Saturday, August 20, 2011

Time for Brian Cashman to move on

Brian Cashman is reportedly a candidate for several general manager jobs in baseball. Good for him. I think it's time for him to move on.

To be sure, Cashman has made some great moves for the New York Yankees this year, namely signing Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, who have been godsends, to low-risk deals. After the Cliff Lee debacle, Cashman managed to put together a roster that is not only competitive, but a solid playoff contender.

But he hasn’t distinguished himself in his treatment of iconic Yankees. You would have thought that he learned a lesson from the way he treated Bernie Williams, but really there were no repercussions for Cashman for that. This past offseason, he publicly dared Derek Jeter to shop around for a better contract after the Yankees shortstop told him he would not seek offers from other baseball teams. Then he makes the Jorge Posada incident in May a lot worse by going on national television in the middle of a game to publicly admonish Posada and spin his version of the truth before Posada had a fair opportunity to give his side of the story.

More recently, his silly defense of AJ Burnett made me question his judgment. Sure, it’s hard to admit to an $82.5 million mistake, but to blame the media for Burnett’s troubles is just ridiculous. That signing was all Cashman and he has to accept responsibility for the fact that the deal is simply not working out. Instead, Cashman digs in his heels and refuses to even consider the possibility of pulling Burnett from the rotation, no matter how much his numbers and performances such as tonight prove that Burnett should be the odd man out.

You also have to believe that the Steinbrenners don’t have total confidence in Cashman. They overruled him on the lengthy, expensive contract for Alex Rodriguez, which they no doubt deeply regret. And they overruled him on Rafael Soriano, which looked like it was going to be another colossal mistake until he came back from the disabled list and started pitching lights out. Maybe Cashman would like to start over with another owner that has more confidence in his abilities and judgment.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager for more than a dozen years and the Yankees have been very successful during that time. He definitely deserves some of the credit for that. But I think Cashman has gotten a little too comfortable here. He may even welcome the opportunity to test his GM skills with another team (rather than having to constantly answer questions about whether his magic would work without the Yankees’ $200 million payroll). And for the Yankees, a fresh perspective would be nice.

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