Brian Cashman is considered one the best GMs in MLB, so we take a look at his five best signings during his time with the Yankees.
Brian Cashman has made countless amazing moves for the Yankees since he stepped into office in 1998. He has had a ton of success on the free agent market as well. Whether it is signing a player for the low who outperforms his contract or adding a piece needed to complete a team. Here is a look at Cashman’s top 5 signings:
5. Johnny Damon
On January 3, 2006, The Yankees signed Damon to a four-year, $52 million contract. Damon quickly found his place as the Yankees primary leadoff hitter. Constantly playing 140 games a year and being a solid leadoff hitter. During his career with the Yankees, Damon slashed .285/.363/.458 while hitting 77 home runs, driving in 296 runs and stealing 93 bases.
Also, the bright lights didn’t seem to faze Damon in the postseason. In the 2009 ALCS and World Series Damon slashed .300/.323/.533 and .364/.440/.455 and helped the team win its 27th World Series.
4. Mike Mussina
On December 7, 2000, The Yankees signed Mike Mussina to a six-year, $88.5 million contract. The Yankees were coming off a World Series win against the Mets and wanted to add to their staff. Mussina was worth every penny of his deal.
In his career with the Yankees, he pitched to a 123-72 record with a 3.88 ERA, pitching at least 150 innings a year and having a winning record each season. Most Notably in the final year of his contract at age 39, Mike pitched to a 20-9 record becoming one of the oldest pitchers to have a 20 win season.
3. Masahiro Tanaka
On January 22, 2014, The Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract. Tanaka had previously pitched in Japan for seven years and was one of, if not, the best pitcher in that league. Tanaka has been nothing but consistent for the Yankees.
Counting his last start, he has pitched to a 65-34 record, while posting a respectable 3.56 ERA. But what stands out for Tanaka is he seems to get better when the lights are at their brightest. In his postseason career, Tanaka sports an outstanding 1.50 ERA. He is the most dependable postseason starter on the current pitching staff.
2. Hideki Matsui
On December 19, 2002, The Yankees signed Hideki Matsui to a three-year, $21 million contract. He would go on to restructure his deal two times overall keeping him a member of The Yankees until after the 2009 season. In his career with the Yankees (seven years) Matsui slashed .292/.370/.482 while hitting 140 home runs and driving in 597 runs. But Matsui is most notably known for his dominance in the postseason.
His career postseason stats are amazing, slashing .312/.391/.541 when it mattered the most. Matsui also single handily carried the Yankees in the 2009 World Series, hitting three home runs and driving in eight runs and being named World Series MVP.
1. CC Sabathia
On December 20, 2008, The Yankees signed C.C. Sabathia to a seven-year, $161 million contract. CC has been nothing but amazing for the Yankees since signing. In his career with the Yankees, he has pitched to a 129-80 record and pitching to a 3.74 ERA. Sabathia went through a rough patch for about three years but was able to turn it around. He won the ALCS MVP in ’09, winning both of his starts and sporting a 1.13 ERA in that series.
The Yankees don’t win it all in 2009 without him. But what makes this Cashman’s best signing is what CC does off the mound. He became the veteran presence the Yankees needed during the short rebuild years. He mentored countless young players, showing them the ropes and how to handle the pressure. No one has loved their time as a Yankee more than CC.