By almost any account, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has had a solid off-season thus far. He started by avoiding a gigantic contract in excess of $200 million with second baseman Robinson Cano, letting him walk and sign with the Seattle Mariners.
Cashman then used the payroll available to him to sign catcher Brian McCann and outfielders Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury. While there is some injury risk associated with those players (Ellsbury in particular), it was smart to spread the big money around in that manner.
Additionally, the Yankees appear to be among the front-runners to land Japanese starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. If they do manage to pull that off, they should be listed among the favorites in the American League even with the uncertainty surrounding Derek Jeter and, of course, Alex Rodriguez.
The Yankees missed the playoffs in 2013. If they fail to reach the post-season again in 2014, might it actually spell trouble for Cashman? Buster Olney of ESPN, with whom Cashman is pictured above, wonders if that potential scenario would put the GM’s job in jeopardy (insider subscription required).
Cashman’s contract is up in the fall of 2015, which will surely factor into the equation. Given the unique challenges of the job, it is almost impossible to imagine the Yankees thinking there is a better option out there. Still, there might be just a little bit of extra pressure on Cashman to land Tanaka and finish the winter with a bang.