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Brian Cashman: don't be pennywise and pound foolish in free agency

Jul 6, 2010, 9:30 AM EDT

Brian Cashman says it's OK to overpay

I saw this over at IIATMS (note: click there to see a fun pic of LeBron James in a Knicks uniform if that’s your kind of thing).  It’s a quote from Brian Cashman about his philosophy in free agency. After basically admitting that he overpayed for CC Sabathia because the Yankees really needed him, he says:

“You don’t get a gold star for saving
money on a deal; your goal is to win championships,”Cashman said. “You can’t enter the free-agent market as a buyer hoping to beat the other teams by one dollar. You can’t mess around and lose the player.”

On one level he’s absolutely right.  The goal is to win and to win you need to put together a good team and to do that you have to draw up and carry out a plan.  Want that player? Get that player!

On another level, however, this is kind of obnoxious, coming as it does from a guy who works for a team with practically no financial restraints.  That’s not a slam on Cashman — he’s just following orders — but hearing the Yankees’ representative talk about how money should not be an impediment to conquering the free agent market is not unlike hearing some blue blood talk about how you really should send your kid to Choate if you want him to make something of himself.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 6, 2010 at 9:46 AM

    Is there any other reaction to have to a smug-assed Brian Cashman telling everyone that the goal is to win championships, not save money, except for 3 words…”F U A-Hole”?

  2. YankeesfanLen - Jul 6, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    Just another little thing to keep the whiners well-fed. Maybe the Universe will sign and retain Cliff Lee, just for jollies.

  3. nps6724 - Jul 6, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    This is kinda like a skinny person telling a fatty how easy it is to just stop eating so much.

  4. Wooden U Lykteneau - Jul 6, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    The problem with Yankee fans is they can’t look themselves in the mirror — there’s no reflection!

  5. DG1965 - Jul 6, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    What’s worse than this is that because of their bought-and-paid-for 2009 championship, Cashman now thinks that he’s some great GM and that whoever refused to give him credit for taking over a championship roster when he was hired can now blow it out their ear. The man writes checks on someone else’s bank without restraint and thinks he’s a great GM.
    And before you bitch about calling it a bought-and-paid-for championship, tell me, Yankee fans, do they win in 2009 without all that money it took to add the top two starters and the top position player? Yeah, I thought so.

  6. Jonny5 - Jul 6, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    Cashman turns a profit even when he poops.

  7. NYCBaseball - Jul 6, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    First of all DG, there is NO SUCH THING as a “bought and paid for championship” – guess what, genius?? You still have to play the 162 game schedule REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOUR PAYROLL IS. And payroll doesn’t guarantee ANYTHING. The fact that the Yankees have one only 1 WS since 2000 proves that. Instead of hating on the Yankees, why don’t you turn that hatred to YOUR MLB TEAM’S GM and bang on him to sign some talent with all the luxury tax/revenue sharing $$$ he’s pocketing from the Yankees.

  8. nps6724 - Jul 6, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    Let me preface this by saying I hate the Yankees’ philosophy in terms of what it does to competitiveness, but I understand it and I would probably love it if I were a Yankee fan, but I don’t begrudge them because they do what it takes to win.

    Payroll alone won’t win you anything, but when you can use that payroll to add an elite SP and an elite 1B to go along with your elite 3B and elite SS and elite closer, all who command the cost of a medium-sized third-world country, it makes it a ton easier. It’s true that paying a lot for something doesn’t guarantee it’ll be worth that price, but there’s a big difference between how the Yankees overpay and how lower teams do.

    Lower teams have to overpay for mediocre players because either A) they can’t afford the exorbitant price of top-notch players (partially due to the Yanks being able to overpay top players) or B) the Yankees have already signed the top players for top dollar, which sets the market for the other players.

    Of course you still have to play the games, but it’s much easier to win with Rodriguez, Jeter, Teixeira, Sabathia, and Rivera (not to mention all the other 2nd-tier players they can afford on top of these guys) than without them.

  9. RoyHobbs - Jul 6, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Ahhhh….the go-to Yankee apologist’s revenue-sharing argument. That’s right, the Pirates, Royals, and Brewers can take their $750,000 share of the payroll tax and sign the equivalant of 1/100 of the Yankees infield. What a bunch of cheapskates! Reason #165 to hate obnoxious Yankees fans…

  10. Utley's hair - Jul 6, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    “First of all DG, there is NO SUCH THING as a “bought and paid for championship” – guess what, genius?? You still have to play the 162 game schedule REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOUR PAYROLL IS. And payroll doesn’t guarantee ANYTHING. The fact that the Yankees have one only 1 WS since 2000 proves that.”

    “…only 1 WS since 2000…”–You gotta love the jaded Yanker fan (and BTW, it’s WON, not ONE)

    And just because it took a decade for the transaction to process, does NOT mean that the title wasn’t bought and paid for. All that does is call into question the judgment of the front office, AND bolster the argument that they did buy the championship.

    Before anybody jumps on the Phightins’ recent payroll splurge, they spent very little under Bill Giles, and their decade and a half of less than mediocrity speaks for itself. Also, my happiness at their success does not demonstrate an acceptance of busting the bank for another shot at the gold-plated Wankers.

  11. Md23Rewls - Jul 6, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    It doesn’t help that the Pirates and Royals have completely incompetent management. The reason that Pittsburgh hasn’t won in twenty years isn’t because of the Yankees.
    If you really truly care about payroll disparity, you would complain about baseball’s lack of a salary cap, rather than just complaining about the team that is synonymous with it. It’s like if you wreck your car and then complain that the radio doesn’t work anymore. Well, yeah it doesn’t work, but the radio’s not the problem–the car is. So don’t complain about the Yankees, who are doing absolutely nothing against the rules. Complain about the system that allows them to do what they do.
    As for “buying a championship,” the Yankees lowered their payroll the off-season they signed Sabathia and co.. **shrug** I can understand fans of other teams being bitter, I guess. It just seems to me that there are a million ways to approach the issue, and the least interesting and least engaging way is to start whining. Saying, “The Yankees buy championships! They suck!” is an absurdly basic way to look at things. Nothing in the universe is so simple.

  12. DG1965 - Jul 6, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    Still waiting to hear the answer, Mr. NYC:
    Do the Yankees win in 2009 if they don’t spend $423 million dollars on Sabathia, Burnett and Mr. Leigh Teixeira? Simple yes or no. At best it might be “perhaps” but did the odds not increase exponentially when they spent all that money? And when those three, plus their highest-paid-in-the-game 3B, SS, closer, etc. started playing to their level, the Yankees took off and then coasted through the post-season.

  13. Md23Rewls - Jul 6, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    The reason they “spent all that money” was that they had a bunch of money coming off the books. It’s not like they just went crazy. They cut spending. Again, payroll was lowered that off-season, even with the three signings.
    Would New York have won without some of those players? They probably would have had a good shot, but I don’t work in a hypothetical universe, so I wouldn’t know. And if New York hadn’t have signed them, then Sabathia probably goes to Los Angeles, Teixeira to Boston, and Burnett to Atlanta, and you would have ended up with a Boston-Los Angeles World Series, in which case there would be an alternate thread here today about Theo Epstein and you’d have a bunch of people saying that Boston had bought a championship. Somebody’s always going to “buy” it. There hasn’t ever been a charity team playing without a payroll.
    The Yankees are where they are because they make good trades, spend their money smartly, and have had success through their farm system. People emphasize the middle part of the equation (spending), but without the other two, it wouldn’t matter.

  14. nps6724 - Jul 6, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    If they couldn’t spend the way they do, they would be without 3/4 of their infield easily. Without the spending, Jeter doesn’t stay in New York, A-Rod doesn’t re-sign, Tex never even makes a visit, and Rivera would’ve moved on. Good trades and a successful farm is a great way to build, but if you don’t have the money to retain those top players once they can hit FA, it doesn’t matter much. Where other teams trade away good players as they near the end of their arbitration years, the Yankees never have to worry about that.

  15. aschwartz - Jul 7, 2010 at 12:16 AM

    The only reason payroll went down was because the crazy Giambi numbers came off the books.

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