Yankees are paying for Brian Cashman’s folly, fans claim and analyst agrees

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman

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The weekend series was an abject 3-0 surrender at Fenway Park, one of the darkest for the Yankees and the most painful for the Bronx faithful. When PinstripesNation’s Sara Molnick tried to talk to Yankees fans in the Bronx about the reason for the Boston debacle, they held GM Brian Cashman as the one responsible for such a state of affairs. They were more vocal than ever seeking an immediate ouster of Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone.

Steve Fred, who has been an ardent fan of the Yankees since the last three decades compared the series loss to the Red Sox to the Boston Massacre of 1978, when the Yankees wiped out the Sox 4-0 in a series. He called Brian Cashman as “the one who has brought such a shame to New York.” Mark Russ, another fan who makes it a priority to travel with the team on away games on the east coast, was more vocal slamming the Yankees GM as a useless clown. “Why does Cashman still have a job?,” he asked, “He’s a disaster.”

Doug Behlen, another fan, who talked to PinstripesNation’s John Allen at Fenway, complained, “Brian Cashman is doing this shitshow and this team continues to stink.” Lee Vitarelli, a young fan in her 20s, too agreed. According to her, Brian Cashman has really put this team in a bad spot for the foreseeable future by building a team of older players who are past their prime and remain frequently injured.

Even Yankees manager Aaron Boone corroborated this when he said:

“The reality is: That team we’re rolling out there is capable of doing damage offensively. That, to me, is just an excuse right now.”

The anger against Brian Cashman is reasonable

The Yankees’ memory of being swept in a doubleheader in Boston dates back to July 31, 1976, while their most recent experience of being swept by the Red Sox in a doubleheader took place on September 17, 2006. But those losses were not as tragic as this time. Then the Yankees were not what they are today. Languishing at 39-33, they lost the series twice in a span of 11 days to the worst team in the AL East. They have lost for consecutive series and had their last series win in Seattle on May 30.

The New York Yankees are currently facing difficulties and struggling to perform well. In their recent game against the Boston Red Sox, they experienced a devastating loss with a score of 15-5. Losing to the Red Sox is already difficult, but such a large margin of defeat makes it even worse. Adding to the frustration, fans were angered by an update regarding the Yankees’ financial decisions, amounting to a total of $88,000,000 going to waste without bringing a single penny of worth to the team.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner with GM Brian Cashman at Yankee Stadium.
USA TODAY Sports

A tweet from Fireside Yankees shared the astonishing fact that the combined value of the players on the injured list amounts to $88,360,000. Out of this total, Aaron Judge, Carlos Rodon, and Nestor Cortes Jr. make up a significant portion, totaling over $70,000,000. The tweet humorously referred to this as “The rich injured list #NYY.”

It’s clear that the injured list is comprised of players with high salaries. This aligns with the Yankees’ reputation as one of the wealthiest franchises in the league across various aspects.

This situation highlights a recurring issue known as the “Cashman Blunder,” which has been a problem for the past three seasons. Unfortunately, it’s not what anyone would have hoped for, and it is affecting the team’s ability to reach its full potential.

GM Cashman’s folly

In May, Brian Cashman, the Yankees’ general manager, expressed his belief that we shouldn’t lose hope in the team despite their struggles. He assured us that once the injured players recover, things will start to improve, stating that the Yankees are still a team capable of winning championships.

We can acknowledge Brian Cashman’s point about the significant number of key players, such as Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Carlos Rodon, currently sidelined due to injuries. Additionally, the team will face a less challenging schedule in the second half of the season. On the other hand, the Tampa Bay Rays, who have been performing exceptionally well, will face tough competition against division leaders and winning teams in the near future, except for a few games against the A’s in mid-June.

However, what remains questionable is how Brian Cashman and, to some extent, Hal Steinbrenner, the team’s owner, can justify having underperforming players on a roster with the second-highest payroll in baseball, trailing only the Mets.

Let’s start with Josh Donaldson, a player whose contract Brian Cashman took on last year in exchange for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela. Despite still owing Donaldson $29 million, it seems like his career is winding down and he may retire soon, although no official announcement has been made. Another questionable decision by Brian Cashman was giving Aaron Hicks a seven-year, $70 million contract in 2019. However, Hicks has not performed well since then and was recently released from the team. Another puzzling move was signing Tommy Kahnle, a relief pitcher who has yet to play for the Yankees due to ongoing injuries, for $11.5 million last winter.

The Yankees were hoping that Clarke Schmidt would step up and secure a spot in the team’s rotation. However, Schmidt has struggled with a winless record of 0-3 and an ERA of 5.83 in seven starts. While the salaries of Clarke Schmidt and Oswaldo Cabrera may not be significant, their lack of success reflects the Yankees’ failure to develop impactful players through a player development program during Brian Cashman’s time as GM, with the exception of Aaron Judge. The main reason Brian Cashman felt compelled to spend $324 million on Gerrit Cole in 2020 and another $162 million on Carlos Rodon last winter was that the team had struggled to draft and develop frontline starting pitchers since the days of Andy Pettitte.

In the pursuit of philanthropy, Brian Cashman dedicated a sleepless night on a New York City sidewalk in 2015.
STAN GROSSFELD/GLOBE STAFF

Brian Cashman had high hopes when he selected Clarke Schmidt with the 16th overall pick in the 2017 draft, despite knowing that he would require Tommy John surgery. The Yankees patiently supported Schmidt throughout his recovery and development, expecting him to become a key player in the team’s starting rotation this year. Unfortunately, they discovered that Schmidt struggles against left-handed batters, with a high opponents’ batting average of .400. On the other hand, the Yankees’ top homegrown pitcher, Luis Severino, has been limited to only 22 starts over the past four years due to injuries. In terms of acquiring starting pitchers through trades, Brian Cashman has a poor track record, with underwhelming performances from players like Javy Vazquez, Jeff Weaver, Denny Neagle, Brandon McCarthy, Andrew Heaney, Sonny Gray, and Frankie Montas.

Cashman’s Yankees are unhealthy

The New York Yankees have a significant number of players currently on the injured list. One notable player on the list is team captain Aaron Judge, who is dealing with his second injury this season. Pitchers Nestor Cortes Jr. and Carlos Rodon are also facing injuries, with Rodon yet to make his debut for the Yankees since joining them in the offseason. These are just a few examples of the many players currently recovering from injuries.

Losing to the Red Sox is always tough and humiliating, regardless of the score. But it becomes even more humiliating when the Yankees are not playing well and still end up losing. On top of that, the fact that $88 million worth of players are currently injured is frustrating for the fans.

Many fans are now calling for significant changes in the management positions. They believe that both Brian Cashman, the general manager, and Aaron Boone, the manager, have been with the team for a long time without achieving major victories. The fans have taken notice of this and are expressing their dissatisfaction.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is seen with manager Aaron Boone at a training session and the duo is to finalize the Yankees shortstop choice.

Brian Cashman did a horrendous Yankees job

According to Tiki and Tierney, the Yankees’ offense has faced significant challenges without Aaron Judge, particularly with the players who were supposed to provide support for Judge, such as Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, and Gleyber Torres.

However, the Yankees have still been able to win some games, thanks to players like Willie Calhoun. This emphasizes the point made by BT that Brian Cashman, the general manager, excels at finding hidden talents to address his own mistakes.

“Everyone in that lineup is batting between .190 and .230. The profiles of the players on this team with a $275 million payroll,” BT said. “I mean…the Yankees are built around one guy. One! This is good if you’re the Lakers and that guy is LeBron. This is not good if it’s baseball.”

BT highlighted Brian Cashman’s expertise in rectifying his own mistakes by sourcing players who can fill the gaps in the roster. But such rental players are not make up for a title-winning squad. According to BT, Brian Cashman’s greatest strength lies in his ability to address his own errors.

Over the years, Brian Cashman has made some impressive discoveries, such as Didi Gregorius, Luke Voit, and Gio Urshela. However, there have been setbacks with players like Stanton, who has struggled with injuries, and Donaldson, who hasn’t lived up to expectations. The Yankees have faced difficulties in assembling a consistent supporting cast around Judge, often relying on acquiring new talents to compensate for injuries. This is evident through additions like Calhoun, Odor, Tauchman, and others.

The trade involving Frankie Montas has proven to be a significant blunder for Brian Cashman. Furthermore, the unavailability of Carlos Rodon at crucial moments has been a setback. Injuries have also begun to affect Harrison Bader’s confidence, adding to the challenges faced by the team.

BT concluded with “Brian Cashman is terrible, man. Brian Cashman has done a horrendous job.”

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