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What If Brian Cashman GM'd in Oakland?

With a lot of the talk about Billy Beane possibly being a candidate and/or interested in the Cubs' GM job along with many other noted GMs, it has created "what if" articles about what would happen should he take other jobs. One such article was in Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest where he discussed Beane taking over for Brian Cashman should he leave to take the helm of the Cubs. He writes of Beane taking over in New York,

"Beane is an innovator. He was able to understand the value of information in a game that resists change at all costs. He focused on player development, market inefficiencies, and building a team, not a collection of free agent superstars. His model is what we see in Boston and New York today, but they are able to complement with elite talent and buy away mistakes. The Yankees had to change their internal infrastructure because of the pioneering efforts of Billy Beane.  It would almost be a seamless transition from Cashman to Beane.

My main concern with Beane is how he would handle the front office politics of the Yankees. You still have too many non-baseball people who want to put their fingerprints on the franchise. Namely, the Tampa faction and Randy Levine. Coming into this environment, there would be an adjustment period. I doubt the Steinbrenners would give him the benefit of the doubt as they do with Cashman. Beane hasn’t earned his stripes in the land of pinstripes."

But what if we got Brian Cashman? What would a Cashman run A's look like?

In an article in the New York Daily News this past January they discussed Cashman in New York and his perhaps desire for a new challenge. The article read,

"If you listen to some of the things Cashman has said over the years and look at the pattern with which he has chosen to operate in the last few years - the CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixeira winter notwithstanding - a picture emerges of a GM who clearly wishes he was running a small-market team like his pal Billy Beane in Oakland. Indeed you get the feeling that Cashman is tired of being labeled a 'checkbook GM', while viewing that $200 million Yankee payroll as an albatross rather than a built-in insurance policy for making the postseason every year. A tip-off of this was Cashman's off-the-cuff remark to the Yankee beat writers at the winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. last December. 'I haven't had a problem knocking on Hal's door and asking for more money. I have a problem sometimes of Hal saying yes. I know my title is general manager, but I consider myself the director of spending for the New York Yankees.'"

So here you go Brian Cashman. You have the job. Welcome to Oakland, your dreams have come true.

The best predictor of how Brian Cashman will perform in Oakland is to look at how he has performed in New York and then take away his money. 

Brian Cashman Principle #1: Sign starter who cannot handle pressure of playing in the home city.

This is tough. Is there any pressure playing in Oakland? In New York, Cashman signed Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, Javier Vazquez, Kei Igawa, Kevin Brown, A.J. Burnett, etc. The only pressure of Oakland is playing in such an expansive park - not much pressure for a pitcher - so it'd need to be a pitcher ill-suited for the Coliseum and who likely would not want to play on the West Coast. Why not sign old friend Javier Vazquez? Vazquez has a stated preference to play as close to his native Puerto Rico as possible (hence he is in Florida) and would likely dislike being in Oakland, but we might be the only offer he gets and he and Cash go way back. He has a 20.7% LD% this year and a 4.00 FIP. He will be 35 next year. Meet your new starter Oakland!

Brian Cashman Principle #2: Don't have a Plan B.

This past offseason the Yankees knew they needed to upgrade their rotation. They went all in on Cliff Lee. Problem was he wanted to sign in Philadelphia and did so. Furthermore he was certain Andy Pettitte would re-sign and help the Yankees on their march towards their umpteenth World Championship. When these events didn't occur what was his plan? Well... he didn't have one. This one is pretty easy - in Oakland this sort of thing happens all the time because your Plan B, C, D and E often give you a "thanks but no thanks". As Cashman looks to revamp the A's outfield needs, expect everyone to say no and to be stuck with what we have (which isn't much). But Cashman does have a sort of Plan Z as the signings of Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia showed. This means the corner outfield go to Hideki Matsui (LF) re-signed at a bargain basement price in February and Magglio Ordonez (RF) signed to a bargain basement price as a 38-year old who can't field anymore also in February. Which brings us to...

Brian Cashman Principle #3: Sign really old guys, or young guys who become really old.

The Yankees have Alex Rodriguez - who is showing signs of decline - signed through age 42. With his player option they have Derek Jeter through age 40. They also have Mariano Rivera locked up through age 42. Jorge Posada on their club right now is 39. Looks like they will offer a contract to Sabathia that'll see him pitch through age 37-38. Like a fine wine... says Cashman! This too is easy for Oakland, the "don't have a Plan B signings" of Matsui and Ordonez fit in perfectly. But I say the next signing should be Francisco Cordero. At 37 he is a bit on the young side for the typical elder statesman he likes to sign but he fits well into principle #4...

Brian Cashman Principle #4: You can never have enough closers.

The signing of Rafael Soriano as a set-up man, coupled with the signing of Pedro Feliciano (or last year's acquisition of Kerry Wood) to be a set-up man to the set-up man shows that when it comes to closers and set-up men for set-up men you can't ever have enough. While many may argue that Oakland has this already with Brian Fuentes, Cashman is used to using former big name players in complete role positions (Lance Berkman? We need you to pinch hit - every other day) so enter Francisco Cordero - our new closer who will only be used as a set-up guy. Grant Balfour? You're our new set-up to the set-up.

Brian Cashman Principle #5: Take anyone off the scrap heap.

Cashman will love this aspect of being Oakland GM. Many times this may be all you have to choose from! Cash has signed guys like Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones, J.C. Romero, Randy Flores all just this year alone! Just wait until the revolving door of the 40-man roster as guys join and are discarded every other week. With third base unresolved this provides a great opportunity for Cashman. Craig Counsell at 41 and his .169/.273/.218 batting line can come and ply his wares for a week or so. Maybe we can give Joe Crede a shot back in baseball? Maybe Mark DeRosa? Miguel Tejada? The possibilities are endless! 

Brian Cashman's "dream job" might be our nightmare. Let's hope Billy Beane stays...

Current Series

Athletics lead the series 2-0

Fri 09/02 WP: Guillermo Moscoso (7 - 8)
LP: Jason Vargas (7 - 13)
9 - 2 win
Sat 09/03 WP: Brandon McCarthy (8 - 7)
LP: Michael Pineda (9 - 9)
3 - 0 win

Seattle Mariners
@ Oakland Athletics

Sunday, Sep 4, 2011, 1:05 PM PDT Coliseum

Blake Beavan vs Trevor Cahill

Sunny. Winds blowing from left to right field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 80.


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