Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why So Candid?

(No, that's not Cash)

The Yankee blogosphere and their comments sections have been abuzz after reports started coming out about Cash's comments at yesterday's WFAN breakfast, particularly the ones about Jeter moving to center field and Joba no longer being a starter option because of his 2008 injury.  From yesterday afternoon into yesterday night, I noticed the topic of conversation shifting from Cash's comments themselves to why Cash was even commenting at all.  This morning, Steve S. of TYU, set the record straight on a lot of Cash's comments by discussing them in the context in which they were said, which he knew because he actually attended (something many of us did not do).  I would invite everybody to read that post because there's a ton of other interesting points in there beyond Jeter and Joba, but on the topic of Cash and his sudden willingness to open up in the media, this statement by "T.O. Chris" in the comments section really stood out to me:

"I agree with all this and add that I think Brian is finally feeling like a man who has taken over his fathers business in a since after simply running it for/with him, he has come out of his shell more so to speak, by that I mean he isn’t as guarded with what he reveals to the media and he seems to operate in a manner that says he doesn’t really care what the media says about him or the Yankee brand so long as he knows everything is being taken care of unlike in the past when the Boss seemed to take things a little more personal." (courtesy of TYU)

To everybody out there who thinks Cash should shut up, or thinks he's trying to get fired, or thinks that his being open and honest is a sign that he's not coming back after this season, read that comment, think about it, understand it, and then calm the fuck down.

Brian Cashman has been the Yankee organization for a long time.  He's been a part of building multiple World Series-winning teams.  His track record speaks for itself.  He has shown himself to be a pretty smart dude over the years and now recognizes that he doesn't have to tip-toe around the media for fear of the Big Bad Boss bringing the hammer down on him for some comment he read in the NY Post.  It's no secret that George Steinbrenner thought himself a baseball man (even though he wasn't) and history is littered with stories of guys who were verbally assraped by The Boss, so from Cash's perspective, why bother putting yourself through that headache if you don't have to?

Hank and Hal, on the other hand, don't seem to fashion themselves as big baseball men.  They carry the same passion for winning that George had, but don't feel the need to be involved in EVERYTHING.  Under them, Cash has the benefit of being more in control of the player personnel decision making thanks to the "autonomy" he was granted, and so wouldn't it just make logical sense that he would also have more freedom to speak to the media on personnel matters?

Cash recognizes that he has more power and more clout within the organization.  It really is "his" team to run and, as a result, he has become more comfortable not only making the decisions, but discussing them.  And as the GM of the team, the guy making the decisions, that should be his right.  I see Billy Beane in the media all the time.  I see Jerry Reese in the media all the time.  If anything, people shouldn't be freaking out about Cash suddenly becoming more open and vocal in voicing his opinions, they should have been freaking out years ago when Cash was hardly ever saying ANYTHING.  If Cash has opinions on particular players, particular deals, or particular situations within the organization, I as a fan WANT to know them and I WANT to hear them.

And as for the comments themselves, it's not like Cash said anything that plenty of other Yankee fans out there haven't thought before.  Do we really want to see Jeter at short when he's 40?  Shit, there have been discussions about his defensive decline for the last 3-4 years, and now suddenly when the GM of the team suggests that said decline could reach a level that requires him to play a new position, it's blasphemy??  Come on!  Cal Ripken moved positions, Robin Yount moved positions.  What makes Jeter any more special than those guys?

It should be obvious to everybody that Cash isn't making these statements as an attempt to personally attack people, but as a man in charge of a business.  He's making business decisions and should be allowed to comment on those business decisions as he sees fit, especially as he has become a more powerful player in that business.  Don't get on the guy for doing his job.  And don't get on him for making a perfectly reasonable statement about Derek Jeter.  I like Jeter as much as any Yankee fan, but the more important thing is always the name of the front of the jersey, not on the back.

Cash is the one voice that we should all want to hear discussing situations like this, whether we agree with his assessment or not.


Rasheeda Cooper said...

Morning Captain,

I think the problem that people had with this--myself included--is not what Cash said, but the fact that he said it. It has never been discussed with Jeter, to anyone's knowledge that he would ever be moved, and we can all safely assume that after playing the same position for his entire career and excelling at it at the level Jeter has, it's unlikely that even when the front office approaches him on this--the right way--he's going to be happy about it. So, why even bring this up to the media? Yeah, it's a hypothetical at this point, but should it be discussed outside of the person it's relevant to?

If you worked as, say, a manager for a company all your life and then as you approached retirement age, realizing that your production is slowing down, you and everyone familiar with your company may know that you could be moved to a lesser role until you call it quits, but how would it feel to you to know that your demotion was being discussed, even hypothetically, among your peers without that discussion ever having been made with you?

It's probably inevitable that Jeter's days as an SS are numbered, but it's bad PR to discuss that when it's not even a relevant situation at this point, or when it hasn't been posed to Jeter.

Unknown said...

My big thing with it is still the bad rap Cash got for speaking in the first place. Players can talk about anything, their agents can talk about anything, owners can talk about anything. Why can't Cash?

And I would have to disagree with the thought that this isn't a relevant issue right now and has never been discussed with Jeter. As I said before, his defense has been in serious decline for a while now. Everybody knows it. That point is very relevant and that's why there are all sorts of sabermetric defensive stats that can show the number of balls Jeter doesn't get to. I guarantee that point got brought up multiple times during the contract negotiations.

I don't disagree with the point that feelings get hurt, and nobody likes/wants to see Jeter get old. But it's a fact of life and everybody has to accept it, Jeter included. It's not meant to be personal, it's a business decision. And I don't have a problem with the GM of the Yankees discussing business decisions.

Rasheeda Cooper said...

Ok, but I have to disagree with you on the relevancy of this because Cash said himself that Jeter moving was not something that they needed to look at right now. His own words were, "Jeter's our shortstop, period." And as for it being discussed with Jeter, yes, I'm certain that his decline has been discussed as it had everything to do with the stalemate between him and the front office, but I seriously doubt that anyone has ever discussed with Jeter moving to another position.

I have no problem with accepting Jeter aging. During the "Jeter negotiations," I even blogged that the front office needed to make Jeter and his agent realize his decline is a big factor in the team not bending on giving him a ridiculous contract. I just see no reason to antagonize a situation that 1)according to Cash himself, is not even on the radar yet and 2)won't be an amicable situation even when the time comes for it to happen.

I'm a big-time fan of Cash. But I just think that this would have been one of those times when he could have "skirted" around the question for the sake of damage control. What is a positive to this, I believe, is that Jeter has even more incentive to work his ass off this offseason and rake when the season starts.

Unknown said...

He's in Tampa working on his hitting already, so that theory of yours already seems to be spot on.

I think Cash saying that Jeter not moving was his version of damage control after the initial statement. Everybody can say it's not an issue all they want in the public, but the numbers show that Jeter is already defensively-deficient SS and behind closed doors, everybody in the organization knows it.

Based on the stats alone, it would be wrong to say the "Jeter at SS" issue isn't relevant.