Wednesday, April 14, 2021

In Jameson Taillon, did Cashman miss again?

Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman became GM of the Yankees in 1998, arguably their greatest year ever. They won 114 games, blitzed the playoffs and swept the Padres in the Series. Heckova start, though that wondrous team came courtesy of Bob Watson. 

Over Cashman's 23-year reign, they have won three world championships, one less than arch rival Boston. (The SF Giants also have three.) 

Over that time, Cashman has relentlessly chased what he calls his "white whale," the ace pitcher who'd lead teams to October glory. In trade after trade, he sought pitchers on the verge of greatness, who could reach Cy Young status with the Yankees. In trade after trade, he gave up prospects, sometimes draining the farm. 

I shall now do something that brings me stomach discomfort and lower back pain. 

I will list Cashman's white whales - the prospective aces he acquired in trades.

Denny Neagle (2000)
Jeff Weaver (2002)
Javier Vazquez (2004)
Kevin Brown (2004)
Corey Lidle (2006)
Javier Vazquez (2010)
Michael Pineda (2014)
Nathan Eovaldi (2015)
Sonny Gray (2017)
J.A. Happ (2018)
James Paxton (2019)
Jameson Taillon (2021)

This list does not include free agents - Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa, et al - names that curdle the blood of Yank fans. 

Life is too short. 

And to be fair, it's too soon to list Jameson Taillon as a Cashman Clunker.  But last night, in his second start, he clanked. 
Taillon didn't survive the fourth, giving up five earned runs. Later, he vowed to make adjustments. Good. 

But over the years, whenever Cash has gone hunting for a white whale, he returned with a harpoon in his neck. And it's why we haven't seen a world series in 12 years.

To be fair, it's hard to land an ace. No GM will trade one without demanding a tanker truck of blood - and especially to a NY team, where the ghost of Dick Young will  mock you throughout eternity. That's why some Yank fans - well, maybe most - hide under their couches when Cash hits the trade market. We've come to fear the worst.

The Yankees have no real options, aside from letting Taillon make his adjustments. But if you were a Reddit stock trader, based on Cashman's record, you'd be wise to go short on Taillon. And that's why - even though it's only April - it's worth worrying.


mik said...

Captain Ahab remains forever damned by the goal he won't let go of yet will never reach. Groundhog Day a metaphor for a day that will never end.

Is Punxsutawney the new Bronx? Is Cashman the new Captain Ahab?

Are we the fools, I mean fans, who keep expecting Ahab, I mean Cashman to suddenly change his approach?

I don't even like to fish!

Anonymous said...

According to your list 2016 was the only year in the last eight that Cashman did not go big-game hunting. Of course he received widespread praise that season for fleecing the Cubs and Indians and restocking the farm system. Immediately after the Cleveland deal, though, ESPN questioned the future of both Frazier and Justus Sheffield. The Yankees missed Andrew Miller (probably their best reliever since Rivera) in the 2017 and 2018 playoffs. Also, his absence "forced" NY to resign Chapman. We're still waiting for the deals to bear fruit. Both Torres and Frazier have huge holes in their games (defense/base running) and are klutzes who can't avoid stupid injuries.


Celerino Sanchez said...

I know times are tough for Cashman & the Yankees, $200 million just doesn't buy what it use to. But how does a team go into a season with 3 starters that have not pitched in 2 years. Best case scenario is they'd give you 400-450 innings. I understand taking a chance on Kluber or Tallion (the Stallion) but both is just stupid. Then you expect them to be your #2 & #3 starters? How Cashman stills has a job is beyond me. Did you notice that Sheffield pitched 6 innings and won yesterday, but when you have a chance to get Big Game James Paxton, well I guess you have to go for it. Right now I hope this team just out right sucks and then maybe Hal will have to get rid of HOF Cashman and his 1 WS ring.

Anonymous said...

It sure seems to me that both Taillon and Kluber do not match up well against the Tampons or Toronto. We'll have to wait another start or two, but if these guys keep getting taken out to the woodshed, I'd say it sure looks like another bust. The Brain missed with both barrels of this double rifle.

The Brain's search for Moby Dick did end in the winter of 2019 when he snared Gerrit Cole. Having an ace doesn't mean you automatically win in the postseason, though. As the Yankees had in past years won games and playoff series against other team's ace pitchers, the Tampons did the same to us last year. Your own pitcher and your bullpen, if he and they are good enough, allow you to hang in there against a great pitcher, and your lineup, if it's good enough, finds a way to score a run or two and win the game and the series. One ace pitcher doesn't mean a whole lot if the rest of the rotation is ragged.

Concerning our bullpen, so far, I'd have to say our relief pitching has been much better than I'd thought it would be. The biggest reason we're losing games right now is our lousy lineup and infield defense and three fifths of the rotation (Taillon, Kluber and German) haven't gotten the job done.

The Hammer of God

DickAllen said...

Even after last night's shit show, I woke up this morning feeling pretty good about the world and then I read this inspiring post.

I think I'll schedule a colonoscopy.

TheWinWarblist said...

Do not forget the mayonnaise, Dick.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Over the years I've found a lot of M&Ms, discarded invoices, dust bunnies, and one $20 bill under my couch.

So Brian has performed, in my eyes, a public service. Repeatedly.

Anonymous said...

Where's Tanaka?

JM said...

Cashman is not the only problem. The owner, the front office in general, Moneyball, the coaching staff, the conditioning staff and probably the Babe's steam cabinet all have to go. This is a systemic organization problem, and it will continue until the company culture changes.

Hi, I'm from McKinsey. That will be $700,000, please.

Anonymous said...

Allow me to take Brain's side (only for a moment) and commence

Defending the Indefensible...

(NOTE: If I had a law firm and an advertising budget I'm thinking this would be my tag line.

"Did you do it? Was it big enough to make everybody want to puke? At
K-Law we specialize in Defending the Indefensible." First client Matt Gaetz...)

But I digress...

If you look at the list two things are clear

a) At least he tries. And...

b) He gave up no one of value and sometimes got good value.

1) Denny Neagle (2000) - Drew Henson, Jackson Melián and Ed Yarnall

2) Jeff Weaver (2002) - Ted Lily (to be fair Lily was a nice/good pitcher at times.

3) Javier Vazquez (2004)- Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera and Randy Choate

4) Kevin Brown (2004) - Jeff Weaver, Yhency Brazoban, Brandon Weeden, and cash.

5) Corey Lidle (2006) C.J. Henry, Matt Smith. Jesus Sanchez, Carlos Monasterios (Plus we got Bobby Abreu which was a big win for us)

6) Javier Vazquez (2010) - Melky Cabrera, cash and prospects Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino.

7) Michael Pineda (2014) - Ice Cream Sandwich. Lose/lose

8) Nathan Eovaldi (2015)- Nathan Eovaldi, Domingo German, and Garrett Jones to the New York Yankees for David Phelps, Martin Prado, and cash.

So we got German as well. I'll leave it to the informed readership of this board to parse that one.

9) Sonny Gray (2017) - Mateo, pitcher James Kaprielian, and outfielder Dustin Fowler

10) J.A. Happ (2018) - Brandon Drury and OF Billy McKinney

11) James Paxton (2019) - Justus Sheffield. Erik Swanson Dom Thompson-Williams Maybe Sheffield is good but not yet.

12) Jameson Taillon (2021) - Miguel Yajure, Roansy Contreras, Maikol Escotto, and Canaan Smith. I don't know. It's too soon.

So the trades themselves were good attempts with out giving up anyone one of note.

What wasn't good was the collective failure of the pitchers they got...

Which takes me to the crux of the biscuit


Verlander and Cliff Lee come to mind as difference makers that Brain failed to get despite being in talks.

So it's not that he makes bad trades for pitchers. It's that he fails to make good ones.

The defense rests.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

You're being more than generous, Peerless Leader. The previous regime also built the core of every other Yankee champion since 1998.

And don't forget the other two parts of the Blessed Trinity, Gene Michael and Buck Showalter. God in three persons...

HoraceClarke66 said...

Also, don't forget Jared Wright.

Or how Brain time and again went for the wrong man: spurning Justin Verlander for Sonny Gray, refusing to so much as consider the likes of Max Scherzer, Yu Darvish, Dallas Keuchel, or Charlie Morton when they were free agents.

Even guys whose long-term contracts may prove to be a bust—such as Patrick Corbin—might well have provided us with a ring if acquired in the right year. It's quite conceivable that Corbin's 14-7, 3.25 in 2019 might have got us over the top that year. Instead, he drank his champagne in Washington.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Thanks for playing devil's advocate, Doug.

But even in your examples, Brain's shortcomings shine through.

For instance, we had Ed Yarnall to trade because he was sure that Drew Henson was the 3B of the future—not Mike Lowell, who was traded for Yarnall and 3 other pitchers, all of whom flopped.

Johnson, Rivera, and Choate all became decent role players elsewhere. Vazquez flopped—and then Cashie brought him back!
We had to get Brown because Brain had let Clemens, Pettitte, and Wells walk off the team as free agents.

Again and again, we're talking useful role players here. Brazoban didn't have much of a career—but his 6-2, 2.48 in 2004 indicated that he might have been the reliever who got us through the horror of the 2004 ALCS. (Plus, greatest first name ever.) Melky, Dunn, and Vizcaino all had their moments elsewhere—so did Phelps and Prado.

But then, Brain NEVER sufficiently values bullpen arms or useful subs. He will prove that again this season.

el duque said...

Doug K,

Thanks for doing the extra research.

Look... Cashman is no fool. When he makes trades - even bad ones - there is always a rationality to them. He hasn't done a Jay Buehner/Ken Phelps deal. (Even his worst deal - giving up Mike Lowell - was because we had Scott Brosius at 3B and thought four young pitchers for him was a good idea. They all bombed. Who knew?)

Overall, though, there is only ONE way to measure his success: Championships.

Since he took over, we have three. Not bad, tied for second.

Trouble is, on Cashman's watch, Boston is the most successful team in baseball. That must end.

Anonymous said...

Hoss and Duque,

Couldn't agree more. He's not a good GM.

Boston is leading the division. I hope it's just the Charles Barkley idea that early in the season bad teams don't know they are bad yet.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

No, Duque, he really thought Drew Henson was the 3B of the future. The young English grad student then writing sports for the Village Voice knew he wasn't. She was right!

And really, the 1998-2000 teams were not Cashie's. 2009 barely was.

No, he doesn't make impulsive, "Madness of King George" moves. But considering all the advantages he's had—years and years of not having to pay attention to spending limits when everyone else did—he's a truly awful GM.

Anonymous said...

duque--can't believe you've outed yourself as a Cashman shill. Cashman's first two world championships were the fruit of a core developed by Showalter and Michael. The only subsequent one--2009--resulted from a one-off quarter-billion-dollar spending spree that yielded one trophy and many subsequent years of declining returns on the costly contracts of aging players. What Cashman has never done--and never will be able to do--is develop a young dynamic athletic core of the kind that powered the Yankee Dynasty of the late nineties and early aughts. Cashman is a dolt, a time-serving nepotism hire who has produced exactly zero championships. He has had ample opportunities to build teams based solely on talent that he has developed but has repeatedly vailed--and this abysmal record with the most lavish resources in baseball--one World Series appearance in the past twenty years. He's a dunce, and I'm afraid the same hold true for anyone who defends him. Please spare us your specious organization-man PR and confine yourself to puckish jottings on the ineffable cuteness and lovability of your other incompetent pet rock, John Sterling.

Anonymous said...

HC66 -- No madness? Then what do you call a trade for a proven bust like Odor while exiling Wade, a young player with an equal or superior skill set (also a left-handed bat)?

Oasisdave said...

It's the same old rinse & repeat for Cashman and the Yankees. Weak farm system, panning for gold from the injury pile, thinking the Kracken will re-awaken, and praying Judge and Stanton will stay healthy and not kill rallies too often with K's and HIDP. This teams going nowhere and quite possibly very fast. As much as I loathe the Dodgers Cheapskate Hal might want to take a close look at how they are run if he ever wants the Yankees to be relevant again.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

Please spare us your specious organization-man PR and confine yourself to puckish jottings on the ineffable cuteness and lovability of your other incompetent pet rock, John Sterling.

It's always nice when Stat-Boy pays all us know-nothings a visit. I look forward to these outbursts almost as much as the periodic appearances of Dr. Odu.

And Halley's Comet.

HoraceClarke66 said...

That's pretty much it in a nutshell, Dave of the Oasis.

Almost every team these days is hoping that something goes right to make them a contender. The Yanks are merely hoping that almost everything works out. The whole team is built on a wing and a prayer.

Anonymous said...

Hey Local Bargain Jerk--with the emphasis on JERK--can you point to a stat in my post, even the antedeluvian stats that you and other fogeys rely on even as you deride "stats"? Go on . . . waiting . . . LB JERK.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Oasisdave--right on the money.

Der Kaiser said...

Doesn't Randy Johnson belong on this list? That trade irks me to this day.

Kevin said...

IMHO, the only way to save this, and subsequent seasons is to make a creative trade beginning with Torres. Torres, and Sanchez are not "winning " ballplayers. Both are asleep at the worst times, and seem unable to adjust their play according to the opposing player and situation. Torres forces Boone to contort the infield displacing everyone. BTW it should be noted that the Yankees infield must have the slowest foot speed in MLB.

The team is mediocre up the middle and has a young an imploding rotation. Until, and unless Cashman is able to play three dimensional chess in remaking the team we are looking to be akin to R oed Sox teams back in the good old days.

PS, what happened to all those "young and athletic players who came from the farm? And power arms in the minors? And all the up the middle talent which has been drafted over the past two decades? And what has happened with the tens millions spent on Latin American kids? Better arrange for shock therapy when you realize that The Martian has to actually play against men who face going back to the fields, and don't have five million already banked. Well, I hope that this miserable team play shows me up as a nervous Nellie. But for now, " Don't go jivin me with your cosmic debris ".

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