Brian Cashman has been a real "pain in the a--" for other GMs around baseball, at least according to Oakland Athletics executive vice president Billy Beane.
Beane told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic on Monday that he used to tease Cashman that the Yankees GM wanted to run the Bronx Bombers like a small-market team. Now, through the first 40 games of the 2019 season, it certainly feels like Cashman has gotten that chance.
Despite opening the season with a $203 million payroll, the Yankees have weathered the storm of an incredible amount of injuries to star players to a 24-16 record, sitting just a half-game out of the AL East lead.
Under-the-radar moves to acquire players such as Gio Urshela, Domingo German, Luke Voit and Mike Tauchman have helped the Yankees sustain success through the beginning of the season, moves Cashman has seemingly mastered in recent years.
Beane said small-market teams lack to money to build depth and that big-market teams usually don't go to great lengths to address depth but said that Cashman, as well as the Dodgers, have bucked that trend.
"It's a problem for the rest of the league when two of the biggest-market teams adopt the same kind of model and have the ability to do it better than the small-market clubs," Beane said. "They didn't get lucky. They realized even the smallest transactions were very important. It makes dealing with Cash a pain in the ass. And you can quote me on that."
The Yankees have the largest research-and-development department in MLB and Cashman has used that to identify undervalued talent, such as taking a flier on Urshela with hopes he can become a utility player or acquiring Voit at the trade deadline last season for two middling relievers, a blip on the radar at the time of the deal.
"You're placing bets," Cashman said. "And there are risks to every bet. It's like investments. There is no such thing as a 100 percent guaranteed return on your investment."
Although it certainly feels like Cashman has hit on every bet or investment, he added that it does not necessarily mean they are ahead of the game.
"We're not walking around thinking we have this thing all figured out," he said. "In fact, we're wired to respect everyone around us knowing, more likely than not, others are doing something better than we are."