- Tim Kabel
A Big Move
About the Off-Season: A Big Move
By Tim Kabel
January 5, 2023
The Yankees just made a big move. I am not referring to any of the signings of Rafael Ortega, Billy McKinney, Willie Calhoun, or Michael Hermosillo. None of those qualify as a big move. Even if you combine them all together, it's still not a big move. Those moves are the accumulation of depth pieces for the outfield. Hopefully one or possibly two of those players can contribute something meaningful to the Yankees next year. At the very least, one of them may knock Aaron Hicks off the roster and take the role of the fourth outfielder.
The big move to which I am referring, is the hiring of Brian Sabean as an executive advisor to vice president and general manager, Brian Cashman. Sabean began his involvement with Major League teams in 1985, with the Yankees. He last had a front office leadership role in 2018. He is the architect of the San Francisco Giants early 2010's dynasty that yielded three World Series championships over five seasons between 2010 and 2014. He has experience and more importantly, he achieved success.
Sabean began his career as a scout with the Yankees in 1985 and quickly worked his way up the ranks. He played a major role in the drafting and signing of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, and Bernie Williams. Brian Cashman has been quoted as giving Sabean a great deal of credit for building the Yankees' dynasty of the late 90's and early 2000's. He left in 1993 and was with the Giants for 30 years. Sabean assembled dominant teams in San Francisco, built around pitchers such as Tim Lincecum, Matt Kane, Madison Bumgarner, and others. He drafted Buster Posey, who was a central figure in the Giants' dynasty.
Sabean clearly has an eye for talent and is considered to be “old school”. This is a refreshing alternative to the analytics driven front office Brian Cashman has assembled. Sabean can certainly evaluate the Yankees' current crop of minor league talent as well as the players on the Major League roster. After that, he can scrutinize players the Yankees may be interested in acquiring from other teams.
I certainly don't think Brian Cashman brought in someone he has known for a long time and someone he clearly respects to ignore him. He didn't have to hire Sabean. He chose to. The reason is that Cashman clearly feels Sabean can help him and the Yankees. Cashman will obviously listen to Sabean's input along with that of other people who are already on the payroll. Hiring someone with a different perspective, a long history of success, a keen eye for talent, and a pre-existing close relationship with Brian Cashman is a tremendous move for the Yankees.
In addition to evaluating talent, Sabean has expertise in roster maneuvering and negotiating. He also has contacts with other teams. Having him as a key member of Brian Cashman's inner circle can only help the Yankees. It would be comparable to President Biden bringing in President Obama and other former presidents to advise him on foreign policy or other matters.
I am not saying that because Brian Sabean is now in the front office, the Yankees will suddenly rattle off three or four major trades. That could happen, or on the other hand, there could be no more major trades. He may evaluate the Yankees up and coming minor leaguers and advise Cashman to keep them and get them playing on the Major League level in meaningful roles as soon as possible.
The fact that Brian Cashman brought Sabean aboard speaks to his character and his functioning as a general manager. There are many people who wouldn't bring in someone like Sabean, because they would perceive him as a threat. Cashman wants a smart, capable experienced person on his staff. He wants to use Sabean's knowledge and expertise to return the Yankees to a World Series caliber team.
This move shows how serious and dedicated Brian Cashman is to bring another World Series Championship to the Yankees. It is a lot more significant than any of the signings of non-roster outfielders.
When your favorite restaurant hires a second world class chef to work alongside the one they already have, your chances of getting a delicious meal increase dramatically. With Brian Sabean and Brian Cashman working together, the Yankees' chances of winning a World Series have increased exponentially.