Cashman and the Yankees will hope this is only a snapshot and that the picture improves long term. In the present, however, Pineda (shoulder) is out for the season and Jose Campos (elbow) is on the disabled list. Jesus Montero (.252, six home runs) and Hector Noesi (2-5, 5.26 ERA) might not be excelling for the Mariners, but at least they are playing and potentially getting growing pains out of the way.
In the present, it also sparked another round of criticism of Cashman’s trading acumen. So I figured I would try to separate fact from fiction by actually looking at his deals.
Cashman has been the general manager since 1998, but it was not until the end of April 2005, with the team in crisis, that George Steinbrenner empowered Cashman to act like a traditional head of baseball operations. It is not that he didn’t make trades before both good (think David Justice) and bad (think Javier Vazquez). It was that prior to April 2005 he ebbed in and out of favor with the Boss, meaning there were times he made deals and times he had nothing whatsoever to do with what occurred with the Yankees.
As an example, prior to April 2005, Cashman had nothing to do with the acquisitions in free agency or trade of Randy Johnson, Gary Sheffield, Tony Womack and Jaret Wright. But after that date, it fell upon Cashman to deal each of their bad contracts.
April 2005 serves as a demarcation in which all Yankee trades, at the least, went through an evaluation process established by Cashman — whether he ultimately was overruled by his bosses or not. So it is fairer in judging his skills to look at the trades that have occurred since. It is not like there is a paucity from which to select. The Yankees have made 53 trades in that time, and here are some items that stand out:
1. Cashman is a much better at the art of the trade than free agency.
2. His most consistently successful work has been finding in-season pieces to elevate contenders.
3. He has been very willing to use the farm system to add pieces.
What follows is not a breakdown of each of those trades. You would be surprised how many insignificant deals are completed (Eric Fryer for Chase Wright, anyone). Instead, here are the more consequential swaps. Keep in mind, we do not know every reason that went into a trade, most important we don’t know what the Yankees might have been able to turn, say, Montero into elsewhere had they resisted Pineda.
So with the best 20/20 hindsight at our disposal, we bring you:
Brian Cashman, Michael Pineda, Pineda, the Yankees, Jesus Montero, Jose Campos, Hector Noesi, Javier Vazquez, The Yankees, George Steinbrenner, Joel ShermanBlog, Jaret Wright