Sunday, February 21, 2021

This is the year that Cashman's vaunted farm system goes on trial

For about 10 years now, Hal Steinbrenner has moaned about MLB luxury taxes, while vowing to finance a strong and vibrant Yankee organization. The man we call "Food Stamps" pushed one simple mantra: 

You don't need the highest payroll to field the best team. 

What you need is smart management. 

Under Brian Cashman - a technician and career insider, whose specialty was in finding low-cost investments - the Yankees always contended, but never won. 

It's been 11 years since the Bronx hosted a world series, the longest drought in franchise history.

Longest drought in franchise history. 

This summer, we will learn just how well Cashman's organization works. 

In 2020, the Yankees - like everyone - consolidated their upper-tier talent into one location: Scranton, PA. There, a brain trust of trainers, coaches, tutors, gurus, nutritionists, healers, mentors, shrinks, hypnotists, acupuncturists, masseurs, sex therapists and epidemiologists worked with about 50 players. Meanwhile, the Tampa facilities hosted younger prospects, who played fake games against each other. Teachable moments, every day, without the taint of other, less efficient organizations.

Though the Tampa Rays developed more shovel-ready talent - their youngsters carried them to the world series - they had started with more Triple A players, on the cusp of the majors. Our top prospects were said to be in the low minors. Thus, in developing talent, we couldn't effectively measure the two systems.

That's about to change. This summer, the minor leagues will restart, and we will once again receive a daily read on how well the Yankees develop players. Will our top prospects - after a year of independent instruction in our vasty superior organization - dominate those from other teams? Will we keep pace? Will we, gulp, fall behind?

This summer, the system that Hal financed - and Cashman built - goes on trial. 

This will be one of the most interesting things to watch in 2021. I can't wait.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fact-checking quibble: Yankees missed out on World Series from 1905 through 1920, 16 straight seasons. Also, missed out from 1982 through 1995, 13 straight seasons. And from 1965 through 1975, 11 straight seasons, tying the current drought.

The decade of the 2010s has the distinction of being the only one without a WS appearance, perhaps confusing the issue.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Good point, Anon. Though actually that opening drought should be 17 years, 1903-1920, with no series in 1904—in good part BECAUSE it looked like the Yankees might be in it. And of course, there were no World Series appearances in the 1900s, or the 1910s, either.

In those days, the team was mostly owned by a gambler and maybe the most corrupt NYC police commissioner ever. What's Brian Cashman's excuse?

So, for now Brain is only tied for the third worst drought. He'll break that tie this season, though, and if he lasts in his job long enough, I predict the record will be his!