NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After pulling the strings that helped the Yankees finish within one win of the World Series, general manager Brian Cashman was named Baseball America’s Executive of the Year on Tuesday.
Cashman executed a couple of blockbuster trades at the deadline this past season to help shore up some areas before the stretch run to the postseason. On July 19, the Yankees acquired third baseman Todd Frazier and relief pitchers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for prospects Blake Rutherford, Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo and veteran relief pitcher Tyler Clippard. Twelve days later, Cashman dealt for Oakland A’s ace pitcher Sonny Gray, giving up prospects Dustin Fowler, Jorge Mateo and James Kaprielian.
Cashman did have to part ways with some prized prospects, but because of previous deals he made and the development of homegrown players, the Yankees’ farm system is still considered one of the most talent rich — something he was determined to protect. New York enters 2018 with infielders Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, outfielder Estevan Florial and pitchers Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield waiting in the wings, not to mention plenty of young players in the majors, most notably Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino and Clint Frazier.
In 2017, the Yankees’ eight farm teams produced a combined winning percentage of .602, the best in baseball.
The rebuilding big-league team was supposed to endure some growing pains, but instead earned an American League wild-card spot, upset the Cleveland Indians in their American League Division Series and pushed the eventual world champion Astros to seven games in the ALCS.
Those who work with Cashman give him credit for not micromanaging them.
“He has done a very good job of leading by example, taking a step back and letting us do our job,” Yankees vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring told Baseball America. “He respects a lot of people’s opinions, and he always has a platform for a variety of people.”
Added Cashman: ”Baseball operations is an extremely large operation. There is no way you can effectively micromanage domestic amateur, international, professional scouting (and) player development. Most important is selecting the right personnel and empowering them to do their jobs.”
Cashman is now at work building next year’s roster — the Yankees are expected to make a run at Japanese superstar pitcher/slugger Shohei Otani — and searching for a manager after not offering Joe Girardi a new contract.
It’s the first time Cashman has won the Baseball America award, which began in 1998. Sporting News also awards an Executive of the Year, but Cashman has never won it. Sporting News has yet to name its winner for 2017.