>No one but the Yankee Wizard is predicting Yankee GM Brian Cashman soon will leave the Yankees. While he is opening up in unusual and an unwise fashion to reporters about what he thinks, he may be jeopardizing his own future with the Yankees. Below is the headline printed today on Bleacher Report and elsewhere.
Is Brian Cashman going rogue?
I think the above question is the best one of the day, and not whether Derek Jeter will soon be playing in the outfield because everyone thinks he’s too slow to play shortstop. Actually, he is NOT too slow to play shortstop in Yankee Stadium.
He made some fantastic plays last season. But as a player gets along in age, it’s natural for people to compare him to someone else and to see how he once could have made this play or that one when he was a step faster.
Whether Joba Chamberlain will be starting or not shouldn’t be blabbered out to the press. Imagine how Joba must feel seeing this kind of “junk talk” spread all over the league by the boss, who of all people should be the most closed-mouth about things like this. Where did he learn to “motivate” by making players mad at him? It just doesn’t work, in fact it will have a negative effect on the team morale and on the player’s performance. Of course, Cashman never played in the major leagues, did he. How would he know what builds up player ego and what tears it down.
Because his ego – and that of Hank and Hal Steinbrenner – got in the way when they had the chance to resign Joe Torre as manager of the Yankees – their most successful manager in fifty years – they lost Torre to LA. If Brian Cashman would read Joe’s book, Joe Torres Groundrules For Winners, he would understand how terrible he was when he maybe had a few too many drinks and opened up his little dark mind to the press on issues that should never go out there where people can pick them apart and where players can read them and cry.
Motivating players is and was one of the great things about Joe Torre. Here’s what he said about how he judged his players: “When I first come on a managerial job, or when new players join our team, I judge everyone from that day forward. Certain players come with baggage, but I try not to let it influence my dealings with them.
When Joe was traded from the Atlanta Braves to the St. Louis Cardinals in the spring of 1969, he felt he was carrying significant baggage. He had been a union leader. He developed a reputation that really wasn’t deserved. He was named team captain of the Cardinals and someone told him, “You know you’re really not a trouble maker.” Joe replied that he didn’t think he had ever been a trouble maker.
“I figured out that unfair rumors had been spread about me by Braves General Manager Paul Richards, perhaps as a further reason for their trading me. My own experience is one reason I don’t think managers should prejudge people.”
Here’s my suggestion to the Steinbrenners. Fire Cashman and hire Toree – yes, as general manager. He understands how to motivate players, and it isn’t by telling them “they are a step slower” or “you belong in the outfield,” when you’re speaking in a bar to some reporter. Cashman, you stink, to say it mildly.
Take a page out of Joe’s book and learn something, will you please.
Here’s a bit of the Bleacher Report to wet your chops on:
Cashman’s lips were just as loose at a fan breakfast in New York City hosted by WFAN radio personality Mike Francesa. He asked most of the questions, but fans got to ask some, too.
Francesa to Cashman: “How are you?”
Cashman: “I’d be better if I could get a starter.” […] “We’re one starter away from being a World Series contender.”
Cashman said Andy Pettitte(notes)
might be the starter, but Chamberlain apparently is not the guy: “No. He hasn’t been same since injury in TX.”
Later, a fan asked Cashman “what will happen” with Jeter, who recently signed a contract extension after an acrimonious negotiation. Cashman’s reply
“I’d be surprised if he plays SS for all 4 years. I see him moving to OF.”
Can of worms, meet opener. But, if Jeter’s defensive range continues to decline, the Yankees would be well-advised to move him somewhere.
It’s just … surprising to hear the Yankees’ GM come out and say it. It also might be a little something to motivate Jeter, to keep him trying to prove he can still play short.
Francesa also asked Cashman, point-blank, who was better right now: the Red Sox or Yankees?
: “Red Sox. But we have better bullpen.”
So, what’s up with Cashman? Not that he ever had the reputation for being super secretive, but he just seems awfully transparent right now. Hey, more fun for us. But why?
Cashman: “to be honest what can wear you out here in NY is the media coverage.”
That must be it. Well done, ladies and gentlemen of the press. You’ve worn down his defenses.