Monday, October 27, 2014

In 1992, the Yankees chose the wrong Brian

In 1986, then 30-year-old Brian Sabean - a successful former baseball coach at the University of Tampa - joined the Yankees as a front office lug nut. He scouted the likes of Mariano and Jeter, and helped build a team that eventually won four rings. In 1992, he moved to San Francisco to pull strings for the Giants, who had suffered losing records for five of the previous six seasons. Sabean has been there ever since.

In 1986, Brian Cashman - the ink yet to dry on his college diploma - joined the Yankee front office as an intern. He rose up the daisy chain. By 1998, Cashman had ascended to the job of Senior-Vice President and General Manager, replacing Bob Watson. Despite the lofty title, it was not until 2005, when he signed a three-year deal, that Cashman supposedly received supreme power in baseball decisions. Since then, it's been his organization to run.

In today's Gray Lady, Tyler Kepner - (who is not Tyler Clippard) - lays out Sabean's record. Some excerpts...

In an eight-year span in the last decade, the Giants drafted Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler (who was traded to the Mets for Carlos Beltran in 2011) in the first round. Other first-round picks have included catcher Buster Posey and second baseman Joe Panik...

The Giants’ front office, largely intact for almost two decades, built playoff teams in 1997, 2000, 2002 and 2003 without winning a title. The team failed to make the playoffs in Barry Bonds’s last four seasons, through 2007, but reinvented itself as the game evolved...

Every other year lately, the Giants have figured it out. They won championships in 2010 and 2012, acquiring critical pieces along the way. In 2010, Sabean and his staff added Pat Burrell, Javier Lopez and Cody Ross. Two years later, they picked up Marco Scutaro and Hunter Pence.

This season, after Cain’s season-ending elbow injury, the Giants traded for Jake Peavy, who had been 1-9 for Boston. With Scutaro injured, they resisted trading for a second baseman and turned to Panik, whose strike zone discipline in the minors predicted success in the majors.

Kepner doesn't mention Brian Cashman because - well - why would he? But within the heated Hell of the Yankiverse, it's hard not to wonder about the Brian not taken.

Of course, it's hard to judge Brian Cashman's performance with the Yankees, because, at the root of everything, a Steinbrenner is a Steinbrenner - the baseball synonym for "serial meddler." When Kei Igawa comes up for bids, the Boss wants him, and Cashman complies - presumably bent-over and yelping, "Thank you, sir, may I have another!" You never know who botched a trade, and Cashman never tells - which is probably why he's perched on another three year ride.

But if you look at a tale of two cities, it's clear which Brian has won the day.

1 comment:

Rose City Wobblies said...

Thanks for the ticker of a history lesson - Duque. Tom Verducci wrote the following in the Sports Illustrated issue after the 2010 World Series ....

“If [Giants general manager Brian] Sabean bore the look of a proud papa, it was because the World Series became a graduation ceremony for his young pitchers. In every game this postseason San Francisco sent out a starter who was signed and developed by the organization [Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Jonathon Sanchez] and was no older than 27. No other team had ever pulled off such a feat since the draft was instituted in 1965. To find that many homegrown starters in a World Series that young, you have to go back to 1956, when the Yankees started Whitey Ford, Dan Larsen, Tom Sturdivant, Bob Turley and Johnny Kucks. During the postseason the Giants were slump-proof because of that rotation. They never lost two games in a row, and the starters’ ERA in four games following a defeat was 1.11.”

What Verducci and others went on to acknowledge was not only were the four starters developed - but so were the World Champion's battery mates of All stars - catcher Buster Posey and Closer Brian Wilson... and than subsequent closer - Sergio Romo. Eleven of the 25 from that team are still rostered on the 2014 squad as has the entire coaching staff remained - now 5 seasons later.

(Just saying ......)