Ranking baseball’s general managers for 2018: Part 3

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 13: General Manager David Forst of the Oakland Athletics sits in the clubhouse prior to the game against the Seattle Mariners at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum on August 13, 2018 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Mariners 7-6. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 13: General Manager David Forst of the Oakland Athletics sits in the clubhouse prior to the game against the Seattle Mariners at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum on August 13, 2018 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Mariners 7-6. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /
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4. Brian Cashman, New York Yankees, +4.6 games

The Yankees are famous – okay, notorious – for their excessive use of payroll. So there is at least a small amount of irony to the fact that Cashman’s solid season was built on the most hands-on of all GM skills, straight-up dealing.

He brought 11 players to the Yankees via trades or purchases with other teams, and several  played central roles in the club’s push to the post-season. Two minor leaguers plus Starlin Castro landed Giancarlo Stanton from Miami, and Stanton produced +1.7 WAA. When Cashman needed another starter for the pennant push in July, he sent prospects Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney to Toronto for J.A. Happ, who returned +1.5 to the Yankees. Deals with Baltimore for Zach Britton, with St. Louis for Luke Voit and with San Francisco for Andrew McCutchen all also produced positive value.

The short-term impact of Cashman’s trade acquisitions came to +3.5 games, a nifty advance although not nifty enough to make a run at the Red Sox.

The Yankees were comparatively tame players at free agency, their biggest move being the re-signing of C.C. Sabathia for one season at $10 million.

Heralded rookies Gleyber Torres (+1.3WAA) and Miguel Andujar (+0.1 WAA) returned enough positive value to offset the introductory performances of an otherwise so-so cast of farm products, the net amounting to +0.2. If that sounds insufficient, keep in mind that rookies generally do more hurt than harm. The Yankees were one of only 11 teams in 2018 to get a positive impact from their first-year players.