By Sweeny Murti
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Brian Cashman showed you in the final two weeks of July the types of deals he makes these days.
After hearing the news that Brett Gardner was out for the season, the need for an outfielder came, fortuitously enough, at about the same time Ichiro Suzuki was telling the Mariners he wanted out. Cashman was able to pry away a big name player on the downside of his career—who wasn’t being asked to be an All-Star caliber player anymore—at minimal cost.
After a significant injury to Alex Rodriguez, and a lesser one to Mark Teixeira, Cashman used a pitcher he was likely to release in two days (Chad Qualls) to get a serviceable righty-hitting corner infielder in Casey McGehee.
It doesn’t seem like much, but they are the types of deals that Cashman makes these days. Major moves are for the offseason (Sabathia, Teixeira, Granderson) and tweaking moves are for July or August, even if the names are sometimes bigger than the actual value at that stage of their career (Ivan Rodriguez, Lance Berkman, Ichiro).
The funny thing is Cashman just can’t win with the fans. When he gets the big ticket guy, he is accused of being no more than a check-writer who can’t put together a roster without the Yankees’ financial muscle. When he pulls off deals for lesser role players, Cashman is accused of making dumb moves and ignoring the gaping holes that star players should be filling.
Fans seem to think that the Yankees are sabotaging their chances to win because they are stuck on the upcoming $189 million tax threshold. Does anybody realize that it’s still more money than anybody else is spending? When you build your team around high-priced megastars like A-Rod and Jeter and Teixeira and Sabathia, you have to fill in the rest of your 25-man roster with a little more fiscal responsibility. And when veterans like Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez can be had relatively cheap, and they produce the way that they have this year, it seems the GM deserves a little credit there too.
If prospects need to be dealt, Cashman isn’t afraid to do it. But he isn’t of the mind to purge the system for a marginal short-term upgrade.
Bottom line here is this—the Yankees are always trying to win, but there are times to say no. It’s easy for the average fan to think of the team and each season with a fantasy mentality. In reality, decisions have to be made. You don’t always have to agree with them. But there is a rationale behind them. And there is still a desire to win, even if you don’t believe that to be the case.
*I don’t think this is a perfect team. But they always look worse losing than any other team. Maybe it’s because we never expect them to lose. Ever. A little unrealistic to live up to.
The Rangers and Angels, I believe, are the Yankees toughest competition in the AL, and both have gone through hot streaks and cold slumps that change the way you look at them. All these teams hope to peak at the right time. There’s just no way to tell. And when they lose, they look horrible doing it.
*I sometimes wonder how badly the Twitter world would have exploded during previous Yankee crises. Would Mickey Mantle have been crushed as a bust when he had to be sent back to the minors in 1951? Would Casey Stengel be blasted for every bunt or pitching change? Would fans the 1998 Yankees be crucified during and after each of their 48 losses?
WFAN is built on somewhat instant fan feedback, but the anonymity and simplicity of a few keystrokes seems to have taken things to a whole new level.
But I guess that’s why we have sports… and jobs covering sports.
Do you agree that Cashman just can’t win with fans? Be heard in the comments below…