A number of the writers here at Start Spreading the News have argued that Brian Cashman is one of the best General Managers in baseball, if not the best. We look at the recent trades he has made to enhance this team: trading Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller for huge packages of high-end talent, acquiring Didi Gregorius, the trade deadline deals last year for Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, and Sonny Gray, and, of course, the most recent acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton serve as excellent examples. As a long (long) time fan of the Yankees, I think back to Cashman picking up David Justice and Robin Ventura to help the Yankees in their pennant drives many years ago.
Looking back, it is hard for me to remember many trades that Brian Cashman has made that did not go well. The man seems to be a baseball genius.
But, sometimes our memories are selective. I like Brian Cashman - always have. And, while I'm not afraid to share when I think he might have made a mistake (I am still not convinced that Aaron Boone was the best choice for Yankees manager), I might be looking at his overall body of work too positively. I wonder if I only am remembering his best moves and forgetting the ones that were disasters. I wonder if the bad moves outweigh the good ones.
With all that in mind, I am going to set out on a task that might take a very long to complete. (As I begin this task, I'm going to ask for your patience. This is going to take a while. This won't be a daily feature. These posts may come in spurts and there might be some quiet periods. In fact, we might grow old together as I work through this project.)
Through this exercise, I plan to carefully look examine each trade that Brian Cashman has made while serving as the General Manager of the Yankees. I'll call this fist task, "Part 1." Once I finish examining and grading all the trades he made, I'll then examine, review, and analyze all his free agent signings. I'll call that process, "Part 2."
Just a few quick notes. I'm going to write this series using all sorts of different metrics and analytical tools. Sometimes I just base the analysis on how I felt about the trade or signing. Other times I'll use traditional stats. On others, I may dive into advanced metrics. It'll be a potpourri of ways to look at the transactions. In my effort to make these passages engaging, I may not use the same metrics or analysis for each trade. I'm going to write each piece as it's own essay - not using a template or specific design or research method. I understand the flaw in that approach from the start. But isn't a research paper or a thesis or a dissertation (I did all of that already). This is supposed to be fun.
At the end of each passage, I will assign Brian Cashman a grade for the trade. (I am an educator after all.) The grade will be purely subjective. I don't necessarily expect ever reader to agree with my findings, decisions, or grading. One of the great things about baseball is that it evokes certain feelings and emotions. The arguments and debates that come as a part of discussions like this are what makes being a fan (and a writer) so much fun. I welcome all comments with each passage along the way.
I will be using Baseball Reference as the primer for all of the Cashman transactions. You can find the list I will use here: Brian Cashman (scroll down for the source for Part 1 - Significant Trades).
Also, fair or not, I am going to consider every move on these lists as "Cashman moves." I understand that there were times when it was perceived that others in the Yankees organization pushed for or even signed certain players. I wasn't there in those meetings. Maybe someday Brian Cashman will shed light on which moves were his and which came from others. Figuring all of that out, as part of this process, isn't my concern. If the transaction happened under his watch, I am assigning him credit (or blame).
I'll also keep a running total of Brian Cashman's overall grade with each post. I suspect, as I begin, that he'll be an honors student. Magna cum laude? Maybe. But I'll be fair in my grading and we will see where this takes me.
Again, Brian Cashman has made a plethora of moves since his first one on February 6, 1998 so this process might take some time. As we go through it, I hope you enjoy!