Monday, October 04, 2004

More Ca$hman Blunders

I told you I wasn't done yet in going through Brian Cashman's many bonehead moves. In fact, I'm just getting started.

2001 was awful; possibly Cashman's worst as a GM. After letting Jeff Nelson go, the Yankees' righty in the pen coming into the season was the mighty Todd Williams. And then there was Carlos Almanzar, who was released after blowing a lead in a game against the Mets. So then he brought in Jay Witasick and Mark Wohlers. Whitson, Witasick, Wohlers, Weaver, White (Gabe).... do I see a pattern forming?

Speaking of relievers, don't get me started on the likes of Naulty, Osuna, Heredia, and Hammond. Cashman's lucky that Bob Watson got them Nelson and Stanton (not to mention that Cashman held on to Stanton for way too long).

Recently, George has gone bonkers and started paying closer money to middle relievers. Many teams can barely afford to pay their closers the cash Karsay, Quantrill, and Gordon are getting. Ridiculous.

And another bad trade: getting Drew Henson back (after he was traded for Neagle) for Wily Mo Pena. Pena had 26 HRs this year for Cincy. Henson's playing football now. Nice going.

Since '01, things haven't gotten much better. The Giambi signing has been a huge bust. Even before this year, he had his knee issues during the second half last year, and had to miss an important game in the World Series. One Yankee insider recently called him "finished." Rondell White was awful. Sterling Hitchcock got $6 million as the team's backup long reliever/ 7th starter. The Mondesi trade. Terrible. The Yankees looked awful considering it was a glorified salary dump, and it just wasn't worth it. And of course, Weaver. Last season, one of my Yankee fan friends said Weaver was gonna win 20 games in Pinstripes. Then he said the same thing about Vazquez this year. I'd keep my mouth shut if I were you, buddy. Think the Yanks wouldn't mind Schilling right about now?

The Yanks gave up another good prospect in the White Sox' reliever Damaso Marte, who had a 1.58 ERA in '03. (I'll take him over Quantrill.) Who'd they get in return? Enrique Wilson. All the Yankee fans make a big deal that he has great numbers against Pedro Martinez. But they never talk about how the guy can't hit a lick off anyone else in the league.

And of course, there's Jose Contreras. The guy looked so scared every time he pitched against the Red Sox. But when you're the Yankees, you can afford to eat an $8 million bust. If you're the D-Rays, you're getting your butt fired. And Esteban Loaiza's looking like a real winner, no?

Okay, so maybe you should blame George more so than Cashman for moves like Contreras and Mondesi, where King George was clearly forcing the Cash Man's hands. But when you've got an unlimited payroll, there's no excuse for not acquiring enough depth to cover for those stinkers. C'mon. I could do better than that with bottomless pockets. If you spend $190 million and you have a team ERA of 4.70, you suck. Nothing else to it.

Finally, the Yankees' farm system has gone from one of the best in the '90's to an absolute wasteland. No apologies to Dioner Navarro. The D-Backs couldn't find anything there for Randy Johnson. But when you're the Yankees and can sign every free agent in the world, it's not a problem.

Contrast Theo Epstein, whose been solid getting guys like David Ortiz, Bill Mueller, Orlando Cabrera, and Kevin Millar. And last year, the way he turned the closer-by-committee joke into an excellent bullpen come October was very impressive. Look at the Twins' Terry Ryan. These guys lost A.J. Pierzynski (ok, they had Mauer waiting), LaTroy Hawkins, Eddie Guardado, and Eric Milton over the winter. This year, they're as good as ever. And John Schuerholz has struck gold in the likes of Johnny Estrada and Jaret Wright. Give these guys Cashman's cash, and I wonder if they'd ever lose a game.

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