owners in the MLB) suggest that this behavior isn’t unique to the Yankees. General managers need the freedom to sometimes fail to meet goals if they are going to take smart risks and build a long-lasting team. One who is afraid for his job makes the kind of short-term moves that came to define a good portion of the George Steinbrenner era.
Furthermore, he’s not looking to bolt for another team. I can’t imagine the Rays are thrilled with Andrew Friedman playing along with the Angels right now, even if they aren’t in the end allow him to leave. Cashman has had many opportunities for interesting, lucrative chances in other cities, and he hasn’t ever (as far as we know) seriously considered it. He’s as true of a Yankee as Gene Monahan, George Steinbrenner, or Derek Jeter.
Cashman’s resigning isn’t likely to generate any big press this week, especially with an exciting World Series coming to a conclusion, but I think we should all take a moment to appreciate it. Thank you Brian Cashman, your biggest asset is the long-term stability you’ve brought for a decade and a half now. Now get your contract finished and get to work.
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