On the latest edition of his podcast, ESPN’s Buster Olney discusses a slew of interesting topics with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who looks back on his first 20 years on the job and ahead to his future in the position. Cashman doesn’t seem anywhere close to the end of the line, which isn’t surprising for someone who signed a five-year extension in December. “I’m only 50 years old. I feel that’s young,” he said. The five-time World Series champion added that he believes “there’s more chapters to write,” including potentially winning a title with a third manager (the newly hired Aaron Boone).
Asked whether there has ever been a specific turning point in terms of how he does his job, Cashman indicated that it came when now-Cubs president Theo Epstein was early in his tenure as arch-rival Boston’s GM. Cashman saw the positive impact that Epstein and sabermetrics guru Bill James were having on the Red Sox with the help of analytics, and he noticed that Boston was outdoing New York in key areas such as advanced scouting, drafting, major league signings, minor league signings and waiver claims. Around that time, he realized the Yankees “should have every tool in the toolbox,” and that “no one in baseball should have a better department in any aspect than the New York Yankees.”
After Cashman “saw a deficiency” in the way the Yankees were functioning in comparison to the Red Sox, he “went on a crusade” to improve the organization. Since then, the Yankees have revamped their pro scouting department, created what Cashman believes is an enviable quantitative analysis team, implemented a “second-to-none mental skills program” and tried when possible to copy the performance science methods of European soccer teams and Australian rules football clubs.
More from the American League:
- The Rays have fired team physician Michael Reilly amid sexual assault allegations, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. Prior to severing ties with Reilly, the Rays suspended him last week after a woman with the YouTube username Brianna Rah (which isn’t her real name, per Topkin) posted a video accusing him of making unwanted sexual advances toward her when she was a teenager working at his office. She also expressed certainty that Reilly has behaved similarly toward others. In addition to firing Reilly, who had been affiliated with the franchise since its inception 20 years ago, the Rays “also alerted the St. Petersburg Police Department and Major League Baseball of this situation,” team vice president and general counsel John Higgins stated. Police are currently deciding whether to file charges against Reilly, according to Topkin. Reilly, for his part, denied the allegations, but he admitted to having “a consensual relationship with her when she was an adult.”
- The Angels are primed to use a six-man rotation in the wake of their much-hyped Shohei Ohtani signing, which isn’t a change that’s going to faze right-hander Garrett Richards. While the 29-year-old admitted to KLAA AM 830 (via Maria Guardado of MLB.com) that the new alignment will affect his “in-between-start routine a little bit,” he’s on board with the idea if it’s for the betterment of the team. “Whether you make 28 starts or 32 starts, you’re still going to be out there giving a significant amount to the team,” said Richards, who amassed 32 starts in 2015 but has combined for just 12 since then. Elbow and biceps issues limited Richards in the previous two seasons, but he returned in strong fashion last September to put up a 2.28 ERA/2.43 FIP in six starts and 27 2/3 innings. If Richards is able to stay healthy in 2018, he could cash in big as a free agent next winter.
- After breaking out in 114 innings as a starter last year, when he pitched to a 2.84 ERA and recorded 9.99 K/9 against 4.23 BB/9, Indians righty Mike Clevinger has bigger plans for 2018. “I’m not even thinking about the bullpen. I want to throw 200 innings,” Clevinger told Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Despite his excellent production in 2017, Clevinger isn’t guaranteed a starting spot heading into the spring, as Bastian notes. Rather, he’ll compete with Danny Salazar, Josh Tomlin and Ryan Merritt to join rotation locks Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer. Should Clevinger, 27, win a place in the Tribe’s rotation and achieve his 200-inning goal, he’d accomplish a feat that’s pretty rare nowadays. In each of the previous two campaigns, only 15 pitchers racked up at least 200 frames. Kluber did it in both seasons (as well as in 2014 and ’15), and Carrasco was also part of the group last year.