Yanks GM Brian Cashman (above) as he hangs off the side of a Connecticut building.
A few weeks back, much was made of a charity event or a Christmas event in Stamford, Conn. at which a Spiderman like Brian Cashma–yes, that Brian Cashman–rappeled down the side of a skyskraper, albeit a Connecticut one. On the matter Cashman would say he saw it done last year, and thought, “Why I can’t I do that?”
We thought, well, you can’t do that because you are the GM of the New York Yankees, one of the most important jobs in sport. Frankly, we also thought, “What the fuck is this guy thinking?” As evidenced by the folly he made of the free agent pursuit of Cliff Lee, and the no plan B plan, we conclude if he does any thinking at all, it’s not much. In analyzing Cliff Lee’s FA priorities, did no one in the Yankee front office unearth that Lee owned a home in South Jersey near Philadelphia and that Philadelphia had the nation’s best medical facility for his son with special needs? Or more simply, that Lee also played for the Philies, enjoyed playing there, and went to the World Series for them as well?
Or what about the most basic principle when it comes to New York teams making free agent offers, any sport? That agents use the NY offer to drive up the price on the team they really want to go to. Could Cashman, at this for a while now, have perhaps realized that Lee was shopping the Yanks’ offer?
He should have. He should have also understood that negotiations are complex and their nature is always subject to change, at any moment. Carl Crawford was an Angel after all, and then all of a sudden, a Red Sock. But Cashman wasn’t surprised that Crawford went to Boston. He is expecting us to believe a lot of tales this winter, and the dull NY media keeps allowing him to spin them without calling him on them. Cashman was wining and dining Crawford the very evening he signed with Boston, but we are supposed to think that was just a nice, healthy meal between consenting adults–a dinner date between Spiderman and a player the Yankees had no interest in.
When Cashman presented his 7 year offer to Lee, the press here exalted the Yankees and declared the matter settled. Lee was on his way. Mike Francesa, Yankees “expert”, declared that no one passes on this type of deal. It was the second time, by the way, that Francesa has been dead wrong–dreadfully wrong–on a major Yankees’ issue this winter. Mike had declared since before the 2009 World Series that the Jeter negotiations would never become contentious, that the Yankees would never embarrass Jeter would definitely show the captain love. Mike also said that ‘no plan B indicates that plan A will work’ with regard to the Lee situation.
The 7 year offer, the Yankee braintrust presented to Lee, the Yankees declared was final. No way on Earth were the Yankees budging off of an already ‘outrageous’ 7 year guarantee. Well, they didn’t budge the offer, literally, leaving it on the table for Lee’s very smart team to have their way with, and to use as the framework to extract a better deal from both Texas and Philadelphia, for over two weeks. Like Jeter had an unofficial deadline by which to come to terms so the Yankees could conduct other business, Lee should have had a deadline. At the time the offer was made, it was the most substantial offer. By the time Lee had a fortknight with it, Texas and Phily had made substantially better offers. So Jeter, the Yankees’ own, gets treated badly, and Lee, who the Yankees wanted very badly, obviously, they didn’t know how to treat. And don’t kid yourselves like they didn’t want him badly. When you decide to give a guy $ 153 M, you want him badly. That is elementary.
Then the New York media begins to spin this yarn that Lee is the 1 guy to spurn the Yanks dollars. Larger than life Cliff Lee, the big time pitcher who just follwed his heart. Then ESPN super scoops the New York media with news that Philadelphia’s offer trounced the Yankees’ in terms of average salary and included an easily vesting 6th year option if the player pitches 200 innings in year 5 or 400 combined innings in years 4 and 5 at $ 27.5 M. So Lee is basically grabbing $ 147.5 M for 6 in Philadelphia–a better deal. Then Cashman goes into hiding for a few days, slinks out of his hole, spins us one about the Yanks not needing Lee, and how plan B is patience, i.e. inaction. A team imposed deadline on a Lee deal may not have gotten the ace in pinstripes, but it gives his people less time to get a dream contract from Philadelphia and allows the Yankees to move on the few other ooportunities thay were out there.
Russell Martin, knee jerk signing anyone? Cashman would have us believe that Martin was part of a master plan. A month ago, Cash was telling us young stud Jesus Montero was going to be the catcher. Now we’re looking at pedestrian Russell Martin, who has no upside whatsoever. Why? Because Montero will be trade in whatever the next knee jerk move the Yankees make–the finest hitting prospect at catcher in baseball–in a trade no doubt to qualify as rape and pillage. People are actually looking forward to seeing Montero come along, the way they were with say, Robinson Cano.
Now Cashman got around last week to telling us that losing the Lee sweepstakes really does hurt. Oh great wise one, speaker of truths! In our opinion, the GM of the Yankees needs to be on the ball, not sliding down the side of a wall. Cashman is telling us how fine we are with AJ Burnett, who we spent $ 82.5 M on, and who we absolutely not could give away. Cashman, with the luxury of the Yankees deep pockets at his disposal, is the only GM in sport who can make 82.5 $ M mistakes. Who can trade Jose Contreras for Esteban Loiza, watch Contreras go forth and conquer, and wipe it all away with a stroke of the Yankees’ money pen.
There is a legion of examples as to Cashman’s bungled trades and signings, as evidenced by their inability to pursue the only other available FA pitcher of note, Carl Pavano, who stole $ 57 M from Cashman previously. Instead of scaling buildings and writing wild checks, how could he ever manage an $80-$100 M payroll? Frankly, we wouldn’t care if this guy, as well as all the Yankees beat writers and media mouthpieces, strapped themselves to a building in Connecticut and then took an unexpected plunge.
Like Tom Coughlin, they should all sit in a dark room and stare into space in solemn contemplation. And they can take their time about coming out. Because if the best idea I could come up with was to dress up like an elf and shimmy down the side of a 22 story building, and I ran the New York Yankees, I would hope that someone would have the decency for me or the Yankees to get me the fuck out of here on a rail. Did you see this fucking video? Why have only 246 people watched it?
Happy New Year.