Do the New York Yankees have a Brian Cashman problem?

New York Yankees, Brian Cashman
Feb 18, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA;New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When you have an owner like Hal Steinbrenner that keeps the checkbook open for management, you expect to see better results over a large sample size of seasons. The New York Yankees have failed to make a World Series appearance in over a decade, being knocked out of the Wild Card by the Boston Red Sox last year.

Under the leadership of Aaron Boone, the team has made it close to the World Series but has failed to overcome the Houston Astros on multiple occasions. Despite aimless spending and monstrous trades, the Yankees once again find their roster filled with holes and deficiencies that haven’t been plugged by developmental talent.

Cashman has been extremely persistent with his confidence in players like Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, and more. In fact, he’s dragged on their tenure for far too long in some instances, finally parting ways with Sanchez this off-season in a blockbuster deal with the Minnesota Twins.

However, Cashman remains conservative with his approach, refusing to part ways with any of his young talent, notably Oswald Peraza or Anthony Volpe. Keeping Volpe as the team’s future shortstop seems like a good move, but leveraging Peraza at this point for starting pitching support and team control may be viewed as a net-positive strategy.

Nonetheless, the Yankees general manager continues to strike out on big contracts. Over the years, he’s opened the checkbook for players like Jacoby Ellsbury, Aaron Hicks, and more. Even Giancarlo Stanton’s grotesque deal, which he acquired from the Miami Marlins, seems overzealous given his lack of defensive production.

So by all accounts, is it fair to say that the Yankees have a Brian Cashman problem?

Based on the considerable sample size of seasons pushed aside due to injury and failure to reach expectations, Cashman has done an underwhelming job at this point. Youth development has stalled, coaching shifts have been frequent, and forcing analytical methods is one of his biggest negatives. Focusing on home run hitting isn’t a bad strategy, but finding quality contact hitters who can get on base and maximize home runs is essential.

Cashman has wholly ignored the batting average statistic, which is understandable given the way baseball is going, but teams with far fewer sluggers have enjoyed success recently, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Astros.

Acquiring Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Josh Donaldson contribute towards a minor shift. Kiner-Falefa is better known for his contact-hitting then slugging abilities, hitting just eight homers last year with the Texas Rangers. Every year, Donaldson is a double-digit HR hitter player, but the Yankees balanced his qualities with Isiah.

The injection of better baserunners would also go a long way toward getting players in scoring position. In addition, clutch hitting has also been a deficiency for the Yankees, as relying on the home run can have its cons.

As you can tell, the Bombers lack in multiple categories, but Cashman remains steadfast in his ways. Given he was recently outsmarted by the Twins, who unloaded Donaldson’s two-year and $50 million contract on the Yanks, signing Carlos Correa to a short-term, high AAV deal, maybe it’s time for Steinbrenner to go in a different direction.