The Policy Of Truth

  • The mouth that roared:

Brian Cashman needs to shut up.

Now.

This new honesty doctrine under which he appears to be living is hurting Cashman and the Yankees organization and needs to stop.

The days in which Cashman spoke in circles, responding to questions without responding to questions, never letting the public or players know what he was really thinking and protecting club and selfish interests, are gone.

Long gone.

And it’s not good.

After the ridiculous, borderline offensive and inappropriate disclosure that he didn’t want their marquee signing of the winter, Rafael Soriano, Cashman unleashed this series of gems during appearances with WFAN’s Mike Francesa at a breakfast Q and A (Diet Coke for breakfast? Why not?!?) and on Michael Kay’s ESPN show:

Derek Jeter could eventually move to center field.

Andy Pettitte doesn’t want to pitch, but he’ll let them know if he does.

Joba Chamberlain is staying in the bullpen and hasn’t been the same since his shoulder injury in 2008.

You can read the column from which these were culled here—link.

The actual content of what Cashman was saying is irrelevant in the grand scheme. Did he have reason to want to keep the draft pick rather than sign Soriano? Yes. He had several. Is it silly to think that Jeter might have to be shifted from shortstop due to diminished range? No.*

*But center field? Don’t you need range out there too?

Chamberlain’s stuff now translates better to the bullpen? Did Cashman discuss his part in the ruination of Chamberlain with the absurd usage dictates, limits and fluctuating roles?

This new policy of truth to which Cashman is adhering is an exercise in self-immolation; rather than being a boon to running the club “his way” as the repeated mantra states, he’s harming the effort by not knowing when to evade or simply keep quiet.

Is he channeling his inner J.P. Ricciardi? Ricciardi, whose mouth was the main obstacle to his tenure as Blue Jays GM, was great to listen to because he had a volcanic temper and no filter separating brain and mouth.

Is this what Cashman wants?

The Yankees are an organization and Cashman is their front man. What he feels and says behind closed doors should remain behind closed doors. There’s a significant difference between doing what’s right for the organization and yapping relentlessly to get one’s own name in the headlines with splashy statements.

There’s an egomaniacal, power-mad tint to his statements and actions now and it should be troubling to the Yankees and their fans. It seems to be all about him. The contentious Jeter negotiations were off-putting; his behavior during the press conferences of Jeter (looking at his cell phone in a disinterested fashion as Jeter expressed his displeasure at how things spiraled out of control) and the open disagreement with the signing of Soriano are not in his job description.

Does he want out of the Yankee universe?

What’s the purpose of all this?

None of the answers to these questions bode well. If he wants to leave, then he’s well on the way out the door with his actions. Alienating bosses and other members of the organization with honesty is self righteous; he’s still the club’s GM. Because he was overruled in the Soriano decision and the Jeter contract negotiations degenerated as it did doesn’t give him the free pass to behave like a misanthropic buffoon expressing private misgivings in public forums.

This is a problem.

And I can’t believe that the Steinbrenners, Randy Levine, colleagues and friends haven’t told Cashman to tone it down. If he doesn’t, he’d better. That’s if he wants to stay with the Yankees. But maybe Bill Madden was right on Sunday. Maybe he doesn’t.

If that’s the end he has in mind, he’s well on his way to achieving it. It’s all great for the fans and media to have something to sink their collective teeth into and debate, but it’s not good for the organization; in fact, it’s making them look petty and discombobulated—precisely what Cashman wanted to get away from when he consolidated his power by demanding full autonomy in baseball decisions.

He’s blowing up the bridge while he’s standing on it and may be taking a load of people with him.

Someone has to muzzle the renegade GM. Immediately.

  • Viewer Mail 1.26.2011:

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Brian Cashman and Bill Madden’s Sunday column:

I read Madden’s piece on Cashman today in the Daily News and maybe he does want to leave the Yankees when his contract is up. On the other hand, maybe there’s no other Yankees news to write about and Madden needed a story where there isn’t one.

It’s possible that even Madden is told to add certain things to columns by editors, but it’s not as if there’s no evidence to back up the speculation that Cashman might like to try his luck elsewhere. Given some of his decisions that didn’t involve spending money, he’d better be careful what he wishes for. I wouldn’t have the same faith in Cashman as a GM able to succeed anywhere as I would with a Pat Gillick.

We may be about to find out.

The Other Mike in The Bleacher Seats writes RE Jon Heyman:

Don’t misunderstand, I have nothing against Heyman. He’s good at what he does and I appreciate that he’s in the middle of things, breaking stories.

But…
He is prone to hyperbole in a similar fashion to other sports media is, such as suggesting that such-n-what team has the best rotation/bullpen/bat-boy/etc in baseball.
I would also appreciate it if he had personal and professional Twitter accounts that were separate. I follow him more for baseball news and less for ‘what I did on my red-eye flight to NY’ kinds of updates.

He blocked me on Twitter because I’m scaaaaryyyy, so I dunno what he tweets about.

Joe writes in two separate comments about Vernon Wells, Mike Napoli, the Angels and Blue Jays:

Lateral leap in the short term? Napoli is as good if not better than Wells. Rivera might be as good too.  Neither is expensive, while Wells is.  And before last year, when Wells was good, he was below-average for 3 straight years, and makes $20 million a year. This is one of the worst trades in baseball history, easily.

****

Playing Wells in center means costing runs on defense.  He is a corner-outfielder now. If they play him in center, he will give back some of the runs that he gives them on offense. The last 4 years — not just last year — Wells has been below-average, overall.  You don’t pay players like Wells $20 million. Rivera might be as good as Wells, and Napoli is too.  The Angels play a black-hole of a catcher, rather than trying to find a guy that plays defense and gets on base even 30 percent of the time. Mathis has a career .199 average, .266 OBP.  He is awful.  They could easily have found someone better, who has the skills they value — acceptable defense, veteran leadership, etc.  The point is, they GAVE UP something to get Vernon Wells.  Why did they have to give something up?  It was a poor contract, for an above-average AT BEST player.  If they wanted a more reliable center fielder, they could have found one at a much cheaper price, who probably isn’t that far off production-wise.

Judging from their decision to trade him to the Rangers for Frank Francisco, the Blue Jays didn’t think much of Napoli either. This is especially curious since the Blue Jays current starting catcher is the no-hit Jose Molina and they could’ve used Napoli.

So is it that the Angels didn’t appreciate what they had in Napoli? Or did they know what they had? Or are the Blue Jays just as dumb as the Angels days after they were “brilliant”?

The Blue Jays saw the same thing in Napoli that the Angels saw: a part-time player who was good as a part-time player but was exposed when asked to do too much.

The phrase: “What would he do if given the opportunity to play every day?” has two answers. Some flourish; some falter. With Shin-Soo Choo, he became a terrific all-around player; for Napoli, we saw what he was in 2010—a .240 hitter; some pop; and he strikes out a lot.

All of a sudden the Angels, after years of annual contention and playoff appearances, have gotten stupid? I don’t buy it. They take rapid steps to repair perceived mistakes as evidenced by their replacement of Gary Matthews Jr. with Torii Hunter after one year of Matthews as their center fielder.

I can’t imagine that they intend to play Jeff Mathis regularly. If anything, he’ll split time early in the season with Hank Conger, then they’ll go with Conger as the season moves along.

One of the “worst trades in baseball history”, Joe? You’re making this assessment in January? Really? With your life dedicated to the principles of objective analysis, this seems pretty subjective to me.

And please tell me what center fielder is available to the Angels now? Or left fielder for that matter?

You can’t because there isn’t one.

Mike Fierman writes RE Wells and the Angels:

First of all I don’t know why you would say Abreu is bound to come back because he’s been so good for so long. More likely he is in his inevitable decline. i’d be shocked if he hit 20 homers. Even his great OBP has been steadily declining. I can see your point that the Angels can more easily absorb this atrocious contract, but to conclude a mostly interesting post with “they are contenders again because of the acquisition of Vernon Wells.”  is going just too far. Especially since you had just posited that they need another bat …a bat they don’t have yet. Beltre would have been a much better option for them.

I’m not so quick to think Abreu is done. The hitters surrounding any batter do have an affect on his production. Without Kendry Morales and with Howie Kendrick having down years, Abreu still had a good year by any measurement apart from his own. 63 extra base hits is pretty good to me. If he repeats those numbers with Wells adding 25 homers and the return of Morales, the Angels starting rotation will be well-supported to win plenty of games.

They went after Adrian Beltre and didn’t get him.

Regarding the phraseology, maybe “they are contenders in part because of the acquisition of Vernon Wells” would’ve been better, but that’s arguable.

With their repeated success, the Angels deserve the benefit of the doubt that other organizations don’t. This reactionary response before one game has been played is ludicrous.

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  1. #1 by Jane Heller on January 26, 2011 - 6:14 pm

    Why should Cashman shut up? I like the new honesty instead of the old secrecy. Besides, it wasn’t as if he gave a speech. He was answering questions from fans.

  2. #2 by Jeff on January 26, 2011 - 7:20 pm

    Jeter in centerfield? Puuuuuh-lease. I’m Jeter fan (how can ya not be?) but no way he ever plays CF on the regular. No way. Cash had to be messin’ with the fans on that one.

    Anthopoulos for GM of the decade anyone? Pretty good first year plus, I’d say. Only a matter of time before the Jays are a FORCE.

  3. #3 by Joe on January 26, 2011 - 11:41 pm

    Well regardless, the Angels had a guy in Napoli that could play some catcher, a little 1B, some DH. Maybe he isn’t a full-time catcher, but he could be a full time player. Catch some, play elsewhere some. Vernon Wells is above-average, and being paid like he is Teixeira or Carl Crawford. He’s not. And they gave up something to get him. A prospect reliever that the Angels had little use for, would have gotten Wells from the Blue Jays. It is a joke that they had to give up value to get him. The Angels are a very good organization, the results this decade speak for themselves. But they have had an awful offseason.

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