Cash Out

How much is Brian Cashman going to take as Yankees GM?

How much does he want to take?

For someone who’s been with the same organization since 1986 and worked his way up from intern to general manager, it’s not easy to say goodbye; nor is it easy to relinquish the cash and cachet that comes from being the Yankees GM, but when is enough going to be enough? When does it become a negligible risk/reward? When does the aggravation outweigh all the positives that come with the job?

Cashman has had a tumultuous few months going back to the messy negotiations with Derek Jeter. The front office sabotaged and interfered with everything he was trying to do in keeping the draft picks and money that were surrendered with the so-far disastrous decision made by Randy Levine, Hank and Hal Steinbrenner to sign Rafael Soriano.

Whereas he was perceived to have full authority to do as he saw fit with the club, the panic that overtook his bosses when the Yankees failed to sign Cliff Lee might have been the beginning of the end for Cashman as Yankees GM.

The Jorge Posada controversy is another unnecessary irritation, but as far as the Bronx Zoo goes, it’s not an untenable occurrence—one that’s going to make Cashman toss his hands in the air and say, “that’s it”.

But the confluence of events—Soriano, Jeter, Posada, the Steinbrenners and Levine—could all conspire to do what few in a similar position as Cashman would choose to do.

Leave.

Don’t discount the fact that the Yankees look peaked and old; that even with the young pitching in Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos on the way up, the onerous contracts and declining production of Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have the potential to beget a couple of down years as the front office tries desperately to rebuild the dominant club they’ve been over the past 16 years on the fly, pushing him further out the door.

Spending on talent is impossible if the talent isn’t allowed to reach free agency to start with and the upcoming classes of free agents are limited and the Yankees are stuck with Jeter, A-Rod, Soriano and Mark Teixeira; they have to start thinking about an extension for Robinson Cano; CC Sabathia has an opt-out of his contract after the season, adding more headaches for the Yankees GM, whomever it is.

Has the Yankees GM job become a case of diminishing returns for Cashman?

Would he like to try his luck (and garner some legitimate credit and perhaps a Hall of Fame resume) by going elsewhere and building a club without the gobs of cash available when running the Yankees?

Some have implied that spending money is the only skill that Cashman has.

It’s unfair.

He’s made some mistakes especially with pitchers, but he’s a solid GM and smart baseball man. His newfound penchant for speaking his mind has not won him any friends among the players; in fact, it almost seems as if he’s made the conscious decision to say what he wants to say and no longer adhere to the corporate double-and triple-talk that was the hallmark of his earlier days as GM. He never actually said anything that wasn’t ambiguous or couldn’t be spun the way he wanted in its aftermath.

That changed with the Jeter negotiations; with the Soriano signing; with the Posada dustup.

There will be other GM jobs open after this season.

The Nationals are in a prime location with money; access to power; and a young foundation around which to build. Current GM Mike Rizzo’s signed through 2015, but that’s not a major obstacle. Naming Cashman club president or another high-end title would stickhandle around any firings.

Andy MacPhail isn’t expected to stay with the Orioles after this year; Cashman’s worked with Buck Showalter before; and after years with George Steinbrenner, he’d deal with Peter Angelos.

If the Mariners behave horribly again at some point and/or embarrass the ownership more than they did in 2010, Jack Zduriencik might be dismissed.

Depending on what happens with the Dodgers ownership, how enticing would one of the most historic franchises in baseball be? Located in Hollywood and with money to spend, he’d have all the ingredients to win big in Los Angeles on and off the field.

The Cubs are under new ownership, have young talent and are saddled with some messy contracts, but if Cashman was able to go to the Cubs and win a title, how would that look on a resume that already has 5 championships?

If he left the Yankees, Cashman wouldn’t be out of work long and he’d probably get a good job and the opportunity to truly run things the way he wants to.

Of course nothing can compare with the thrill and excitement of New York; in retrospect, the negatives will be viewed fondly after he’s away from the crisis-a-day atmosphere for a short while, but there are options.

With the team in its current state and the interference from above, it’s possible that Cashman is looking for a way out; that his newfound honesty is a conscious and calculated strategy to make clear that he doesn’t care whether he’s the Yankees GM after the 2011 season.

Levine dictating to Cashman which players he wants signed is a form of castration.

Would Cashman like to git while the gittin’s good?

It’s a bold act, but if he rappels out of Yankee Stadium, he won’t be out of work very long.

Is peace of mind and full power worth the pain of leaving his only baseball home?

It could if Cashman’s tired of the negatives that go along with the positives; if he wants to venture out on his own.

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  1. #1 by Mike.BTB on May 22, 2011 - 12:13 pm

    I think Cashman is done here. There is too much negativity on the horizon for the Yanks. They eventually have to put these legends to bed and there is no one coming up from the farm who will satisfy fans enough to forget the good times and their “heroes”. You already mentioned the thin free-agent outlook. Either way, it’s like having to follow Muhammad Ali. Cashman will have no part of that. That leaves Randy Levine to destroy everything because I don’t think Cashman wants anything to do with him either. I honestly do not think Hal, Hank or Sis have the knowledge or gumption to fire Randy Levine (and at this point why would they – he hasn’t done anything wrong…, yet.) But I think he’ll be the one to make a total mess of the whole operation after Cashman. I see Levine hiring a yes-man as his new GM and redefining the meaning of spending Bad Money. The Kids, like we discussed the other day, will sell when the debt on the Stadium becomes more manageable. They aren’t nearly as passionate or interested for that matter, as their Pop was. They aren’t like the NY Giants’ Mara Family where that IS their business. So, I think we’re on the ground floor looking in. Welcome to The End.

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