Saturday, October 20, 2012

Yankeetorial: Forget the debates about Joba and Chris Dickerson, folks. Housecleaning has to start at the top

Minutes after our latest national embarrassment became official, the Yankiverse began buzzing over whether Swish will return, or who will close next year if Soriano flees - the usual talk radio crapola. The fans began pieing A-Rod, designated lynchpin to the two worst collapses in Yankee history, but let's look closer, folks, because there's somebody else here, too. Nope, not Jeet or Mo. He's the guy behind the curtain, the one we're always grateful to have.

He may be the worst straight-up GM trader in modern baseball history. Quick: Tell me a deal where we won? (The Swisher-Betemit example is getting stale.) His only world championship came after writing the largest stimulus checks for free agents in history. His personal foibles have landed him on the back pages - quick: tell me what other franchise would keep a guy after that? - and his investment in certain players - hello, Curtis; hello, Pineda - limits his ability to make the changes that must be done.

It hurts to write this, because I like Brian Cashman. Everybody does. He got a raw deal on the tabloid grist - though he brought it on himself - and I remember when he represented the lone voice of objectivity during the Tartabull/Mel Hall madness days of King George. But Cash needs to get out of New York - just to save his soul. He needs to go to another team, to escape the shadow of the Steinbrenners and the obscene, wasteful payroll.

And the Yankees need him to go, too.

The Baltimore Orioles went 16 years in turmoil. Then one day, Buck Showalter arrived. The Redsocks changed when John Henry bought them and cleaned out the country-clubbers. The Yankees need a similar turnaround. It doesn't start with Chris Dickerson. It starts at the top.

Did you see the rightfielder for Detroit? He's 21. They gunned him through the system and stuck him in the lineup - a better lineup than ours. Look at the youth sprinkled through San Francisco and St. Louis. Our farm system this year gave us next to nothing. David Phelps is 25, as is Cody Epply - whom we signed off the scrap heap. That's it. That's all we got this year. And that's all we likely can expect next year, until maybe September when the coffees are being distributed.

Folks, that's an organizational collapse on par with the batting order's October.

Folks, the trade of Jesus Montero represents a management collapse on par with the batting order's October.

Folks, the Grandy deal, the Tyler Clippard giveaway, all of these trades that went south on us, and will continue for the next decade, they represent an administrative collapse on par with the team's October.

We need a new guy at the top. And just such a person is out there.

Tony LaRussa built the St. Louis Cardinals. His managing days are over. His life and his baseball career are not. This is a quintessential GM - law school degree, everything -  just waiting to be called, courted and brought to New York. Yeah, he might say no. Who knows? I certainly don't. But then again, he might say yes. Tony LaRussa would be our Buck Showalter - GM, not manager - and he bring to the Yankees an entirely new culture.

Because the one we have now is guaranteed to collapse. Again and again.

Well, OK, I take it back. We can run out and sign the top three free agents, like we did in winter 2008-09, and bludgeon our way to a championship. But then we'll pay for it in long-range contracts. 

I mention Tony LaRussa because he is clearly competent. But he's not the only one. The Yankiverse seems to think Brian Cashman is the only fish out there. This is ridiculous. The great teams of 1995-2000 were developed by Bob Watson and Gene Michael. There are baseball men out there who can restore this franchise. Just because Cash is loved by the sportswriters - he is a straight shooter who seems to return calls - does not mean he should get a free pass from them. 

In another city, say San Diego or Houston, Cashman could restore his reputation and his life. He needs a change of scenery.

And we need somebody new at the top.


Tom from GA said...

Oh, come on. Signing Tony LaRussa now would be the equivalent of stealing Johnny Keane away from the Cardinals after the '64 failure. And he would have less impact as GM than as manager. There is nothing to be done here but try and build a new foundation from the bottom up. Better draft picks, better player development, more willingness to bring kids up and let them play. The Yankee-Redsock model of the past 15 years has been displaced. Yes, Detroit bought Cabrera and Fielder, but the core of their team, the reason they beat us, is a stingy starting staff that was home grown.
Cashman does need to go, but the only way to get rid of the overpriced flameouts who used to be good is to let their contracts expire. They won't quit without getting paid. But Tony LaRussa is so far from being the answer that I'm amazed you would suggest it. Seems to run counter to everything you talk about.

el duque said...

LaRussa is just one example of a baseball guy with a track record. There are others out there. We need to move beyond the notion that Cashman is some great GM success that we can't afford to lose. The team is in shambles - and organizationally, it's been that way all year.

I'm Bill White said...

"We never feel sorry for ourselves and never make excuses."

~Hank Steinbrenner

Alphonso said...

Note to Hank Steinbrenner;

You are the one who panicked an re-signed A-Rod to the worst contract in the history of contracts. We now have a useless gigolo who costs us $25 million per year for another five years. And due to your greed and incompetence ( the only thing you ever did was get born ), the Yankees can't spend more than $187million per year, or you lose $a few million to the salary cap. Need another car? Mansion? Yacht? Plane?

So the excuse I make is ' " you are a useless fuck." And I feel sorry for us because you were born.

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