Yankees Analysis: GM Brian Cashman mystifies, but this isn’t the first time

William Parlee
New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman
Mar 8, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman prior to the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman is one of the best in MLB but doesn’t always work in ways that Yankee fans want or appreciate. So far, this offseason, we have seen some of the biggest names on the free-agent market being scooped up by teams paying insane contracts that the Yankees want no part of. That is understandable, with two monster contracts on the books already, and one that will come close to those when they extend superstar Aaron Judge. 11 of the 15 top names in baseball have gone to other teams this off-season.

For any Yankee fan that thinks that Brian Cashman doesn’t know what he is doing, as he seeming is sitting on his hands, make no mistake about it, Cashman has a plan, but you won’t be aware of it until after the lockout, imposed last night, is over. That’s when he will attempt to repeat his magic, as he did with DJ LeMahieu when fans were hoping for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. This is not the first time that Cashman has waited for the last moment.

For those that remember the 2013 season, Cashman appeared to do nothing, even saying he wouldn’t sign Mark Teixeira, but then at the last moment, he did. At the end of that season, he let Robinson Cano go. In 2014 they would stay under the 2014 luxury tax threshold and then went on to spend $458 million on Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Masahiro Tanaka. I have learned over the years that you should never anticipate Brian Cashman, he works undercover with fans, never fully understanding how he works.

The Tampa Bay Rays have proven that you don’t have to spend the most to put a championship team on the field. The Atlanta Braves, who just won the World Series, had a payroll half of what the Yankees had.

Owner Hal Steinbrenner is not his father, a free spender that didn’t always spend wisely, nor is he Steve Cohen of the Mets, who seems to have a bottomless pit of money and believes the more he spends, the more his team will win. Spending $43 million for a pitcher who couldn’t pitch down the stretch because of a dead arm may turn out to be one of the worst deals in baseball history. It is already the biggest contract annually to be awarded to any player in baseball history.

As it stands right, now that the lockout has been imposed, the Yankees are expected to spend about $220 million but still don’t have a shortstop, number two starter, a first baseman, and center field back up. When the lockout is over, Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman, and Trevor Story will still be on the board, along with pitching and center field help. With the lockout expected to last quite a while, Cashman will put his plan in action and quickly.

Much to the chagrin of Yankee fans, news over the holidays will not include much information as to what the team will look like in 2022, rather it will be filled with the less interesting CBA progress and when the 2022 season might start. Stay tuned.