Yankees could move on from Brian Cashman if 2022 collapse results in early playoff exit

Alexander Wilson
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

The New York Yankees managed to steal a series finale game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday afternoon, courtesy of Aaron Judge and his potent bat.

The Yankees scored just two runs via a solo homer that traveled 450 feet by Judge, providing a one-run cushion at the top of the first inning. It took until the seventh inning for Oswaldo Cabrera to hit a sacrifice fly, driving in Judge, who blooped a double to right field to start the inning.

Closer Clay Holmes nearly blew the save in the bottom of the ninth, but the Yankees just barely managed to escape with a win, padding their AL-East lead with one more win. They currently sit five games above Tampa Bay and six games over the Toronto Blue Jays, but they once held a 15 1/2 game lead several months ago.

The Yankees were on pace to smash historical records, but now it is just Aaron Judge reaching those milestones. They allowed the Baltimore Orioles to reach 70 wins before they can get to 80, stalling significantly after the All-Star break. In fact, they’ve only won two of their last eight games, preparing to face off against the Minnesota Twins in a four-game series in the Bronx. The injuries continue to mount, with left fielder Andrew Benintendi suffering a broken wrist bone, which will require surgery and keep him out for weeks.

Given the dramatic collapse of the Yankees, there’s a serious conversation to be had about general manager Brian Cashman, who should be on the hot seat, given it’s been over a decade since his team has reached the World Series. Yes, they normally find their way into a playoff spot, but courtesy of an early exit, they often look to the winter months to reboot.

The Yankees hang onto Brian Cashman despite their failures:

Cashman has surely convinced owner Hal Steinbrenner that the Yankees might’ve won the World Series back in 2017 if not for the Houston Astros being caught up in a massive cheating scandal. There’s no question the Yankees have the talent to get the job done, but interrupting the team’s chemistry and injuries every season have significantly held them back.

Despite minor success, at some point Steinbrenner must reevaluate Cashman and determine if he’s the right option for the future of the club. His strategy, home run or die, has hurt the team in the past. He’s injected a few more contact hitters into the mix this season, but they haven’t been enough to make up for cold stretches without long balls. Only Judge has been able to contribute in that category lately, but the contact hitting of Isiah Kiner-Falefa isn’t exactly what the team needs.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Yankees could consider moving on from their long-time general manager. However, he references his success in the past and how it is a lose-lose situation for the Bombers, who would be relinquishing a well-respected GM and looking to start anew with the potential for a massive flop.

It’s not difficult to identify Cashman’s moves that have gone awry, from the long-term signing of center fielder Aaron Hicks to last year’s trade for Joey Gallo, the offseason acquisitions of trade third baseman Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa to the deadline trade of left-hander Jordan Montgomery for injured center fielder Harrison Bader. However, a number of other additions — catcher Jo?e Trevino, closer Clay Holmes, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, left-hander Nestor Cortes, right-hander Jameson Taillon — have worked out well.

At the very least, we know Cashman has the capabilities to get this team to the postseason, whereas another GM might fail miserably.