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  • Derek McAdam

Brian Cashman Said the Yankees Must Improve, And He’s Doing His Part

Brian Cashman Said the Yankees Must Improve, And He’s Doing His Part

By Derek McAdam

December 13, 2023

***

The MLB off-season has not even made it to Christmas yet, and it is already one of the best that fans have seen in several years. The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Shohei Ohtani to a jaw-dropping $700 million, while the New York Yankees have, so far, made the blockbuster trade of the off-season by acquiring Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres. There is still plenty of action left, as top free agents Cody Bellinger and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, among others, have yet to announce where they will spend the next several years playing.


But with regards to the Yankees, Brian Cashman has come out swinging this off-season, and it doesn’t seem as if he’s finished quite yet. New York is coming off a disappointing 2023 campaign in which they finished 82-80. But it’s not as if the team ONLY had a bad 2023 season. This started after the 2022 All-Star Break, in which the team went 35-35 to close out the season before being swept in the ALCS by the Houston Astros.


Cashman made a few signings last off-season, including re-signing both Anthony Rizzo and Aaron Judge to deals, while also bringing in Carlos Rodon on a six-year contract, as well as Tommy Kahnle on a two-year pact. It was a very active few weeks for the Yankees, but it didn’t seem as if the Yankees were really doing much to bolster the team. Bringing back Judge and Rizzo was critical to the team’s success, but adding Rodon just didn’t seem like it was going to be enough. When it was all said and done, it didn’t seem as if the team really improved.


And they didn’t…


Many fans will look at the 2023 season as having two crucial turning points; when Rizzo got injured against the Padres in late May that abruptly halted his excellent season at the plate and sent it spiraling into a complete 180; and Judge’s injury against the Los Angeles Dodgers that ultimately sidelined him for nearly two months. There is no question that the Yankees missed both of these players, and even though Rizzo would return just a few games after his initial injury, he was never the same player for the rest of the season.


Following the conclusion of the season, both Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner suggested that changes had to be made. The Yankees’ first issues that had to be addressed was the coaching staff. Aaron Boone’s job would be secured, but the team had to find a new hitting coach after Sean Casey announced he would not return in 2024, and later a bench coach after Carlos Mendoza accepted the New York Mets’ manager position.


The Yankees hired James Rowson, who previously served as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator for six years, as its hitting coach. While I can honestly say that I don’t know enough about Rowson to make a fair judgement about, it was said that Judge’s opinion was important in determining who the next hitting coach would be. And with that being said, I think I like the initial hire, especially since Judge has said that the Yankees need to focus more on batting averages and RBIs and less on analytics.


New York also hired Brad Ausmus as its bench coach to replace Mendoza. While Ausmus hasn’t had the success as a Major League manager, this is a solid hire for the Yankees. More teams are moving to add former managers as their bench coaches, and Ausmus fits that role perfectly.


But then it came time for Cashman to start re-assembling the roster. The team made a few minor deals by shipping Jake Bauers to the Milwaukee Brewers and claiming Oscar Gonzalez off waivers from the Cleveland Guardians. But the first big move was when Cashman acquired Alex Verdugo from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for three pitchers, including Greg Weissert.


While I was initially opposed to trading for Verdugo, particularly because it was initially rumored that Gleyber Torres would be part of the trade, it doesn’t seem that bad in the current moment. Verdugo will be a one-year rental, but he gives the Yankees a solid corner outfielder that can also hit the ball well. With this trade, the Yankees already became a better hitting team with him on the roster.


But that was not the big trade that Cashman would end up making. Just a few days later, he acquired Soto and Trent Grisham from the Padres in exchange for Michael King, Jhony Brito, Randy Vasquez, Kyle Higashioka, and Drew Thorpe. Again, this was another trade that I was skeptical that the Yankees make, especially when it was initially rumored that seven Yankees could be heading to San Diego.


Looking at it, it really isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The big piece in the deal was King, who was beginning to emerge as a middle to bottom of a rotation starter. However, the Yankees have not been able to develop many starters in their farm system, and it seemed as if Brito was someone that was heading for a reliever role, like several other Yankees have. Vasquez and Thorpe are prospects, and Higashioka was the odd-man out, given that Jose Trevino will be back from his injury and the Yankees seem to like the future of Austin Wells as backup.


I have also criticized Cashman for being too afraid to trade prospects away with hopes that they will soon become productive pieces for the Yankees. It became of cycle of not trading the player, who then came up to the big leagues and didn’t produce much, with an end result of being waived. Prospects have no guarantee of turning into anything special, so I really have no issue with what Cashman did. The Yankees also got Grisham in the deal, who has pop at the plate, but doesn’t hit for average. However, he’s a tremendous defender, which the Yankees can definitely use, especially since Soto is not good in the field.


Cashman also made a small, but relatively good move in trading shortstop Trey Sweeney, who was the Yankees No. 8 prospect, to the Dodgers in exchange for prospect infielder Jorbit Vivas and left-handed reliever Victor Gonzalez. The trade was made so that the Dodgers could add both Ohtani and Joe Kelly to the 40-man roster. Gonzalez has three years of team control and will slide right into the Yankee bullpen. Vivas is more of a second and third baseman and becomes the Yankees’ No. 10 prospect, while Sweeney is now the Dodgers’ No. 18 prospect. It really demonstrates how deep the Dodgers’ farm system is.


Overall, this is a good trade for the Yankees. Shortstop is one area that the Yankees have plenty of minor league depth in, and so it was a smart trade to make in order to get a Major League pitcher, as well as another infield prospect that plays another position other than shortstop.


Here’s the kicker: Cashman is not yet done this off-season in making moves. The team met with Yamamoto on Monday and it seems as if they’re satisfied with where they are in negotiations with the 25-year old pitcher. Yamamoto still has several teams interested in his services, and the Yankees may not win the sweepstakes for the phenom, but they have not given up on acquiring more talent because of the Soto trade.


Unlike last off-season, I do feel as if the moves that Cashman has made so far this off-season will help the Yankees in 2024, especially on the offensive side. The team should be more balanced and have better hitters in the lineup. While they have lost several pitchers with the two trades and the Rule 5 draft, I don’t think that it will be a huge problem for the team this year. They still have a strong bullpen and a rotation led by Gerrit Cole. I expect that Rodon and Nestor Cortes Jr. will have better seasons if they can stay healthy, and that Clarke Schmidt will continue to improve.


By no means am I Cashman’s biggest fan, because I think he should have been given the ax following the 2023 season, if not sooner. But there’s one thing for sure; he said that this team has to get better and he is actually making the moves to back up his claim.


However, Cashman’s off-season moves will be put to the test when the games will begin to be played in late March. After all, baseball isn’t played on paper and while the Yankees may have had a “winning” off-season so far, it currently means nothing until the products are put to the test.

댓글 21개


Len
Len
2023년 12월 13일

We have yet to, and probably never will, recover from the Bryce Harper fiasco. Blame the owner, the GM, the manager. If there's a way to screw this up, they will find it.

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fuster
2023년 12월 13일
답글 상대:

Harper is hardly a fiasco. he's a good player


and he's averaged 3.7 WAR in Philadelphia


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Alan B.
Alan B.
2023년 12월 13일

Call me a conspiracy nut, but there is something off on this Yankees/Dodgers trade. Vavis was #10 in the Dodgers system, but is #10 with the Yankees, but Sweeney slides all the way to #18? Oh, and it looks like Vavis will be playing 2B at AAA. Too many other scouts have the 2 of them, Vavis & Sweeney, at about the same level, only difference is, is that Sweeney is a SS, which the Dodgers system doesn't have. Plus Vavris, who just touched AAA was already on the 40, 6 years after signing. How good, and more importantly how healthy is Gonzalez? It took him 8 years to reach the Show, and was out due to injury the …


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jjw49
2023년 12월 13일
답글 상대:

I believe Yankees had to take Grisham as a SD salary dump that's why he was included in the trade. His defense is good, and his bat is not....

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fuster
2023년 12월 13일

Ohtani's contract's terms appear to have sent a shockwave throughout the majors and are likely to result in some aftershocks.


Yamamoto is bubbling up hot right now and is going to blow high and long.


too high, too rich, too long?

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fuster
2023년 12월 13일
답글 상대:

YOU might not wish to engage in contingencies, but Cashman must.


lot of team execs wending their way to YY's door, lot of teams looking to lay their money on the table....


...and while I certainly hope that the Yankees have already secured some sort of pledge, even if it's no more than a chance to match high bid, the bids might become staggering

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Brian Mosher
Brian Mosher
2023년 12월 13일

- I don't like the idea, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a pivot to Snell if they lose out on moto man. If Judge really has as much pull as the media is making it seem, I wouldn't be surprised if they got both of them. Snell and Judge are really close, and when he's healthy he obviously pitches very well, (hard to end up w/ 2 CYA's if you don't), but he's injured A LOT & he also didn't really start pitching deep into games very often until last year, his walk year. He's only pitched over 130 innings twice, but ended up with the CYA each time. He'd make the team better, reigning Cy Young awar…


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autmorsautlibertas
2023년 12월 13일

I can't help but wonder whether Ohtani planned to sign with the Dodgers all along, feigning objectivity to ratchet up his price.


The Ohtani contract structure frees up enough cash for the Dodgers to make a serious run on Yamamoto, especially if he can be cajoled into a deferred deal like Ohtani's. Signing the top free agent position player/ pitcher, as well as the next best pitcher on the market would certainly be a great offseason for the Dodgers, and I fear, well within the realm of possibility.


I hope that the Yankees have a contingency plan in the event that they don't sign Yamamoto. They will not have time to dawdle. The free agent pitching market is stalled unt…


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jjw49
2023년 12월 13일
답글 상대:

Obviously, Dodgers odds to sign Yamamoto increase, but Giants will really overpay for him and rumor is he prefers West Coast and pitching in Oracle makes a lot of sense for Yamamoto.

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