Brian Cashman held court for the New York media on Tuesday. He was not exactly in a charitable mood. Which was understandable, if only that he’s had the same job for 25 years. Anyone’s bound to get a little fidgety. Throw in the fact that he’s been dealing with the New York media and New York fanbase, and it’s a wonder he hasn’t found his own darkness retreat. Though there are a fair few Yankees fans who would claim he’s been on a darkness retreat for a while now.
It’s also easy to understand because no Yankees fan under the age of about 35 can remember a losing season. 1992 was the last time the Yankees didn’t crack .500, and there is simply no team in North American sports that has been able to manage that kind of streak. The Yankees haven’t always been in it, but they’ve also, by definition, not sucked in over 30 years.
Cashman has also survived two generations of Steinbrenner, which is probably enough to make Mother Theresa ornery. Cashman wasn’t afraid to let the expletives fly while talking to the press.
“Doesn’t mean we’re firing on all cylinders, doesn’t mean we’re the best in class, but I think we’re pretty f—ing good, personally.”
Cashman certainly made his share of mistakes, mostly being that the 2023 Yankees fortunes hinged on the health of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Carlos Rodon, who together might have one good ligament and tendon between them. He also couldn’t count on Anthony Rizzo first trying to play through a concussion for months, and then having to sit down eventually because of it.
Maybe Cashman was a little too hopeful that former journeyman Nestor Cortes would maintain health and plus performance for another season. But the replacements in the lineup or in the rotation that the Yankees might have needed or required were somewhat clipped by the Yankees not acting like the Yankees when it came to payroll. Especially when so much is tied up in Stanton and Judge, both decisions that Cashman made (one good, one very much not).
Cashman got especially touchy when it was suggested that the Yankees were too analytically driven:
“No one’s doing their deep dives,” Cashman said. “They’re just throwing ammunition and bulls—t and accusing us of being run analytically.”
And in one sense, he’s absolutely right to be fed up with that kind of criticism. That’s an old fight, one the old heads lost long ago. There’s still a heavy contingent of fans and media alike that would like to believe only a certain cut of player who possess something unquantifiable are fit to wear pinstripes. While The Bronx can certainly present its own challenges, at the end of the day, good players are good players and bad ones are bad ones, and just because Mike Francesa might mention their name between belches on air doesn’t really make it an untenable place to play for some.
The Yankees get to start from a place that a lot of teams wouldn’t mind swapping with. They have Aaron Judge, brought through the Yankees system by Cashman. They have the presumptive Cy Young winner in Gerrit Cole, signed by Cashman and one of the most effective free agent signings in history. There’s a handful of kids ready to take everyday roles, all drafted, acquired, and developed by Cashman’s system. It’s not the best, but it’s hardly the worst. A couple free-agent signings work out and suddenly the Yankees are there again.
Probably won’t make Cashman that much happier, though. New York takes a chunk out of everyone after a while.
Xande Silva misses
The highlight from last night that will make you feel better because even you could have finished this off comes from Atlanta United’s Xande Silva during Game 2 of their playoff series with Orlando City:
Luckily for Silva, Atlanta would still win the game and extend the series. But that’s the kind of miss where not only would a player have to think about it every time they have a shot for the next month or year, but probably think about it during daily activities. He could have let the ball hit him and he still would have scored. Just one of those rare moments when time stops because the whole universe has to take a second to comprehend what happened.
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