After Judge, the Yankees’ key signing was Cashman

Cashman’s previous contract expired after last season, as did Judge’s. The new deal for the manager is for four seasons, and takes him through the 2026 season. Once, the Yankees went from 1978 to 1996 without winning a Fall Classic, a record for them in the last century. Now, the Bronx Bombers haven’t lifted the championship trophy since 2009. That means if they don’t win a World Series title by the time Cashman’s new contract expires, they’ll be on pace to tie a record the Yankees never thought to equal. when Cashman first became his GG.

That was when the Yankees team, originally built by Gene Michael, was in the process of winning four World Series in five years and playing in a sixth against the D-backs, one they won in the top of the ninth inning of the game. Game 7 before everything that could go wrong did go wrong — even with Mariano Rivera on the mound.

Now Cashman, who has been with the team since the late 1990s and presided over a Yankees squad that has never had a losing season, now stands at the plate. Yankees fans know what Judge can do — they witnessed Judge’s historic 2022 campaign just like we did. Now they want to see if Cashman can put together another Yankees team good enough to win it all again.

The Yankees managed to keep Judge this week, for the rest of his career, and Cashman mostly credits his boss for closing the deal when the Yankees prevented Judge from going with the Giants or Padres.

“Hal Steinbrenner was key to all of this,” Cashman said. “Our organization has tried to stay connected in every way possible, as has Hal Steinbrenner directly with Aaron Judge to try by all means to bring the gunboat back.”

Yankees fans have seen Cashman and Steinbrenner spend big bucks in the past — it was at the 2019 Winter Meetings that Gerrit Cole became a Yankee in a deal similar to Judge’s and nearly as lucrative for $324 million. — then watched their team come up short before even reaching the World Series. Over the past six years, this has happened against the backdrop of the Astros winning two World Series and participating in two more and beating the Yankees three times in the ALCS.

The Yankees got their best player back, who also became the best player in baseball this past season. They need a lot more than just Judge, even though they won the AL East pennant in 2022 and ousted the Guardians in a best-of-five Division Series that trailed two games to one. Now they’ll look to get past the Blue Jays in the East, and find ways to be better than the Astros, even after Houston lost Justin Verlander. And it seems unlikely that the Guardians, who just added Josh Bell, will walk away from contention, not with that whole core of talented youngsters on the field.

The Yankees still have 37-year-old Josh Donaldson on their $21 million roster for 2023. No one knows who their Opening Day starting shortstop will be — Isiah Kiner-Falefa or Oswald Peraza or fellow American Oswaldo Cabrera. or even the sought-after prospect Anthony Volpe. Anthony Benintendi is still available in free agency, as is Brandon Nimmo — even with the way Harrison Bader played in October. Questions linger around DJ LeMahieu’s foot, as does whether the Yankees still believe Gleyber Torres is their long-term answer at second base.

The best free-agent starter still on the market, of course, is left-hander Carlos Rodón, who would be a perfect fit for the Yankees’ rotation. The Yankees need to bolster their bullpen just because everyone else is.

The Yankees looked like a very powerful and almost invincible team during the first half of the season. Due to injuries, and what seemed like a massive market correction, at times it seemed as if Judge was all they had in the second half of the season. Then he bet on himself and he played it like no player has, then he saw the results this week. In many ways, Hal Steinbrenner is taking the same chance with his general manager. And he hopes Cashman, a former second baseman at Catholic University, finally has a season as successful as Aaron Judge’s.

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After Judge, the Yankees’ key signing was Cashman