When Brian Cashman made all the player moves last month, many people thought the 2016 season was over.
How do you trade Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran to become a playoff contender? A month later, after all these moves were made, I sat down with the Yankees general manager to flat out ask him why he gave up on the season and he very confidently responded that he felt the Yankees could win with the young players he had.
Please enjoy the Q & A that I conducted with Brian on that day.
Ray Negron: Brian Cashman, you have probably lived one of the most intense weeks in Yankee history. Am I wrong when I say that?
Brian Cashman: It was busy, energetic and exciting. I think the results will pay off for this franchise for a long time.
RN: In my 44 years around you guys, I don’t remember a month when you went through so much from the standpoint of Chapman, Miller, Beltran, the aspect of bringing up the young kids. What kind of pressure were you living?
BC: Certainly a lot of heavy lifting conversations with the powers that be above. At the end of it, we were able to zig and zag, because we had some serious talent knocking on the door. It kind of reminded me back the winter of 1993, when we huddled with Gene Michael, the general manager at the time. We had a young Bernie Williams knocking on our door in center field. Roberto Kelly was in the big leagues. Would you trade a Roberto Kelly for a Paul O’Neill from the Reds? You had some depth in the system and you could rearrange.
We were able to trade a Beltran, because we had a young Gary Sanchez to come up and get some at bats. So there a lot of things that were in play here that made it beneficial for us to complete a lot of trades.
RN: The fact that you lived the George Steinbrenner/Gene Michael Era and the fact that you had men of that magnitude above you. Do you think that influenced you on how you went about your business now?
BC: No question. I do think I am in the unique situation that I have lived this general manager position for a long time and I learned as an understudy and an assistant for a lot of different general manager, who have been here under The Boss. There’s a lot of experience you can fall back on and learn from. You can do things your way, but you learned what you should do or could do based on the past. I did fall back on a lot of that stuff.
RN: Brian, the New York fans are getting excited with what we are seeing here with The Judge and the other players brought us. Is this what you were looking for?
BC: I think they should be excited. I think we have talent that could impact us that is hungry and deserving. That’s the biggest thing. Everybody has talent in every organization. But some more deserve than others. The crew we have on the come, these players are high end ability and deserving.
When I started in 1986 as an intern, the Bill Livesay and Brian Sabian and the architects of that ‘90s run that Gene Michael topped off with Bob Watson, it was Sabes with Bill Livesay. Those guys collected the Jeters, the Pettittes, the Riveras, and the Posadas. We had so much talent in the system. People forget Jay Buhner was a Yankee and Doug Drabek was a Yankee and Hal Morris and Carl Everett. We had so much talent and it played off in a big way in the ‘90s.
I think the current system we collected is approaching that type of level of a system. Hopefully we can ride that good young talent with some key free agents and trades to our benefit as we have done in the past.
RN: Girardi. How strong has he been in this situation?
BC: Joe and the staff have been great. I think from a baseball operations standpoint, I think everybody say a stagnant club that had been offensively not consistent in any way, shape or form. We needed to reset and thankfully with the leadership above with Hal Steinbrenner and his family, they were willing to do something that is not part of the DNA here and part of the fabric here, which is to fight another day, so to speak. They recognized we are closer to returning to the glory days now based on those tough decisions a few weeks ago. We have had a long successful competitive run. There are a lot of ways to climb that mountain, but I think we chose the right path.
RN: Last question. Do you see the Yankees making a run in September?
BC: We are on a run right now. The odds are against us, because there are so many teams in front of us. One thing, I don’t think any team, wants to play this team now. We are young and hungry. We have nothing to lose. I see opposing teams now in opposing dugouts, where they are expected to win and they are tight. Our guys are loose and having fun. We will see where it takes us. It could take us into the post season. That’s not out of the realm of possibility. But I say stay tuned.
RN: Brian Cashman, I love Frank Sinatra. I love his tune “That’s Life” and whenever I hear that song, I think of you.
BC: Hopefully, when you listen to that song, you will think of me for a long time. I want to stay in this thing to see that we get another ring down the line here, whether it’s in 2016 or sometime in the near future.