In comparison, the Boston Red Sox have won the World Series four times since 2004 under three different GMs, and now are working at a dismal level on a fourth. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants and New York Mets have shifted general managers like deck chairs. Most recently the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers fired theirs.
There’s something to be said about Cashman’s longevity and success, although there’s also something to be said about altering approaches every once in a while, especially with Cashman’s contract expiring after the season.
But Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner is going to stay the course for now. According to a baseball source with knowledge of the situation, Cashman, now 55, is expected to return next year and beyond in a decision that won’t be finalized or announced until the offseason.
“I’m a competitor,” Cashman said Monday night during a news conference at Yankee Stadium before the Yanks swept the Mets in a two-game Subway Series, giving them three 4-2 wins in a row. “I like to compete even though it’s from the front office side of it. But in terms of what’s next for me, that’s not my decision. That’ll all get resolved later on.”
The Yankees have floundered since the All-Star break, and Cashman knows better than anyone he’s on the griddle. His clubs have won four World Series and never had a sub-.500 season during his 25 years running baseball operations.
But as every Yankee fan knows, they haven’t been to the World Series since 2009, when the team beat the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. That’s an eternity for a franchise with 27 such titles and is valued by Sportico at $7.01 billion, the tops in MLB.
When Cashman and Steinbrenner were introduced Sunday at Yankee Stadium during the retirement of Paul O’Neil’s No. 21, the crowd reacted with derision.
“About the boos, listen, you get the bouquets coming your way when things are flying high and you get the slings and arrows when things aren’t going well,” Cashman said. “That’s the nature of the beast. There’s no in between. You hear it loud and clear, and we know it.”
The latest skid could have given Steinbrenner something to think about, although that doesn’t seem to be the case. It indeed fits a pattern; this past offseason, Steinbrenner had to decide whether to extend manager Aaron Boone’s contract after the Yankees were bounced out of the playoffs for the fifth year in a row.
Not only was Boone rehired, but he was given a three-year contract with a fourth-year club option.
During Boone’s tenure he has a .603 regular-season winning percentage but could be on the way to 0-for-5 in attaining the ultimate goal. And even if they ascend to the American League Championship Series—no guarantee the way they are currently structured—the Yanks have to get past the Houston Astros, who have their number.
Cashman said he’ll wait and see what the results are in October before coming to any conclusions.
“I like what I do,” Cashman said. “I like being part of a group that gets after it to try to put a great team on the field.”
This may not be one of them. It’s a group of renegades put together through trades and free agency without a solid closer to anchor the bullpen. The only Yankee to the core is Aaron Judge, who will become a free agent shortly after the end of the World Series. The Yanks brain trust whiffed this past spring when Judge bet on himself and turned down an under-market eight-year, $213.5-million offer.
Judge, with 48 homers and 105 RBIs at this point, has placed himself in the ranks of past Yankee power hitters Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, who all had what Judge doesn’t have yet—multiple World Series rings. Judge actually shrank from those comparisons.
“You still don’t believe it,” Judge said Tuesday night during an interview session after hitting homers in the back-to-back Mets games. “It’s pretty wild to think about especially when you see the things they accomplished in their careers, the things they did for baseball, the records they set. I try not to look at it.”
No doubt, Judge will garner top dollar this winter. He’ll be looking in the range of Mike Trout (12-year, $426.5 million), Corey Seager (10-year, $325 million), Fernando Tatis Jr. (14-year, $340 million), teammate Giancarlo Stanton (12-year, $325 million) and Bryce Harper (13-year, $330 million).
Cashman, once an intern in the organization, will have a big seat at the table when negotiating Judge’s contract. He was hired at 30 when the GM job went from Gene Michael to Bob Watson to Cashman in quick succession.
Michael built the team from the minors up by drafting and signing the Core Four—Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera—plus Bernie Williams. That led to five World Series titles. Jeter and Rivera went on to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“I can’t imagine anybody being any brighter than Gene Michael or the people he surrounded himself with, one of which was Brian Cashman,” said Mets manager Buck Showalter, who was hired by Michael to manage the Yankees.
“I’m very proud of Brian, knowing him way back when, and how he’s worked himself to where he is. We all knew he was going to be good at this one day.”
Apparently the Yankees still agree.