Brian Cashman’s silence spurs fear of Yankees repeating 2013, 2014, and 2016 trade mistakes

Sara Molnick
Monday July 31, 2023

Table of Contents

The Yankees of 2023 look similar to teams Brian Cashman had in the Bronx in the mid-2010s. It raises apprehensions of the Yankees general manager repeating his trade mistakes of that time that sapped the Yankees’ identity for years.

According to outside executives, the Yankees‘ general manager, Brian Cashman, was actively exploring various scenarios. One rival described it as “assessing who might be interested in what.” This means that Brian Cashman had the potential to make buying, selling, or both types of moves before the trade deadline on Tuesday at 6 p.m. His silence only increase the anticipation.

Similar to many other teams, even though they are 65 percent through the schedule, the Yankees are still uncertain about their identity as contenders or pretenders. What sets them apart from most clubs is Brian Cashman’s wealth of experience to draw upon, particularly as the team’s GM since 1998. He has been in similar situations at the trade deadline with teams that had mediocre win-loss records, struggling offenses, and an aging core group of players. But his mistakes are too many.

The 2014 trade by Brian Cashman

During Brian Cashman’s tenure as GM, the Yankees’ three lowest OPS-plus occurred in 2013 with 88, 2016 with 91, and 2014 with 94. This year’s team has a mere 94 OPS-plus through 104 games, going 55-49 and finding themselves in last place, eight games behind in the AL East, and 3 ¹/₂ games back in the wild card race as of Sunday.

Disregarding 2014 as a reference point is essential, not only because the league played differently, resulting in the Yankees being 54-50 through 104 games, just one game away from a wild card spot and four games from the top of the division. Moreover, it was Derek Jeter‘s farewell season, and Hal Steinbrenner was determined not to give up that year. Consequently, the Yankees made modest acquisitions as low-impact buyers, bringing in players like Stephen Drew, Chase Headley, Brandon McCarthy, and Martin Prado. None of them clicked.

In an uncharacteristic season, the Yankees found themselves in second place in the American League East, posting an 84–78 record. This marked their worst performance since 1992. Disappointingly, the team failed to secure a spot in the playoffs for the second consecutive year, making it the third time in the past two decades that they missed the postseason.

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

The 2013 trade by Brian Cashman

Back in 2013, the Yankees had a similar record of 54-50 after 104 games, placing them in fourth position, eight games behind the AL East leaders, and 7 ¹/₂ games back from the wild card. Their offense heavily relied on Robinson Cano as the standout performer, somewhat resembling the current reliance on Aaron Judge in 2023. The team faced challenges with Mark Teixeira’s injury during preparations for the WBC, reminiscent of Edwin Diaz’s situation. Additionally, injuries also impacted key players like Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, and Alex Rodriguez, with A-Rod later being suspended toward the end of the season due to his involvement with Biogenesis.

During that time, the Yankees’ success was heavily reliant on the performance of key players such as Robinson Cano, as well as the solid contributions from starting pitchers Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda, supported by a formidable bullpen led by Mariano Rivera and David Robertson. However, the overall roster had many underperforming players, resulting in the team trying to extract whatever they could from individuals like Travis Hafner, Lyle Overbay, and Vernon Wells. Brian Cashman, the Yankees’ general manager, recommended selling Cano, who was in the final year of his contract, with the Texas Rangers expressing interest in acquiring him. Yet, it was also the last season for Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, making the situation more complex. Hal Steinbrenner, who was relatively new to his role as owner and uncertain about the best approach, chose to continue attempting to win. The team made a move to acquire Alfonso Soriano, who had a couple of good months left in him to boost the Yankees’ performance, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to secure a playoff spot.

In a surprising turn of events, the Yankees concluded the season tied for third place in the American League East, recording an 85–77 record, which marked their poorest performance since 1992. The team faced a major setback as they failed to secure a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and only the second time in the last nineteen years.

The 2016 trade by Brian Cashman

In 2016, the Yankees had a record of 52-52 after 104 games, trailing by seven games in the division and 5 ¹/₂ games in the wild card race. At this point, the team had come to the realization that the aging offense, consisting of players like A-Rod, Headley, Teixeira, Castro, Ellsbury, and McCann, was unlikely to find its form again. Consequently, they had already made moves, trading Aroldis Chapman, and they were also preparing to part ways with Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, and Ivan Nova.

Yankees GM Cashman and manager Boone to make decisions on free agents, potential trades.
Boston Globe

Similar to 2013, the Yankees showed improvement later in the season, but it wasn’t enough to secure a playoff spot. During this time, Gary Sanchez emerged as a powerful force, and the likes of Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin were promoted after A-Rod’s retirement. The arrival of these young talents led to the formation of the “Baby Bombers,” yet despite some significant deals, only Gleyber Torres made a lasting impact. This goes to show that trading players don’t always guarantee noticeable upgrades for the team.

In a disheartening streak, the Yankees missed the playoffs for the third time in four years in 2016, settling for a disappointing 4th place in the AL East with an 84–78 record.

The 2023 trade by Brian Cashman

The Yankees general manager finds himself in a different situation now, lacking trade assets of the caliber of Chapman and Miller. However, Brian Cashman does have valuable pieces like Clay Holmes and Michael King who could fetch considerable returns in the current trade market. Still, these players are vital to the Yankees’ plans for next year. To navigate this delicate situation, Brian Cashman might attempt to make calculated moves, possibly trading a player in the final year of their contract, like Harrison Bader, to a team such as the Marlins. Additionally, he could explore leveraging bullpen depth, like a player akin to Ron Marinaccio, especially with Jonathan Loaisiga’s imminent return. The goal would be to acquire players who can contribute not just in the short term but also hold value beyond this year, acknowledging that this season isn’t a make-or-break campaign.

Steinbrenner likely views the significant investments in their prime players like Judge and Cole, who are performing at the top of their game, and is reluctant to greenlight a sell-off. While he has grown as an owner, he’s not merely focused on avoiding trades but also on making informed decisions that go beyond appeasing external pressures.

Considering their long-standing partnership, Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman might reach a compromise. It seems likely that they’ll take a different approach from 2013 and 2016, aiming for a balanced strategy: a modest sell-off and some strategic acquisitions with a focus on the future beyond just the current season. Addressing long-term solutions for left field or third base could be a priority in this process.

Competitors forging deals ahead as Brian Cashman remains silent

In recent days, several teams in the American League playoff race, including those competing with the Yankees, have been actively making moves in the trade market. On Sunday, two outfielders linked to the Yankees were no longer available, as the Rockies sent Randal Grichuk to the Angels, and the Cubs opted to retain Cody Bellinger, trade targets that fans expected Brian Cashman to go for.

The new Yankees target, Cody Bellingan in action for Chicago Cubs.
AP Photo/Matt York

Despite the trade deadline frenzy, the Yankees have kept a low profile as they approached Sunday’s 9-3 loss to the Orioles. The official line is the team members in the clubhouse remained focused on the game ahead, avoiding distractions from the trade talks.

Manager Aaron Boone acknowledged that he followed the other trades with interest and closely. However, he emphasized that the team’s primary focus is on getting their players ready and winning the series against a tough opponent. He acknowledged the return of Aaron Judge, Nestor Cortes, and Jonathan Loaisiga as significant developments for the team. Boone emphasized that trade talks are beyond their control, and their focus remains on the upcoming game.

Meanwhile, the teams competing against the Yankees in the playoffs race were busy making additions through trades on Sunday. But Brian Cashman looks unmoved.

The Blue Jays, who currently hold a 3 ½ game lead over the Yankees for the final AL wild-card spot, made a move by acquiring hard-throwing reliever Jordan Hicks from the Cardinals. In return, their closer Jordan Romano was placed on the injured list.

Jordan Hicks threw the second fastest pitch in MLB.

The Rangers, currently leading the AL West but in danger of slipping into the wild-card standings, made another addition by acquiring former Yankee Jordan Montgomery, just one day after trading for Max Scherzer. But Brian Cashman has none in sight.

The Angels, closely trailing the Yankees in the wild-card chase, made significant moves by acquiring starter Lucas Giolito and reliever Reynaldo Lopez from the White Sox. They further bolstered their roster by trading for Randal Grichuk and first baseman C.J. Cron.

Saturday’s 8-3 victory against the Orioles showcased the kind of game plan that reaffirms the Yankees’ belief in their ability to make a comeback. But manager Boone refrained from publicly advocating for what he believed the Yankees required after a meeting with Brian Cashman.

This is only raising anticipation of Brian Cashman repeating the mistakes of 2013, 2024, and 2016.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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6 thoughts on “Brian Cashman’s silence spurs fear of Yankees repeating 2013, 2014, and 2016 trade mistakes

  1. get rid of the 3 Blind Mice …Wake up and smell the coffee Hal !!!. Time to make a serious change in your management and 1 in your front office. It’s not Rocket science!!!. Enough Said !!!.

  2. get rid of Severino and German..pick up Verlander and other available pitchers.. Cnt win Championships w/o Great pitching!!!. Cole and Verlander would be a great Duo for the Yankees Empire.. Better make the move quickly

  3. No sell off. Yankees need to make some calculated moves. No trading of their too prospects.

  4. U have plenty of prospects who are Yankee greats w Experience as a MLB Champion 🏆 to join in as Management, Coaching and Front Office.
    HERE’S THE LIST : Joe Girardi (Bring back) , Jorge Pasada , Derek Jeter, Paul O’Neill , Andy Petite, Bernie Williams, Johnny Damon, and Scott Brosius PITCHING : Mariano Rivera , David Cone , Roger Clemens , David Wells , CC Sabathia….Shall I Go On !!!. These Retired greats know how to WIN !!!.
    You Own the Greatest Elite Sports Organization in the WORLD with 27 W.S. Championships…Start Acting Like It !!!. Enough Said!!!.

    1. Hal Steinbrenner needs to FIRE Brian Cashman 😡 I Believe Cashman does know what he is Doing . Before Long there will be No Yankee Fan Base . Because the Fan Base is Sick of Brian Cashman . Cashman talks a Big Game but Never Follows Though . By the time he makes a Decision all the Good Player’s got Away by another Team . Again Cashman Should be Fired like Yesterday I been a Yankee Fan for over 45 Years and I’m From Boston area . Steinbrenner do the right thing and fire Cashman Before you Loss the Team .

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