Last night, the New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 with Anthony Rizzo playing the hero. Rizzo stepped to the plate with the game tied at one and pulled a sinker into the bullpen for his 16th home run of the year and the Yankees eighth walk-off win of the season.
New York now has an incredible 47-16 record this season. They are on pace for a blistering 121 wins and they have been far and away the best team in baseball. One man who has to be smiling and relieved is Brian Cashman.
The Yankees have disappointed year after year over the past few years. With disappointment, the microscope becomes even more magnified on Brian Cashman. Cashman has had incredible financial resources as the Yankees GM, yet since the start of the 2004 season, New York has been to just one World Series.
There have been so many questionable moves and questionable non-moves by Cashman. The Yankees have held onto prospects until they had no value. They’ve given out horrible contracts like Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Hicks. When they did make big trades, they’ve made bad ones like the Joey Gallo and Sonny Gray trades.
Is this the Yankees year?
Entering the offseason this past year, there was more pressure on Cashman than ever. The Yankees got spanked by the Red Sox in the Wild Card to finish last year and the free agent crop was one of the best in history. The Yankees were expected to make big moves.
Instead, they didn’t make flashy moves at all, but they made moves they thought could payoff and give them what they needed. They traded Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez for Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Josh Donaldson.
New York acquired Jose Trevino and they resigned Anthony Rizzo. They also made smaller moves like bringing in Matt Carpenter during this year and signing Marwin Gonzalez before the season started.
None of these were the flashy moves that Yankees fans wanted, but they are moves that have really paid off. Rizzo has been sensational, Trevino has played like an all-star, IFK and Donaldson have greatly improved the defense on the left side of the infield.
Not too mention IFK and Donaldson have allowed Gleyber Torres to move back to 2B and while he’s not completely back to the player he was in 2019, he’s already tied his home run output for 2020 and 2021 combined.
Offensively, the Yankees have remained relatively healthy and that’s been a huge boost. Not too mention Clay Holmes has been the best reliever in baseball and that was another under the radar type of move from Cashman.
Cashman did a good job
I’m the first to criticize Brian Cashman. I think he’s been so atrocious as a GM for many years in the past. However, this year, he’s seemed to have gotten it right. These Yankees just feel different and I think a lot of that comes down to the clubhouse.
Having guys like Anthony Rizzo and Josh Donaldson goes so much further than their play on the field. These Yankees feel like the 2009 Yankees that were never out of a game. Unlike the last few years, I expect the big hit to come with this team.
Now, there’s still plenty of the season left and a long ways to go. However, New York is off to a historically good start and the credit needs to be given to the man that constructed this team. For now, Brian Cashman has shut many of us up and the Yankees are proving him right.