TAMPA – The worldwide known scandal about the theft of signs with the Astros warned every department for baseball operations in this tight-knit industry: Get your house in order.
It is the responsibility of each team to decide how much they can fix. And Brian Cashman, who was on Friday to nudge his last year's main rival, was jeopardizing his name with his promises of pinstripe purity.
It's all good as long as the Yankees follow the rules as well as their venerable general manager swears.
"I've been working in New York long enough to know, and I've tried, with our people – players, support staff, coaches – to create the culture around us that there are no secrets," Cashman told George M. Steinbrenner Field after the Yankees had completed another pitcher and catcher training. "If something's going on that isn't overboard, it will come out. It doesn't matter where you are working. Obviously that's why the Houston Astros are going through what they're going through.
"I will continue to drive this environment here by doing everything right. We will continue to try to attract the best possible players and position them in the best possible position to be successful. Create an environment in which we do everything in our Do standing people to follow the rules and get it right, then take our risk and live with the result afterwards. "
The vow was more confident than defiant, and as an example of how defiance can get you in trouble, think back to October 17th at Yankee Stadium, a few hours before the fourth game of the American League Championship Series, as Astros manager A.J. Hinch said this memorable challenge after allegations that the Astros illegally stole signs before this series: “We have people who are not named or you have sources that give you information. I suggest they give their names if they are passionate about commenting on my team or players. "
As the children say, it has not aged well. Or as Cashman said on Friday: "If it hadn't been for Mike Fiers, maybe nobody would have ever known [about the Astros’ cheating in 2017], "
Hinch is now suspended and jobless with his former boss Jeff Luhnow, and the same fate will most likely hit any other GM or manager whose players deal with such high-tech harassment.
Look, no sports team – or really any company – will pass the strictest purity test. Like every GM that worked in the 1990s and 2000s, Cashman employed players who used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. The Yankees won the World Series 2000 in large part thanks to the contributions of Roger Clemens, who had reportedly used steroids this season.
And while you can help give players who are disciplined because of domestic violence a second chance, this decision comes with a responsibility to tolerate and even welcome dissent. The Astros failed miserably when their assistant GM Brandon Taubman abused a reporter who had subtly expressed their rejection of Houston's takeover of Roberto Osuna in 2018 when he completed a domestic violence suspension. If the currently banned Domingo German makes it back into the team, he will join Aroldis Chapman as two domestic violence offenders on the Yankees. Cashman and the Yankees must ensure that not only Chapman and German work in peace, but also their critics.
But at this elevated moment, which focuses on the old school crime of stealing characters with the New Wave method, no one wants to team up with these Astros. The 2018 Red Sox being examined by Rob Manfred should soon find out if they are exposed to such a flaw.
No secrets and lies that could be exposed here, said Cashman, who then expressed a desire that his club go forward beyond his anger at the Astros. However, curious varieties will always look back. Will the Yankees pass the test? Your baseball boss says so, and Cashman, like everyone else, appreciates the big disadvantage of being wrong on this point.