But he could have made an argument for them.
âHe had a huge impact on the postseason in his own way,â Jed Hoyer, the general manager of the Chicago Cubs, said with a smile.
Cashman was merely an observer of this yearâs World Series, just as he has been every season since the last appearance by the Yankees in 2009. But this time Cashmanâs fingerprints were all over it â thanks to his decision in late July to trade his two difference-making relievers, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, to the Cleveland Indians and the Cubs.
Both became indispensable in their new teamsâ title chases â Miller as a dominating tool that Indians Manager Terry Francona used early, late and liberally, and Chapman providing some ballast to a wobbly Cubs bullpen.
Asked if it was an unusual feeling to watch two players he had dealt end up in the World Series â the Yankees have not often been in the business of trading away their best assets for prospects â Cashman shook his head.
âIt wasnât foreign to me,â he said.
Nor was he surprised. It unfolded just as Cashman had laid it out for the Cubs, the Indians and other teams after he received the green light from the owner Hal Steinbrenner to dismantle a disappointing team.
âI told clubs Iâve got your World Series appearance in the palm of my hand,â Cashman said. âWhoever gets them: âYouâre going to the World Series. Youâre going to the be mayor of your city. Youâre going to get Champagne sprayed all over yourself. So youâre going to have to step up because somebodyâs going to do it, and youâre going to want it to be you.â
âThatâs how it worked out â not because I said it was going to work out â these guys are true difference-makers and they proved it.â
Cashman can only hope he is as prescient in how the trades will turn out for the Yankees. The point of making the deals â along with others for Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova â was to continue refurbishing the Yankeesâ farm system with a haul of prospects.
From the Cubs, they extracted shortstop Gleyber Torres, the Cubsâ top prospect who had Addison Russell and Javier Baez in front of him, and three others. From the Indians, they got a four-player package that included outfielder Clint Frazier, one of the top prospects in a system flush with them, and three promising pitchers.
An indication of how the trades were viewed was evident Monday night when the results of the Sporting News executive of the year voting were announced. Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations for the Cubs, won with 13 votes from the 56-member panel of baseball executives. The Indiansâ Chris Antonetti finished second with nine votes.
Cashman was third with eight votes â this after a season in which his team won 84 games, equaling the Yankeesâ worst record since 1992.
âI think Cash, of all the G.M.s in baseball â and I want to be respectful of the Cubs and the Indians â had as good a year as anybody,â Seattle Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. âThey took their moment to hop in and collect talent as quickly as they could collect it. And itâs not that far away with potential impact players.â
Hoyer added: âOne of the most important things in this game is giving an honest, realistic evaluation of what you are. I think Brian did a great job of that â I think he realized he didnât have a championship club this year. It just goes to show you a good deadline or two and a good draft or two can get you right back to where you need to be.â
Cashman said on Tuesday that the Yankeesâ position players are probably set for next season, with Aaron Judge getting a shot to play regularly in right field and Greg Bird, in his return from shoulder surgery, and Tyler Austin sharing first base.
Brian McCann, who lost the catching job to Gary Sanchez, could return as the designated hitter and backup catcher. But Cashman said he has informed McCannâs agent, B. B. Abbott, that he will listen to offers. McCann has a full no-trade clause in his contract, but he could be willing to waive it for a chance to remain a starting catcher. If McCann is traded, it could open a path to the acquisition of a position player.
Cashman said his priority this winter will be acquiring pitching â both starting and relieving. The free-agent market is thin on the former and flush with the latter. Three of the best closers in baseball â Kenley Jansen, Mark Melancon and Chapman â are free agents, and Cashman said he has already contacted the agents for Chapman and Jansen and plans to do so for Melancon.
He acknowledged that Jansen could be less attractive since signing him would require the Yankees to forfeit a draft pick â which would not be the case for Chapman or Melancon, since they were traded in their last season before free agency.
As for starting pitching, the targets are expected to be more modest.
âWeâre not in a position yet to back the truck up,â Cashman said. âThatâs a finish-off deal where youâre feel like youâre one player away maybe. And I feel like weâre still building.â
He continued: âIt doesnât mean we canât accomplish special things next year, but in the winter time I donât anticipate us making that type of move. I canât speak to him specifically, but generally, one of these high-end guys, itâs going to take four or five guys, a blockbuster deal; I donât see that happening.â
The blockbuster deals may be the ones the Yankees have already made. Cashman planned to watch Torres on Tuesday afternoon in the Arizona Fall League. He will begin next season at Class AA Trenton.
âIf he goes on and plays in a lot of All-Star Games weâll be happy for him,â Hoyer said of Torres. âBecause thereâs no way that flag is flying without Chapman.â