Cashman: Yankees didn’t try to win AL East in 2010
You remember 2010, don’t you? That was the September that the Yankees seemed to be trotting out guys like Royce Ring, Dustin Moseley, Chad Gaudin and Jonathan Albaladejo with regularity, seeming to take their foot off the gas pedal while the Rays rolled to the American League East title.
The resulting tailspin left some players scratching their heads. As Andy Pettitte said, late in what would be his final big league season: “I know it’s been irritating for me. It’s just like, ‘What are we doing here?’ This game’s not easy, we’re trying to win. That’s all there is to it.”
Well, there was more to it, as Brian Cashman admitted on Sunday. The Yankees didn’t care if they finished first, hoping instead to get healthy for a strong run to repeat as World Series champions. Cashman explained why, saying how a second Wild Card will be good for the game.
“We conceded the division two years ago because of the previous setup,” Cashman said. “I’m not taking away from Tampa Bay’s Eastern Division title, but we didn’t try to win the division. We tried to line ourselves up for the playoffs and that worked. We wound up sweeping Minnesota and going to play the Texas Rangers two years ago because we got our guys healthy and ready to go.”
It has been proposed that baseball will add a second Wild Card to each league that would most likely include a one-game playoff to enter the Division Series, thus creating more incentive for teams to pursue their divisions.
“The division title, the way that Wild Card situation was sitting, was rendered meaningless the way the setup was,” Cashman said. “It rendered whether you were a Wild Card or a division champ, it really meant nothing more than a t-shirt and a hat. That was the reality of the circumstance.”
Cashman said that Major League Baseball took notice as teams were resting players and lining them up for the playoffs, noting that September games weren’t as meaningful as they could be — and perhaps, will soon be again.
“Bud Selig did a remarkable thing adding the wild card and I think he’s now doing another remarkable thing by enhancing the playoff push,” Cashman said. “It’s going to create a lot of buzz and excitement and meaningful games deeper into the season, as it should be. It certainly brings back the importance of being a division winner again.”