Sunday, April 17, 2005

Yankee Fans Oughta Be Calling for Cashman's Head

Well, you know the Yanks are in trouble when even an older, more mellower George starts piping up. Personally, I think he's just nervous about the Yanks facing his rival D-Rays. And he's threatening Torre and the coaches for the millionth time.

But I think if Yankee fans ought to place blame on someone right here and now, it's gotta be Brian Cashman.

George is right. For $200 million, this team is a pathetic joke. To have the same record as the D-Rays, who have about a tenth of the Junkees' payroll, is pathetic. To be beaten by Bruce Chen, who's taking the Dave LaPointe/Mike Morgan tour of the major leagues (and that's not a good thing), is pathetic. To have no legitimate lefty in the pen is pathetic. And all those pricey righties in the pen, and still have bullpen issues? Pathetic. More holes in the lineup than the Orioles, who actually get something out of the Luis Matos/ Larry Bigbie types at the bottom of the order? Pathetic.

Cashman has all this money, and no depth. Giambi has a couple of homers, but is no longer a threat and is a DH-only. And the 1B, Tino, is all-field and no-hit. I was expecting the Yanks to get Delgado this winter. I think Cashman regrets not doing that.

And Bernie in CF has been awful. No-hit, no-field. The guy's washed up. With a guy like Bernie out there, Cashman should've made sure to have an adequate backup out there, not just Bubba Crosby. Even if Cashman didn't want to spend on Beltran, he should've tried for a decent second option. And second base. Womack and Sanchez are the best he can do? Junkee fans should've been screaming for Nomar or Jeff Kent during the winter. They've had better careers than Carl Pavano.

And the starting pitching. Cashman bet the field on two one-year wonders and a 41-year old starting to look his age. And speaking of age, holdovers Mussina and Brown have their best days behind them. Cashman could've done better; much better. Hell, Jon Lieber is 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA in Philly! But no, better spend it on Mazzone miracle Jaret Wright. And by the way, Brad Halsey is doing pretty well in Arizona.

And that bullpen. Full of old, expensive, declining arms (Stanton, Gordon, Quantrill, Rivera?),and question marks (Karsay, Rodriguez). The Twins have less than half the payroll of the Yanks, and a much scarier bullpen with Romero, Rincon, and Nathan. Hell, the Yanks have nobody to get lefties out, now that Stanton is shot. Not a good situation for facing David Ortiz.

Ultimately, Cashman is to blame for the lack of farm system. Stick Michael built the championship Yankees by combining veterans like O'Neill, Boggs, and Jimmy Key with young home-grown talent like Rivera, Bernie, and Pettitte. Who do the Yankees have left, Andy Phillips? Look at Minnesota. Every time a player leaves, there's another youngster to take over.
The Yanks have no young talent anymore; it's unbelievable. And with an old team, you better have depth, because someone's bound to get injured. But if a Yankee goes down, who'll take over? Rey Sanchez? Bubba Crosby? Sierra in the OF for the first time in nearly a decade? Ching Wang-Weng in the rotation? For a team of $200 million, such lack of depth is pathetic.

And Cashman has made tons of mistakes in the past. Buster Olney, in the excellent "Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty," recounts how George gave it to Cashman for not trading Bernie for Edmonds before the '01 season. In fact, Bernie had a slow start and Edmonds a quick one that year, so every day a seething George would show Cashman the boxscores and give it to him for not getting Edmonds. (Wish I could be a fly on that wall.)And I wonder how George feels about that now, considering how Edmonds is one of the stars of one of the NL's best offensive and defensive teams, while the Yanks struggle in both areas. Yeah, and check out the archives for a whole piece I wrote last September documenting many of Cashman's mistakes.

In the generation that has given us incredible GMs like John Schuerholz, Billy Beane, and Terry Ryan, who win while making do with limited payrolls, Brian Cashman is an embarrassment. Junkee fans have put up with his crappy performance for long enough. Sure, some moves are pushed by George, but Cashman has plenty of leeway. Or, he should be stubborn and give it to George the way Stick Michael used to (see Olney's book). If they weren't so delusional, they'd be calling for his head.

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