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Gene Michael said recently in a radio interview that he is not consulted and has had no input into Yankee decisions for the last year. Why does George Steinbrenner sign Michael and then ignore him? Why do these Tampa people like Bill Emslie and Dwight Gooden have so much input when most of their decisions are wrong? I don't want to gripe too much, since these last 11 years have been so great, but it is puzzling.
Jim Overmeyer — Islip, N.Y.
KAY: Excluding Gene Michael from the decision-making process makes absolutely no sense. It was Michael and Buck Showalter who laid the groundwork for this unbelievable run and if the Yankees fall into a big rut this season the only way to get out of it woud be for Michael to be reinserted into a prominent role. As for why he was signed and then ignored, I believe the Yankees realize how valuable Michael is and did not want to lose him to another team and I also believe he will re-emerge as an important decision-maker.
TAMPA-NEW YORK DIVIDE
During the championship years, an uneasy truce existed in the Yanks' divided house with Michael as GM, Newman running Tampa and Cashman in New York as assistant GM/traffic cop. Now the distrust is worse than ever among the factions.
These days, Michael, the main architect of the dynastic Yanks, is paid $600,000 annually and mostly ignored. Newman floats from limited to no influence in Tampa. And Cashman is a GM in title, but not in power. The New York office believes those in favor with Steinbrenner now - Oppenheimer, Billy Connors and Bill Emslie - form a shadow government in Tampa of second guessers and yes men, their proximity to The Boss stoking paranoia. The Tampa contingent feels the New York staff is too apologetic for Torre and his staff, especially when it comes to lack of instruction.
There are many rival executives sympathetic to Cashman, who point out moves Cashman was divorced from such as Lofton, Loaiza, Womack, Gary Sheffield and Felix Rodriguez. But Cashman's batting average includes pushing for Brown, Vazquez and Weaver. The bigger problem, though, is that there is no single vision, no set chain of command. The pro scouts in Tampa, for example, report to Emslie, a former traveling secretary who socializes with Steinbrenner, without much input from Cashman. Connors has held autonomy running the organization's pitching program for a decade despite horrible results.
And both sects are leery of the influence of the politically savvy, New York-based team president and lead negotiator Randy Levine, who more than anyone in the organization has Steinbrenner's ear and is near equally impatient.
In the offseason, for example, the Tampa group reached accord with reliever Dae-Sung Koo without recognizing the implications to the 40-man roster, and Cashman had to undo the deal. Koo now pitches for the Mets.
Two offseasons ago after Sheffield backed out of a verbal agreement for a contract, Steinbrenner told Cashman to follow the GM's desire and pursue Vladimir Guerrero. As a deal with Guerrero neared finalization, Sheffield rescinded his demands. Steinbrenner convened a Guerrero or Sheffield meeting.
The New York group plus Newman in Tampa voted for Guerrero. The Tampa contingent, which included Sheffield's uncle Dwight Gooden, voted for the St. Petersburg-based Sheffield. It was a tie, which Steinbrenner broke in favor of Sheffield.
The rift also leaves the Yanks without a cohesive single vision on building a team. What has been hurt the most by this is constructing 25- and 40-man rosters with adequate Plan B and C depth (you back up one no-hit guy like Womack with another like Rey Sanchez). A team with as much age/fragility as the 2005 Yankees should have concentrated a lot more on using their financial advantage to create a safety net, especially after seeing the Red Sox win with the length of their roster last year. Dave Roberts, anyone?
BronXBombers51 wrote:Kay is an ass.
But he's right about excluding Michael makes no sense. Michael is the man and should be the GM of this team. Is there any chance of it happening once Cashman is out of the picture (which will probably be very shortly)?
TheYanks04 wrote:ANyone that trades for Brownm, Heredia, Witasik and goes and signs the likes of RonDL and Vazquez etc is not derserving of being around. Close the deal? Sure other GMS love him...he gives them big fat Christmas presents. I bet the LA GM at the time of teh Weaver deal sends Cashman a present on his birthday every year.
BronXBombers51 wrote:If in fact all of these articles are valid, what is the chance that this gets turned around?
I have heard of the Tampa faction, but did not realize it played that big of a role in the decision-making of the Yankees. Does Steinbrenner realize Connors is an idiot? I have no heard of Emslie, but I have heard of Connors on several occasions. After ruining this pitching staff for 5 years, is George prepared to tell these guys to shut the hell or up, or what?
Stick built the dynasty team, why the hell does George not listen to him? Is there a bad relationship or something? I mean what the hell?
I wish he'd hire me to be the GM. I'll work for free and get back to the World Series faster than any of these idiots.
Billy Connors and Bill Emslie, key members of George Steinbrenner's Tampa contingent, have been summoned to New York, where they will evaluate the Yankees over the next several days. The trading deadline is July 31
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