If you told an average New York Yankees fan in 2009 that they would still have 27 rings in 2022, they would certainly laugh straight in your face.
Yet, in a year where the Bronx Bombers have no clear plan and have had their hopes set on a core that just lost the 2021 A.L. Wild Card game to the rival Boston Red Sox, that is the frightening reality for Yankees fans. Bad contracts and underperforming years are just some of the terms to describe the last decade for New York, where the team not only failed to grab its 28th World Series title, but also failed to reach the championship at all. While Yankees management has gone to the drawing board year after year, they’ve watched teams like the Washington Nationals win their first ring.
Much of the blame for New York’s frequent failure can fall on one man: Brian Cashman.
The longtime Yankees general manager was beloved by fans when he started his career in New York, grabbing four World series rings throughout the late 90’s and 2000’s. But in 2022, reaching the playoffs was simply not enough for a Yankees franchise that is now known to baseball fans as a team that consistently chokes in the playoffs. It’s a steep drop off from a team that was once known to baseball fans as consistent winners. The team constantly has one of the highest payrolls in the sport, yet continues to get eliminated year after year.
What did the Yankees general manager recently say when asked about the Yankees championship drought?
“It does bother me when people say we haven’t been to the World Series since ’09,” Cashman told The Athletic. “We did it all right, by building it to a certain level that could have gotten us to a World Series — if not for something else. But hey! We’re back at it. Every year, we’re still back at it. We’ve been qualifying for the postseason, and we’re going to take this team as far as we can get it, and hopefully we can push through.”
Let’s focus on the words “could have” in the quote by Cashman. Other than a hopeful 2017 campaign, the team has arguably never been in a position to have a serious shot at a title. Even in 2017, the team still had to get through an impressive Los Angeles Dodgers team that could have easily bounced New York out of the World Series. The team has seen injuries, poor signings and overall poor preparation derail their seasons, yet Cashman hasn’t made the necessary moves to at the very minimum aid these problems. Instead, in 2022, New York may be faced with these very same problems.
The main issue is that New York is not a championship level team this season. The numerous holes that New York has throughout its roster is numerous. Even with its pitching, the team has no surefire quality starter in its rotation, other than New York’s ace Gerrit Cole, especially with Luis Severino coming off injuries, and that alone is a huge question mark.
Much of Cashman’s struggles have come with the team having no clear focus. While the team has had prospects come out of the farm system like Severino and star Aaron Judge, they haven’t had as much homegrown talent as teams like the Tampa Bay Rays or their rival, the Boston Red Sox. While both of these teams have reached the World Series since 2009, Cashman has spent millions on trying to get top free agents, while still vastly underperforming.
Even in 2022, fans have criticized the general manager for not going after star Carlos Corre, giving the Minnesota Twins the cap flexibility to sign Correa by trading for aging infielder Josh Donaldson, and opting to put all of his hope in talented prospect Anthony Volpe. While Volpe provides a ton of promise, it’s questionable to want to go from signing a star pitcher like Cole, promising him a championship, vastly underperforming in 2021, and balking on a major free agent.
Cashman’s strategy for 2022 is to essentially to hope for the best when he’s faced with a potential fourth or third place finish in a top-tier A.L. East division. That possibility alone should push owner Hal Steinbrenner to move on from the longtime general manager.
The team must face reality. It’s okay to lose, especially if that prepares the team for the future. They’ll need a new face that can make the necessary moves for the franchise to move toward the dominance they once saw under late owner George Steinbrenner. Whether the Yankees must put their pride aside and look toward the future or go with a different plan, one thing is for certain: Cashman is not the face that this team needs and ever since 2010, he has proven why.