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Cashman remains highly regarded by Yankee fans

New York’s willingness to sell has finally given its GM a chance to shine again.

Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

Brian Cashman has lived under the microscope for 19 seasons now, and has gotten used to the strict scrutiny of the New York media and some of the most passionate fans in baseball. Under the late George Steinbrenner, Cashman worked hard to maintain his owner’s air of exceptionalism, insisting that the Bronx Bombers were different than other clubs, keeping their most prominent players and acquiring everyone else’s. There would be no rebuild. There would never be a rebuild.

That philosophy has continued under The Boss’s son, Hal, and the team president, Randy Levine. This year, however, staring up at a number of teams in the AL East and the AL Wild Card race, Cashman finally convinced them to let him revamp the team’s roster and go young. And the fans are on board.

The results were fantastic, as the Yankees came out as one of the uncontested winners of this year’s trade deadline. The twin deals of sending Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians for four top prospects and Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs for Adam Warren and shortstop Gleyber Torres, ranked Baseball America’s 27th best prospect, bulked up anemic and struggling minor league system. And the deal to send Carlos Beltran to the Rangers for three players was also widely praised. In just a few short days, Cashman reminded fans whose faith might be wavering, and reminded everyone why he was once considered one of the best GMs in the game:

Mike Bates

It’s amazing to see that, as the Yankees’ interest in competing has fallen, the opinions of Cashman have risen, making him one of the five highest ranked GMs in baseball. Fans who grew up in the Core Four Era, and who know very little about losing, are on board with starting from scratch.

They seem to understand that the Yankees need to develop their next Core Four (or five, or six, or seven) and imprint the club with a new identity, finally breaking from the long shadow of Derek Jeter. And now kids can start to idolize Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez just as much as they did Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada:

“In 1 week Brian Cashman turned a fan base who was down on their club into a positive one. He turned around our minor league system from the bottom of the barrel into a top-tier system in the matter of a few days. “ - @nyydynasty

“Cashman was finally given the chance to make the most of a bad season. He turned two innings a night and a DH into the finishing touches on what will be a top 3 farm system going into next year. - @omgitsmike

“For me, Cashman can be explained in one move and one non-move. In 2014 when he traded Vidal Nuno for Brandon McCarthy my reaction was "why?" McCarthy ended up winning 7 games in August and was a main reason the Yankees were threatening in September. The non-move was not offering McCarthy a contract the following offseason. He had Tommy John in spring training. Cashman, gimme lotto numbers.” - @DrewAbsher

“Cashman is excellent when it comes to trades and has been for a long time. He and his team are generally good at recognizing and identifying good talent. However, the only thing that holds me back from voting higher is that Cashman and Co. have been poor at turning that talent into success on the field. Development of impact players has been a severe challenge for the Yankee organization, both on the mound and in the field.” - @mimbro1

In fact, the only problem fans seemed to have with the front office was that Cashman had too little freedom to do what he needed to:

“I like the moves Cashman has made, only problem is the ownership getting in the way. They wanted to cut payroll, but then had the team make some enormous free agent signings, then wouldn't okay signing Yoan Moncada. When they let Cashman sell at the deadline though, he brought back some amazing talent. I have a ton of confidence in Cashman, but the ownership's inconsistency with plans for the future and unwillingness in the past to recognize what direction to move the team in takes away some of that confidence.” - @smudge9424

“Cashman himself has consistently proven to be a strong talent evaluator, a stubborn negotiator and immune to public pressure. But through the years, the Steinbrenners have overruled him on some key transactions, so it's tough to trust completely in the front office knowing that their ideas aren't always given the green light.” - @MrElyminator

“Generally confident in Brian's ability. He's seemed to learn from his mistakes in the past. The only thing that seems to be stopping him from more success is Hank and Hal meddling and pushing for a ring before the team is ready.” - @theJimJack

“When Brian Cashman is allowed to do is job, and there is no interference from ownership like Randy Levine and Hal Steinbrenner, he can pull off some amazing moves, as we saw the Yankees clear house. The persistent involvement from Levine and Steinbrenner holds Cashman back from getting a ‘5.’” - @J_Heller20

“I would have selected "Very Confident" if not for the ever-present spectre of Steinbrenner/Levine. Left alone, I think Cashman is one of the 3 best GM's in the game, but we know that's just an unrealistic qualifier.” - DB

It has almost literally never been “the Yankee way” to sell. Going back to the days of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Reggie Jackson, New York has been a buyer, always building for a World Championship. Never tearing down. Even if they weren’t in a position to compete, there could be no sign of weakness. No admission of defeat. So Cashman’s gambit was historic. He acknowledged the Yankees’ weakness, and in doing so gave the club a new foundation from which to build, so long as everybody stays the hell out of his way.