Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cashman's Small Moves Paying Off Big Time

We all are aware of the fine job Brian Cashman did this offseason bringing in big name free agents CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira. These moves were a key to the Yankees 2009 success, but any GM with money and a clue could have done the same. Cashman has impressed me the most with the smaller moves, the ones that took some real GM work. And those are the ones that might have put this team over the top.

First, the trade for Jose Molina back in 2007 gave the Yankees a solid backup catcher for the first time in several years. In that deal Cashman sent the Angels minor league reliever Jeff Kennard for Molina. Kennard, 28, is now in the Reds organization, and is having a solid year for Triple-A Louisville, but has yet to make the majors. At the same time Molina has been one of the better backup catchers in the game.

Then, in 2008, Cash signed a relatively unknown pitcher out of the Mexican leagues. That guy was Alfredo Aceves. He now leads all MLB relievers in wins with nine, and has become one of the more versitile relievers in the game. It's no coincidence that once the Yankees called him up their bullpen turned around.

Nick Swisher was the next solid pickup for Cashman. Trading away struggling propect Jeff Marquez, reliever Jhonny Nunez, and roster spot waster Wilson Betemit. Besides the solid offensive production Swisher has also helped chance the culture of the clubhouse. Betemit played a grand total of 20 games for the White Sox this year, hitting. 200/.280/.311. Marquez had another rough year in the minors, going 2-8, with a 9.85 ERA for the Triple-A Charllotte Knights. And Nunez, also with the Knights, is having a decent year, but nothing special.

Cashman wasn't done. Once he finally realized that the 2009 Yankees had a weak bench, he got rid of the useless Angel Berroa and sent Casey Erickson and Eric Fryer to Pittsburgh for Eric Hinske. This move paid off immediately as Hinske did more in his first week in Pinstripes than Berroa had done all year. A month later Cashman sent Single-A catcher Chase Weems to the Reds for Jerry Hairston Jr, who has turned out to be a great pickup for the Yanks. He can play everywhere (and has), played hard, and he's not as easy an out as I or many others may have thought he was.

You can also throw in the signing of Sergio Mitre and the trade for Chad Gaudin. While neither of these guys has been spectacular, they gave this team much needed pitching depth. Mitre has pitched in eight games this year (started seven) and in those games the Yankees are 6-2. And while Gaudin has struggled, he has given the Yanks the ability to alter the Joba rules to what they feel is the best method, and he could play a big role in keeping other guys fresh as the regular season comes to a close.

These moves have turned what would have still be a very good team into a complete team. A team with a solid pen, a good bench, and rotation depth. That was one of the keys to the Dynasty teams of the late-90's. They were complete teams where everyone on the 25-man roster contributed at some point. Now, thanks to the work Cashman has done, this team is complete and may be on the verge of doing something very special.

22 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Hairston trade I think wasn't that big of a deal. He basically took Ramiro Pena spot and I though Pena was doing a very nice job. I still dont understand why they sent him down. They wanted him to learn the outfield but he barely played the outfield for Scranton.

But yes this yankee teams have very good role players. Swisher, Gardner (who wasnt playing everyday but he was playing more than a typical bench player), Melky, Molina, Hinskie (is a nice power bat option off the best)

That is something the teams the last few years didn't have.

Greg Cohen said...

The thing about Hairston is he can do now what the Yankees eventually want Pena to do, play everywhere. As a Yankee he's played all three outfield position, second, short and third. That, to me, is why he's here and Pena isn't.

crossfire said...

I like Pena a lot but I agree that he simply can not fill the positions that Hairston can right now.

I was one of the ones who rolled my eyes when we got him and have been pleasantly surprised by his play. And I agree that he isn't as easy of an out as I thought he would be. He has had some very good at bats.

Anonymous said...

But thing with Pena he really wasn't playing the outfield in Scranton. Pena is an all world defender at the 3 infield spots. Why wasn't he playing the outfield more in scranton? If thats what they want him to be. Pena would not of made an error on that play.

Pena will have Hairston spot next year. The only way I see Hairston on this team next year depends on what the yankees want to do with Brett Gardner. If Gardner is still in a platoon with Melky than Hairston is not on the team. If Gardner is playing everyday I could see Hairston coming back and playing against tough lefties when you sit Gardner.

Anonymous said...

What about Kevin Russo? He is a guy that can play multiple positions and is hitting 335 in scranton. He deserves a shot to make next year team.

Greg Cohen said...

You're right Anon. I definitely think he's part on next year's plans. If not they can always trade him.

crossfire said...

I agree that Pena should have been playing more outfield in the minors. But I think that even if he had, Hairston would get more pt because he has more experience.

I believe Hairston only has one error so far with the Yanks but unfortunately it was very costly.

The Yanks should have Pena play winter ball and play all of the outfield positions as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

Russo is exactly like Hairston. Russo can play the infield and the corner outfield position. He is a better bat than Pena. Russo is having a great year at scranton.

I like the idea of the yankees having young bench players. Than always having veterans. I think the younger players like Gardner, Cervelli and Pena really energized the team.

Yankeeboy98 said...

You make a good point Greg. Cash has made some very good deals and signings in the past couple years. No one should bag on him anymore for not getting Johan in'07 or not signing Vlad in 2004, because he has made the Yankees once again the best team in baseball.

Mike R. said...

Hopefully this makes up for the Nady and Marte deal.

Tabata better bust!

Yankeeboy98 said...

He's also created a very nice bench with a lot of depth.

Yankeeboy98 said...

Well at the time Mike R., the Nady/Marte deal was great.

But as we know it has turned into a bust and hopefully the prospects we gave up, like Tabata as you said, are busts.

Greg Cohen said...

That's fair Mike, that trade is looking pretty bad right now. Cashman has certainly made his mistakes (What GM hasn't?), but he's put a very good and complete team on the field this year.

Mike R. said...

True, Cash is tsrating to look like a real GM with the small moves, not just the obvious big ones that anybody can pull off.

Still does not rival Stick, though.

Mike R. said...

"starting"

Greg Cohen said...

Stick was almost like one of a kind. He mixed the old school method of player evaluation with the new school OBP/money ball philosophy, and that was even before money ball became known.

Anonymous said...

Not neccesarily...Marte is falling into a solid role as the pitcher he should be - just a lefty specialist. Girardi in my opinion was mismanaging him at the beginning of the year having him throw more than one inning a game. Now that he seems to limit him he has been pitching fairly consistently. Nady was never a bad player he just got hurt. In the end the quality of players on our side seem to be better.

-G

Yankeeboy98 said...

Good point Anon.

Anonymous said...

The most bonehead part of Nady/Marte deal was that Cashman gave Marte a 3 year deal after having an over 5 era with the yanks. Instead of just excercising his 1 year option.

Next year with you will have Coke and Dunn in the bullpen. Marte will be the odd man out. Marte was really needed for this year. You also have Kroenke at Scranton.

Yanks are going to have to trade Marte this offseason. Hopefully he finishes strong so that could raise his trade value.

Mike R. said...

I just love all of the cheap reclamation signings that Theo wished he could pull off.

I loved how Straw, Gooden, Key, and Wetteland performed. Don't forget Brosius as well.

Stick didn't need to spend all that money. I mean, the payroll was always high, but it was still very close to other teams. In 1998, the payroll was 2nd with $64 Million, $7 Million behind the O's.

I know Tex and C.C. have come up big for us, but winning with guys like Straw and Brosius always felt better and more meaningful.

Anonymous said...

Stick was great he blows away Cashman.

Greg Cohen said...

Stick was a great GM. He took a last place team and turned it into a dynasty. Nobody is trying to compare Cashman to him.