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Cashman Should Have Left Vazquez in the National League

Every general manager makes mistakes.  To Brian Cashman‘s credit, he has made very few over the years.  When he has, he hasn’t been shy about defending his manager and taking the blame for the New York Yankees’ struggles.  Fortunately for Cashman, Phil Hughes is currently the best starter in the American League with a 1.38 ERA, which has been good enough to cover up the Yankees’ General Manager’s mistake of the 2009-2010 off-season — bringing back Javier Vazquez.

I suppose to a certain extent I understand Cashman’s motivation for taking the risk of bringing back a pitcher who was — to say the least — shelled quite often as a starter for the Yankees in 2004 when he posted an ERA just under 5.00.  The Yankees went into the off-season short on starting pitching, and if nothing else Vazquez has been a workhorse throughout his career, making over 30 starts every season since 2000.  Cashman probably looked at it as a situation where the Yankees would improve their staff if they could get over 200 innings from him, and that’s not a bad way to approach a lack of starting pitching.  However, that doesn’t appear to be a realistic goal for the right-hander at this point.

Maybe Vazquez is a National League pitcher.  Maybe he has a confidence issue.  Realistically, both of those factors have probably lead to a 2010 season that is off to a disastrous start — a 1-4 record with an 8.10 ERA to be more specific.  With the exception of 2007 — when he was 15-8 with a 3.74 ERA for the Chicago White Sox — Vazquez has not been overly effective in the American League.  He was never what I would call a “lights out” pitcher until last season with the Braves, when he posted a 15-10 record with an ERA of 2.87.  It was no doubt that performance that inspired Cashman to give Vazquez another shot in pinstripes.

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Greatest Picture Ever

The man on the right (in case you couldn’t tell since the sunglasses on his face covered up the jelly donuts under his eyes), is Yankees GM Brian Cashman. The gentleman on the left is … well nobody cares. But his shirt is hilarious, he’s got a shite-eating grin on, and it makes this picture a classic. I started busting up uncontrollably when I saw it. Big ups to Deadspin (of course) for the picture. I mean, who else would get something that great?

Did Brian Cashman Want Jason Giambi to Go Back on Steroids?

I know Jason Giambi and Brian Cashman won’t ever mention the word, so I will — steroids. Jeff Pearlman has written a book about Roger Clemens called “The Rocket that Fell to Earth,” and in that book there was a good anecdote about Yankees GM Brian Cashman and his thoughts on Jason Giambi, a free agent he signed to a 7-year $120 million deal prior to the ’02 season. According to the NY Times:

The book said that when Giambi went through a slump in the 2002 season, his first with the Yankees, Cashman was heard yelling at a television in the Yankees’ clubhouse during a game. Citing “one New York player,” the book said that Cashman screamed, “Jason, whatever you were taking in Oakland,” get back on it.

The book said that Cashman then added, “Please!”

Cashman denies ever making that statement while Pearlman says he has 100% confidence in the source that told him the story. I might have a question or two about this story because ’02 was Giambi’s only true excellent season with the Yanks. But I feel bad for Cashman in the sense that he paid for a guy whose productivity was achieved through false means. I think that GMs were in a tough spot to judge talent all throughout the era and that they got screwed over by players. If guys got their contracts because they were juicing and then later went off, they were selling teams a bum product. I can’t blame a GM for wanting to see the player produce like he had before and therefore understand Cashman’s predicament if this is a true story. Would it even be possible for teams to sue players who tested positive? I’d love to see the Angels recoup some of that Gary Matthews Jr. money without a doubt.

Brian Cashman Takes the Blame for Failure, Preparing for a New Job?

Nobody ever accused Yankees GM Brian Cashman of deflecting blame; he’s always been a stand up guy. There was the time in Buster Olney’s book where it’s said Cashman wanted to sign Vlad but Steinbrenner insisted upon Sheffield, but aside from that, Cashman takes responsibility for everything. So much so, that he straight up took all the blame for the Yankees’ failures this season and protected manager Joe Girardi.

Asked how much of this is on his shoulders, Cashman said: “All of it. I’m the general manager. So if you want, we can clear this out of the way. This is not a Joe Girardi issue.”

“I think Girardi’s done a tremendous job given what has occurred,” Cashman said. “And he continues to try to remain upbeat with this coaching staff to try to keep these players up and to try to perform up to their abilities.

“That’s frustrating for all of us, but the buck stops right here with me. My job is to put it together. My job is to fix what’s broken. … I just believe we’re better than this.”

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