Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another New York Non-Story

...that has to be covered by the guy from Boston! Not sure if everyone else has noticed it, but any kind of controversial item surrounding the Yankees and what kind of stuff is said has been labeled by our New York representative as a "non-story" or something like that. Pettitte going Brett Favre on the team has been brushed aside. All Burnett controversy over the course of the year was chalked up to beat writers needing to fill space. Seems like the only negative stuff that can be said about Pat's beloved Yankees is the periodic bashing of the manager. This has been the case since the World Series win in 2009. This guy seems to be wearing rose-colored glasses even stronger than the ones my girlfriend wears regarding caring for a dog. So, opposite of what usually happens, keeping it real comes from the north.

Apparently Yankees' GM Brian Cashman isn't too thrilled about the signing of Rafael Soriano, pretty much for the reasons Pat stated in paragraph one of his previous post about this. I'm not going to pretend that Cashman said Hal was an idiot or ripped him. He said that the move, while it wasn't his idea, makes the team better. He also made it a point to say that he is working for great owners. I'm not going to make a story out of this by saying that he said the Steinbrenners suck and know nothing about baseball. The New York Times said he assured them that it was not an "affront to his power."

However, he previously stated that he would rather have a draft pick than give out big money for a setup man. He didn't back off from this. He also said he didn't like how roster flexibility was hampered by this move. Much like Theo Epstein when he made it abundantly clear that the David Ortiz signing was something done by ownership and not baseball operations, he repeatedly said that ownership went against his recommendations. But let's look at the facts. Let's look at some of the quotes that came out of the general manager's mouth:

"I just didn't feel this was the most efficient way to allocate our remaining resources."
"The Red Sox had a tremendous off-season...I didn't hear that we had to do something because of what they did."
"It's not a dispute over the player whatsoever...It's all the other stuff wrapped around it."

After 2005, Cashman was assured autonomy over baseball decisions. He did not deny that he was "displeased" over being overruled, though he did say that he was aware of it and was also aware that it wasn't his team.

When I read comments like these, or hear them on audio, I feel like this is the tip of the iceberg. Similar to the time that Youkilis ripped 46 publicly for not playing baseball last year. I think both Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein are in supremely interesting and debatable positions, both being strictly baseball guys (and trending toward the position of the "efficiency police," for better or for worse) who don't give a crap about placating any disgruntled fans. They both are working for owners who care a lot about disgruntled fans and putting together an interesting TV show. And they are both in positions where they have publicly stated their desire to make the baseball decisions, but have clearly been unable to do so.

So why would both Cashman (with a thin veil) and Epstein (with a thicker veil, as his "ownership" comments regarding Ortiz were similar to Wes Welker's "foot" comments) want to say this kind of thing? My theories:
1. They really are pissed off.
2. They are lobbying for more power.
3. They are covering their rear ends to make sure that their opinions are consistent.
4. They are making sure they are absolved of all blame if these deals wreck their respective teams.
5. With Cashman especially, as he's up for contract renewal next year, he's building leverage for contract negotiations. Other teams see what he's done and know his views on efficiency. There is a market for Brian Cashman, future free-agent GM.

Unless you're Bill Madden of the Daily News, you probably believe this deal makes the Yankees better. Pat and I are in agreement of this. But the fact that the baseball guy is getting overruled and doesn't sound too thrilled about it is most definitely notable.

On the other hand, we can talk about the Murray State Racers basketball team! After dismantling the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles, they're only one game behind Austin Peay for the top seed in the Ohio Valley Conference! Peay has to be afraid of that high-powered offense when February 5th comes along and they have to face the Racers! Chances Obama watches this game instead of doing his job are roughly 98%!

5 comments:

PF said...

brett favre publicly retired three times and then changed his mind. andy pettitte weighs his options each offseason. both of these things are these players' rights, but the way andy pettitte goes about it is about 90 times less obnoxious and more legitimate. what am i going to do, scream "make up your mind already!" when it's more than reasonable for him to take the time to make sure he makes the right decision? pettitte's gone about it this way each of the last three winters (with resounding success for both he and the team) so i'm pretty sure he knows what he's doing at this point.

if i ever attributed burnett talk to beat writer's needing to fill space, it must have been for something very particular. because in general i stayed consistent that it wasn't that the talk wasn't legitimate, it was that it was pointless to go over it over and over again because you sign up for erratic when you sign up for burnett.

nice examples. followed by another one in this post.

drama queens like you want to treat baseball like it's a soap opera script, not real life. the more grounded person understands that baseball is a real life business just like everything else. brian cashman is the head of the most important department the yankees have. but he has a boss, just like everyone else who doesn't own their own business has a boss. heads of departments and owners sometimes disagree. but just because their is disagreement doesn't mean they can't be grown ups about it. the head of the department makes his recommendation, and ownership ultimately makes the final call - sometimes following the recommendation and sometimes not. when the recommendation is not followed, the head of the department can sulk about it and create derision, or acknowledge it matter of fact and move on with the realization that his next recommendation will have no less weight, especially if overrules rarely happen (in cashman's case i can think of 2 out of maybe 100 since 2005...a-rod and this...not exactly an indictment of ownership's trust in him).

if you've been paying attention to the yankees recently (and as i pointed out throughout the year, judging from your posts it's very difficult to tell if you have been), you've noticed that they have been promoting transparency. things happen and it's often better to have it out in the open than brush it under the rug. look at how the jeter press conference went. that's what happened again today. there was no emotion, there was just a factual recounting of what happened. the screen writers of the bunch like you are trained to see theatrics here, the less dramatic see that this is just the reality of any business. as many have been pointing out, the "full-autonomy" thing has been completely misapplied in this situation. full-autonomy in cashman's context meant no more constant meddling from a faction in tampa that had the owner's ear while simultaneously not having to report to cashman. full-autonomy meant no more such factions, and having total control of how baseball operations decisions were made. it DID NOT mean that ownership - you know, the guys whose money it is - don't have final say. in this instance, baseball operations, controlled by cashman, made their recommendation. ownership went in a different direction. this is VERY different from the previous issue, where the baseball operations recommendation wouldn't be totally controlled by cashman. as jon heyman pointed out, this proved that cashman is just like all the other 29 GM's, he has bosses.

that is why i'm not writing about this, and i would have preferred not having to explain it to you.

Anonymous said...

PF

I like to think that I'm not much for dramatics, either in real life or in sports, but the reality is that sports are played by people. And as much as winning and losing is the focus, what goes into winning and losing, the ups and downs of a team and a season are what make sports three dimensional. So to be fair to DV, I don't necessarily think that he's taking a different approach to sports than the majority of sports fans/writers do.

That said, I don't want a Celtics/Sox season to turn into one of those garbage reality TV shows that you see on some network that Bryce Cheney watches.

DV

I will probably never get elected President because of the fact that I would support forced sterilization. Still, if I were, as much as I'd do my best to follow the Celtics and Red Sox I wouldn't go out of my way to do SportsCenter specials and give my opinions of everything from the NFL to March Madness if only because it appears to be unprofessional and would open me up to the same type of criticism (completely justified, by the way) that you've given President Obama.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Well aware of many of the points you brought up. Especially regarding the transparency, especially as Cashman said that about 20 times during the interview I listened to.

Pettitte has been Favre light. Ultra, if you will. We've gone over this - if he cared enough about the team, he would have been able to make up his mind one way or another by now.

In the offseason, this is the only new stuff that's happening. Seriously, if you want to write a well-thought-out, analytic discussion about Jesus Montero and whether he is going to make Mauer and Posey look like Little Leaguers, I invite that.

But I feel like this "non-story" provides many things that are worth discussing. I'm not insinuating that Cash is gonna go to Tampa to shoot up the joint, okay?

What's worth discussing is whether you, or I, or anyone thinks Cashman is fed up with the crap and will walk after this year. (I think no, and semi-outbursts like this one are a good way to leverage yourself into a bigger salary or more power.)

What's worth discussing is what makes a good ownership group: Is it a bunch of guys who cut checks, shut the f*** up, and let the baseball people do what they're supposed to be the best at? (Yes.)

Should decisions be made at 10,000 feet from Hal's box, or at 1,500 feet from Cash's box? Made to placate the fans (Hal's job) or made to win World Series, build the farm system, and stabilize the payroll (Cash's job)? (You know what I think.)

But yes, this is just making something out of nothing. The Vermont Catamounts are 12-5 and are tearing up the America East conference. Could be a really great 14-seed!

Enjoy yo day.

Anonymous said...

Pat,

Having a tough week? Do we need to get on the phone and have a poise meeting?

Patrick said...

"Pettitte has been Favre light. Ultra, if you will. We've gone over this - if he cared enough about the team, he would have been able to make up his mind one way or another by now."

right, because there is no way you care about the team by waiting to see if your body is ready and your heart is into it. it is better to just make a decision at some arbitrary time. there is a timetable on knowing if your body is ready after 3055.1 major league innings, and according to you, time has run out.

"In the offseason, this is the only new stuff that's happening. Seriously, if you want to write a well-thought-out, analytic discussion about Jesus Montero and whether he is going to make Mauer and Posey look like Little Leaguers, I invite that."

the beauty of the baseball offseason is that there is college and pro football for most of it, college and nba basketball for all of it.

"What's worth discussing is whether you, or I, or anyone thinks Cashman is fed up with the crap and will walk after this year. (I think no, and semi-outbursts like this one are a good way to leverage yourself into a bigger salary or more power.)"

possibly, although as i said in my first comment i think that is blowing this out of proportion. could be wrong.

"What's worth discussing is what makes a good ownership group: Is it a bunch of guys who cut checks, shut the f*** up, and let the baseball people do what they're supposed to be the best at? (Yes.)'

over simplified. you can't expect owners writing payroll checks (for the baseball team only no less) for a billion dollars every four years or so (with luxury tax included) to just shut up and let the baseball people do what they are best at. how many owners shelling out that kind of money do you know who do that? and why should they? think they liked carl pavano at just under $40 mil? how about johnson, winn, and vazquez last year for about $18? that's not a lot of money right? listen, everyone knows here that i'm a cash supporter. but he's not perfect. i'm sure ownership isn't thrilled when he makes these multi-million dollar mistakes. does it make them want to get rid of him? obviously not. but it does make them entitled to at least get involved, especially when it involves spending their dollars on a good player. there has to be some give and take. cash pushes for teixeira and gets the extra money. cash doesn't think soriano is a great use of ownership's resources, ownership ultimately decides he is. if this only happens once in a while, i think this is reasonable. signing soriano is not stopping cashman from doing his job.

"Should decisions be made at 10,000 feet from Hal's box, or at 1,500 feet from Cash's box? Made to placate the fans (Hal's job) or made to win World Series, build the farm system, and stabilize the payroll (Cash's job)? (You know what I think.)"

red sox issue applied to a yankees situation. hal made this move because he wants to win, not to placate the fans. a lot of fans were against this move, not for it.